Our campervan road trip continued from Russell Falls on to Hobart where my primary objective was to sample beers at the Cascade Brewery and climb Mount Wellington. I had heard many great things about MONA, Tasmania’s museum of old and new art, but I did not realize that it was located on the highway North of town so we did not properly plan our day to visit and had to drive on. MONA will definitely be the #1 thing on my list if I ever return to Hobart.
By the time time we arrived in Hobart it was already early afternoon so Sara and I were both hungry. For me, as a die-hard beer lover, it was the perfect excuse to make the Cascade Brewery our first stop. Founded in 1831, the Cascade Brewery is Australia’s oldest continually operating brewery. The best part about the Cascade Brewery to me is its building and adjacent gardens.
I have been on several brewery tours before so doing another tour was of little interest to me given the cost. Instead, I wanted to sample all of Cascade Brewery’s beer offerings and eat a proper indoor meal (our campervan meals were delicious, but not having to worry about wild animals stealing our food was a nice change). Seated in the Cascade Brewery restaurant, separate from the Cascade Brewery production buildings, I ordered a wallaby stew and beer paddle. It was my first time trying wallaby and I definitely enjoyed it.
The beers weren’t bad, but also weren’t particularly special. Unfortunately, Australians tend to enjoy commercialized lagers and light ales and therefore there is a noticeable lack of more flavourful Belgian, German, and English varieties. There were subtle differences among Cascade’s beer offerings and the standout for me from the lighter varieties was the Cascade Bright Ale. I also enjoyed the Cascade Stout, but moreso because I was generally unable to find Stouts in Australia than because it was a premium beer. Rather than the taste of the beer itself, my favourite thing about Cascade’s beer is that the label features the Tasmanian Tiger, an animal native to Tasmania which sadly became extinct in the 20th century.
I imagine I would have enjoyed Cascade’s light beers far more if it had been a hot and sunny day and I was enjoying a beer in the restaurant’s beautiful garden, but sadly the weather was not cooperative for us. Sara and I quickly walked through the garden while peering up at the sky hoping to see Mount Wellington, our next stop, through the clouds.
Our original plan has been to hike up Mt. Wellington but the clouds were so thick we expected it to rain and were not even sure if we would be able to see anything from the top. Luckily, we discovered there is actually a road all the way up to the top so we hopped back in our Campervan and drove up. We were treated with stunning views over Hobart from several viewpoints along the way but the best views were from the top. I am very happy we did not hike Mount Wellington as when we reached the summit and got out of our campervan, we were blasted in the face with a cold wind and snow! Thankfully, there was a glass enclosed viewing area but the best views were from the short boardwalk trail.
Since it was already mid-afternoon, our next stop was Hobart itself. From what we read, the most interesting part of town was the harbour around Salamanca market so that is where we went. It was a bit of a hassle to find parking, a rude awakening back to urban reality after several nights camping in the bush, but eventually we found a spot, paid the fee, and set out on a walking adventure.
The Salamanca Market was mostly shops targeting tourists so after quickly checking it out we walked up Kelly’s Steps to Battery Point, one of Hobart’s oldest and most historic areas. Battery Point is a beautiful community and I loved the style of the homes in the area. Before walking to the harbour, we also purchased dinner supplies and some craft beers from one of the natural food stores we had seen in Salamanca Market before.
We were unable to find any free campsites around Hobart so Sara called a campground called Barilla Holiday Park to find out how late their reception was open. The sun was already beginning to set and Barilla is located outside of town so we decided to walk back to our campervan and drive to the campground. One of Hobart’s landmarks is its bridge and I enjoyed finally getting to drive over it. After crossing the bridge and driving towards the community of Rosny Park, I saw a sign for a Lookout which I hoped would provide great views out to the bridge for sunset. The Lookout did offer fantastic views out over the bridge and harbour area but due to the cloud cover, the sunset was a disappointment.
We drove to Barilla campground, paid the fee at reception, set-up our campervan, and eagerly went for our first shower in several days. It was very cold that evening so Sara and I were happy that we could use the campground’s kitchen to prepare dinner. With dinner, we sampled the three different Tasmanian craft Moo Brew’s we had purchased from the food store in Salamanca Market and I decided that their Belgo was my favourite.
Despite our short amount of time in Hobart we managed to accomplish and see quite a bit. Hobart greatly reminded me of Dunedin in New Zealand: a 19th century port town with poor weather and not a lot to do. If I ever return to Hobart I will definitely visit MONA but honestly, there is nothing in particular about Hobart that will draw me back for another visit.