The waterfront at sunrise, one of the best things to do in Hobart without a car

Best Things to do in Hobart Without a Car

Are you visiting Hobart but prefer not to drive? Well, there are many wonderful things to do in Hobart without a car. Hobart is a small city and easily walkable with lots of things to see and do within a few kilometres of the Waterfront, in the oldest and most attractive part of town. And when you’re tired of walking you can jump on a bus or take a tour to see attractions that are further away from the city centre.

When you visit Hobart without a car, you don’t have to navigate the city or worry about where to park. It’s also cheaper and more convenient to fly to Hobart than to bring your own car across from the mainland on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry. Hiring a car gives you flexibility but it is quite expensive, especially for solo travellers.

I’ve been to Hobart several times with and without a car. For visiting the city centre, I found it was easier to leave the car behind and discover the city on foot. A holiday in Hobart without a car is a good option. This article explains how to explore Hobart on foot and outlines the best things to do in Hobart without a car.  

boats at the waterfront in Hobart Tasmania
Exploring the Waterfront in Hobart on Foot at Sunrise

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From the Airport to Hobart without a car

From Hobart International Airport it’s a quick easy trip to the city centre. It takes around 20 minutes by taxi or Uber if you want to go directly to your hotel.

A cheaper option is to catch the Skybus if you’re arriving in Hobart without a car. It’s an efficient transfer service that costs a lot less than a taxi for one or two people. The Skybus is an affordable and reliable way to get to the city from the airport and stops at the most popular landmarks making it easy to get to your destination.

On my last trip to Hobart, I downloaded the Skybus app and had easy access to all the information I needed such as timetables and bus stops. You can buy a Skybus ticket via the Skybus app, online, or on board the bus.

Getting around Hobart without a Car

Once you’ve arrived, you’ll find it easy to get around Hobart on foot. Go for a walk, head towards the waterfront and the old town, and take in the sights.

One of the most entertaining things to do in Hobart without a car is to book a guided walking tour. Not only will you see the best attractions, but you’ll also hear historical anecdotes and stories of sailors and convicts of the early settlement in Hobart’s colonial days.

For those times when you don’t want to walk, Hobart has a good public transport system with buses, ferries, taxis and Uber cars that can all be used for getting around Hpbart without a car.

But one of the best ways to see Hobart without a car is to book a seat on the Hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus. The red double-decker bus takes 90 minutes to drive around the city and you can get on and off as you please for the duration of your ticket.

And, if you want to explore outside the city, there is a wide choice of guided tours that will take you from Hobart to see the sights of Southern Tasmania.  There’s no shortage of things to do in Hobart without a car.

a rainbow at sunrise at the Hobart waterfront
A rainbow at sunrise at the Hobart waterfront

Best Things to do in Hobart without a car

Explore the Hobart Waterfront

To explore Hobart without a car, the best place to start is at the Waterfront. It’s a lovely part of town. Wander around the docks, stop for fish and chips, feed the seagulls and watch the world go by.

In colonial days, the waterfront was at the centre of the city and today, Victoria Dock is a working fishing harbour and Constitution Dock is full of fishing boats. Also moored at the waterfront is a historic tall ship, a replica of the convict ships that brought the first settlers to Australia.

Stop for a meal and enjoy the picturesque scenery. Mures Restaurant serves delicious seafood in a beautiful location on the Hobart Waterfront and there is a good selection of restaurants on Elizabeth Pier and many pubs and bars in the area.

Visit Salamanca Place

Next to the waterfront area, Salamanca Place and the Salamanca Art Centre are at the top of the list of things to do in Hobart without a car. At the centre of the Old Town, Salamanca Place is now an upmarket area with theatres, cafes, art galleries, jewellery and clothing boutiques.

Shop at the Salamanca Market

On Saturday mornings, the Salamanca Market takes over Salamanca Place with hundreds of stalls selling arts, crafts, clothing and local produce. There’s live music and a choice of street food as well. It’s one of my favourite places to be on a Saturday morning and an ideal place to shop for gifts and souvenirs.

The Salamanca Market is open on Saturdays from 08:30 am – 3:00 pm

Stroll around Battery Point

Charming Battery Point, Hobart’s oldest suburb, is a short walk from Salamanca Place and at the top of the Hobart to do list. Climb the convict-built Kelly’s Stairs and stroll up the hill through the laneways past quaint restored colonial cottages and Georgian houses. In the centre of the village green, you’ll find Arthurs Circus a circle of quirky, restored cottages set around a small community park.  

Walk along Hampden Road, call in at a teahouse, stock up on gifts at one of the art and antique shops or buy some freshly baked bread, pastries or sandwiches at the restored artisan bakery. Further up the hill St George’s Anglican Church is an important landmark on Battery Point and can be seen from the Derwent River.

The Salamanca Market, one of the most fun things to do in Hobart with a 10 days in Tasmania itinerary
Exploring Hobart on foot at the Salamanca Market

See the Convict Penitentiary

Discover historic Hobart at the Convict Penitentiary. In the early days of the colony, from the 1830s to 1857, more than 50,000 male convicts were imprisoned there. When the transportation of convicts stopped, the Penitentiary became a gaol and a supreme court. See how the convicts lived, visit the solitary confinement cells, the chapel, the underground tunnels, and the gallows.

Visiting the Hobart Convict Penitentiary should be on the Hobart to do list. It’s educational but it’s also a grim reminder of the hardships faced by the early settlers in Australia and one of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic sites in Tasmania.

When you explore Hobart without a car you can easily get to the Penitentiary on foot. It’s 2.5 kilometres or a half-hour walk from the Waterfront. Alternatively, catch a bus or take the red Hobart sightseeing hop-on-hop-off bus to the Old Hobart Gaol.

Visit the Female Factory

Learn about the women in the early settlement at the Female Factory in the old Cascades building at the base of Mount Wellington. One of Hobart’s important UNESCO World Heritage historic sites, the Female Factory was a workhouse for female convicts who were isolated from the main settlement of Hobart.

Punishing hours of labour cooking cleaning, sewing, mending, spinning, and weaving were expected from the female convicts and even a small disobedience was punished.

Discovering the stories of these women is just one of many things to do in Hobart without a car. To get there, catch a bus, take the Hobart sightseeing hop-on-hop-off bus or take a city tour and take a tour of the Cascades Brewery as well.

Tour the Cascades Brewery  

The Cascades Brewery is Australia’s Oldest brewery and dates back to 1832. The early settlers in Hobart consumed huge quantities of beer and the Cascades Brewery supplied around 55 pubs frequented by convicts, sailors and free settlers.

Today the Cascades Brewery operates tours with lunch and beer tastings in the historic brewhouse where you can see how some of Tasmania’s best-loved beers are made.

If you’re visiting Hobart without a car, the hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus stops at the Cascades Brewery.

TIP:  This Hobart city sightseeing tour includes your MONA ticket, the Female Factory, and the Cascade Brewery Gardens. You’ll also visit the Botanical Gardens and other Hobart highlights along the way.

Visiting MONA is one of many fun things to do in Hobart Tasmania
MONA in Hobart

Enjoy MONA Museum of Old & New Art

One of Hobart’s most famous art galleries, the MONA Museum of Old and New Art is one of Hobart’s most popular attractions and should be high on the Hobart to do list. The gallery shows the private art collection of millionaire and gambler David Walsh. The MONA gallery is known for its interesting, controversial, and sometimes confronting exhibits, with some explicitly sexual artworks.

The picturesque location of the MONA Gallery on the banks of the Derwent River, just outside the CBD adds to its appeal and visiting is a pleasure. The best way to get there from Hobart without a car is on the Mona Roma Ferry. The ferry leaves from Brooke Street Pier and cruises around the harbour to the gallery on the banks of the Derwent River. There are buses from Hobart for those who are less mobile.

The Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens

Not far from MONA, the Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens are FREE and open daily. The Hobart Botanic Gardens were planted in the early days of the colony and the grounds are well-established with ancient trees and heritage buildings.

I loved wandering the pathways and enjoyed the Japanese garden, the Greenhouse and the sub-Antarctic plant house. At the top of the garden, the Old Arthur Wall provides shelter and warmth for the fruit trees planted beside it. The wall is heated from the inside.

The Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens are about 2.5 kilometres from Constitution Dock on the Hobart Waterfront. To get there from Hobart without a car, catch a bus, take the hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus or enjoy a half-hour walk.

a red bridge over a pond in the Japanese Garden at the Hobart Botanical Gardens
A Japanese Bridge at the Royal Tasmanian Botanic Garden in Hobart

Visit TMAG, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Located behind the Hobart Waterfront in Dunn Place, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) is an easy place to find when you see Hobart on foot. TMAG has free exhibits that people of all ages will enjoy.

On show at TMAG are artworks, design and photography and educational presentations about Tasmania’s Indigenous people, Tasmania’s rich maritime history, zoology, geology, natural history and more.

TMAG is open from 10 am – 4:00 pm and closed Mondays and public holidays.

Visit the Farm Gate Market

Hobart’s Farm Gate Market celebrates fresh produce and turns Bathurst Street in Hobart into a vibrant farmers market. It’s the place to go for fresh local fruit and veggies, artisan foods, street food and a bustling atmosphere.

The Farm Gate Market is open on Sundays from 08:30 – 1:00 pm

Enjoy Street Eats @ Franko

If you like street food, eclectic music and a vibrant atmosphere head to Street Eats @ Franko. Held in the city on Friday nights during the Summer, this event will keep you “fed, watered and grooving”.

Street Eats @ Franko is held on Friday evenings (4:00 – 9:00 p.m.) in Franklin Square, Hobart from December to April.

Hobart CBD shopping

Hobart CBD is where you’ll find the main shopping areas in Hobart, Elizabeth Street Mall, the Cat & Fiddle Arcade and Centrepoint.

Visit North Hobart

Head to North Hobart for a good selection of restaurants cafes, bars, and a cinema.

View of Hobart from Mount Wellington
View of Hobart from Mount Wellington

Beyond Hobart without a Car

For venturing further afield there are lots of options for day trips from Hobart to see the most popular attractions outside the city.

Kunyani – Mount Wellington

Mount Wellington or Kunyani is the highest point in Hobart and overlooks the city. From the summit,1270 meters above sea level, there are superb views and a network of trails for hiking on the mountain.

The Mount Wellington Explorer Bus will take you there with opportunities to hop on and off at 5 stops in Wellington Park along the way.

Enjoy the local Food & Wine

Experience the best of Tasmania’s award-winning craft beverages on a day tour from Hobart. Sample the finest of Tasmania’s whisky, wine, beer and cider all in one fabulous day. If you enjoy a tipple, put this tour at the top of your Hobart to do list.

Visit the Port Arthur Historic Site

The Port Arthur Historic Site on the dramatic and beautiful Tasman Peninsula is one of the most important historical sites in Australia. The UNESCO World Heritage ruins at Port Arthur have a grim history that fascinates visitors with stories of the convicts who lived in the settlement.

TIP: Port Arthur is a 90-minute drive from Hobart and a day tour from Hobart is the easiest way to get there without a car.

Hike the Three Capes Track

Hiking the Three Capes Track is an epic 4-day adventure from Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula, 90 minutes from Hobart. Explore the wild and dramatic coast of the Tasman National Park and walk to windswept Cape Pillar and Cape Huay.

TIP: Penicott’s Wilderness Journeys operates a Port Arthur bus service from Hobart to the Port Arthur Historic Site where the Three Capes track begins.

The perfect 10 days in Tasmania itinerary for a solo road trip hiking to Cape Pillar on the Tasman Peninsula
Hiking to Cape Pillar on the Tasman Peninsula

See Tasmanian Devils

Meeting endangered Tasmanian Devils and other unique Australian wildlife is a highlight of visiting Tasmania and should be high on the Hobart to do list. You can visit the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary on a day trip from Hobart and explore beautiful Mt. Field National Park, summit Mt Wellington and stroll the quaint streets of historic Richmond all in one day.

Visit Bruny Island

Explore scenic Bruny Island on a Food, lighthouse and Sightseeing tour from Hobart. Take in the spectacular scenery at the Cape Bruny Lighthouse and the Neck Lookout, try fresh oysters, cheese, fudge and chocolate and see wallabies and other wildlife.  

Bruny Island Wilderness

Join a Bruny Island Eco cruise to explore the wilderness of the islands near Hobart. See Australian fur seals, stunning sea caves, an explosive blow hole, pristine rainforests and untouched beaches.

Explore Maria Island  

Take a day trip to Maria Island (pronounced Mar-eye-ah). Spend the day exploring the remote, rugged, and remarkable island via a network of walking trails. There are no cars, no roads and wombats roam free.

Visit Wineglass Bay

Spend the day visiting pristine Wineglass Bay, one of Australia’s most beautiful beaches and a must-see stop on Tasmanian’s stunning east coast. Visit historic Richmond on the way and discover white sandy beaches, serene bays, rugged coastline and much more on a full-day tour from Hobart to Wineglass Bay and Freycinet National Park.

Take a Scenic Flight

A highlight of visiting Tasmania, a scenic flight over stunning Wineglass Bay and Maria Island will add excitement to your holiday. Experience the spectacular scenery of Tasmania’s East Coast, see the impressive Freycinet National Park from above and land on Maria Island. Explore the island looking out for wildlife.

Endangered Tasmanian Devil
Tasmanian Devil

Where to stay in Hobart without a car

If you’re visiting Hobart without a car, basing yourself in the city centre within walking distance of the main attractions is a good idea. Here are my suggestions for well-located accommodation that makes it easy to see the best of historical Hobart on foot.

Budget: The Montacute Bunkhouse offers dorm beds and private rooms and gets great reviews for its stylish budget accommodation.

Mid Range: The Shipwrights Arms on Battery Point is a historic pub that’s a 10-minute walk from Salamanca Place and Hobart’s Waterfront. It has a welcoming atmosphere and a restaurant onsite. I loved staying here and can recommend the Sunday roast special (all weekend).

The Edinburgh Gallery B&B has a friendly owner and plenty of character. If you’re staying in Hobart without a car this B&B has a good location on Macquarie Street. The walk down the hill to the waterfront takes about 10-15 minutes. I stayed in a lovely light, bright room with a private bathroom on the main level of the old house. But beware, the cheaper rooms are in the basement, 3 flights of stairs away from the shared bathroom.

Upper Mid-Range: The Moss Hotel in Salamanca Place, has an ideal location for visiting Hobart without a car. Historic buildings, restaurants and cafes surround the hotel. Guests love the brilliant location and the service.

Luxury: The Henry Jones Art Hotel is a funky five-star hotel on the Hobart Waterfront in a perfect location for exploring Hobart on foot. A renovation of the Old Jam Factory warehouse, the Henry Jones has the MONA ferry, Salamanca Place and Battery Point on its doorstep. The rooms are spacious, full of contemporary art and the reviews are exceptional.

the ruins of Port Arthur in Australia across the water
Historic Port Arthur in Tasmania

Hobart on Foot: Where to Eat

Hobart has a great selection of restaurants, cafes and historic pubs. Here are a few suggestions for a hearty meal that is easy to access on foot and won’t break the bank.

Mures Seafood Restaurant, Victoria Dock

Shipwrights Arms Hotel, Battery Point

The Shamrock Hotel, Hobart


Is Hobart a walkable city?

Yes, Hobart is a walkable city with many of the main attractions in the Old Town, near the Waterfront, Salamanca Place and Battery Point.

Can you explore Tasmania without a car?

Yes, it’s relatively easy to explore Tasmania without a car. Tasmania has a network of buses that will take you to the main destinations around the island. For exploring without a car, base yourself in either Hobart or Launceston. Tasmania’s two largest cities are located on the south and north sides of the island. Use public transport to get around or choose from many day trips to see the main sights nearby.

Do you need to drive in Hobart?

No, you don’t need to drive in Hobart. You can see many of the main sights in Hobart on foot. And if you don’t want to walk, you can catch a bus, take a taxi,  Uber or the red Hobart hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus.

Beaches on either side of the neck at Bruny Island
The Neck on Bruny Island at the Truganini Lookout Point

Final Thoughts: The Best things to do in Hobart Without a Car

There are so many great things to do in Hobart without a car, that you can easily enjoy several days in Hobart or stay for a week and still find fun things to do.

Hobart’s charming Waterfront, historic Salamanca Place and Battery Point are delightful places to stay in the heart of the city and from there, it’s easy to explore Hobart on foot. When you don’t want to walk you can take a bus, a ferry, or a tour to see the main attractions in the city and across the island.

It’s also an option to catch a bus to Launceston for a few days to visit attractions such as the stunning Cataract Gorge, the Tamar Valley and Cradle Mountain on the northern side of the island.

If you want to hire a car to see the rest of the island, a 10-day Tasmania road trip itinerary is a great introduction or, if you have a bit more time, spend 2 weeks in Tasmania or more travelling around the island. With beautiful scenery, stunning wilderness areas and National Parks, unique wildlife and UNESCO World Heritage historic sites Tasmania has much to offer visitors with or without a car.  

Why Port Arthur in Tasmania is So Fascinating

Fun Things to Do in Hobart Tasmania in 3 Days

Beautiful Tasmania Road Trip – 2-Week Itinerary

15 Things You’ll LOVE to Do in & Around Launceston

12 Great Day Trips In & Around Hobart, Australia

The 3 Capes Walk in Tasmania – the Best Time to Go

Is Launceston or Hobart Better for a Holiday?

Why you’ll Love Visiting Wineglass Bay & Freycinet in Tasmania

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