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Cradle Mountain, Hobart, Tasmania

The pint-sized Australian city of Hobart is quite unlike the huge cities of the mainland. Life and tourism in Hobart is about kicking back, taking a lungful of the fresh sea air, and enjoying the simple pleasures of a water-side city - such as sampling the local brew, shopping in the markets, lazing in gardens, tucking into fine food, and letting the cares of the world drift away on that cool breeze.

The capital of Australia's island state of Tasmania, and home to 50% of the island's population of just half a million, Hobart is a chilled out holiday destination and a gateway to the natural pursuits that make Tasmania such a popular place to visit. From hiking and biking to cruising and fishing - or perhaps going in search of the iconic Tasmanian Devil - the big outdoors is a big pull for tourists in “Tassie”.

Hotels in Hobart are mostly huddled around the city's attractions close to the waterfront. The historic maritime suburb of Battery Point is both central and beautiful, and this is a great spot in which to book a room. Other areas to look for Hobart hotels include Glebe, immediately to the north of Battery Point, and Sandy Bay, which is just to the south and offers splendid views across the bay towards the city centre.

Stay in hotels anywhere along the waterfront to really get a feel for life as it should be lived in Hobart; on the doorstep you'll find great restaurants, bars and pubs in which to sample the local flavours of this tasty city. You'll find budget hotels as well as luxury hotels next to the Derwent River, though you might pay a small premium for a view of the water. Hotels from well-known international brand names are in short supply, but you will find properties from Best Western and Mercure in town.

It's easy to feel at one with the world wherever you stay in Hobart with the stunning backdrop of Mount Wellington looming large in most city views. It's a fairly compact city too, so getting about is easy, but car hire is available.

Top five attractions

Salamanca Place

Rows of attractive sandstone houses - former warehouses - make for an unlikely romantic setting in this historic part of town. Salamanca Place is the creative and bustling heart of Hobart with a cobbled market square surrounded by intimate bars and restaurants.

Battery Point

Step back in time to one of Hobart's oldest districts. Ramble through the backstreets and see some of Tasmania's first houses.

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Established in 1843, this fascinating treasure chest of history is waiting to be opened. It was founded by the Royal Society of Tasmania - the oldest Royal Society outside of England.

Cascade Brewery

Australians are deeply proud of their beer, and the Cascade Brewery, as the country's oldest, is held in high regard. Take a tour that lets you take in the history, watch the brewing process and, of course, sample a few drops.

Mount Wellington

Take a scenic drive through the easy-to-reach wilderness of Mount Wellington and enjoy panoramic views of Hobart.

Events

Hobart Summer Festival; December-January: Two solid weeks of food, wine, street theatre, jazz, fashion and music are fine ingredients that make for one of Tasmania's biggest annual events.

Taste of Tasmania food festival; December-January: A spin-off of the Summer Festival, but now turning into a sumptuous event in its own right.

Royal Hobart Show; October: This annual event, staged at the Royal Showgrounds in Glenorchy, showcases the rural achievements of Tasmania. There's plenty for all the family, from the delightfully traditional to the off-the-wall modern.