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Hobart, Tasmania – Part 1 - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Travelling

Hobart is the second oldest city in Australia after Sydney. It was set up over British concerns about the presence of French explorers. The first settlement was started in 1803 as a penal colony at Risdon Cove on the eastern shores of the Derwent River. However, in 1804 it was moved to a better location which is the present site of Hobart at Sullivan' s Cove. The area' s original inhabitants were members of the semi-nomadic Mouheneer tribe. A series of hostile encounters with the Europeans and the effects of diseases brought by the settlers forced away the aboriginal population, which was then rapidly replaced by settlers and the convict population. Hobart Town was visited by Charles Darwin in February of 1836 as part of the Beagle expedition and later written up by him.

As the Derwent River was one of Australia' s best deepwater ports it became the centre of the Southern Ocean whaling and seal trade. It rapidly grew into a major port, with all the associated industries such as shipbuilding. Hobart Town became a city in 1842 and was renamed Hobart in 1875.

It used to be a joke that Hobart was 30 years behind the country’s other state capitals. In many ways it still is. The nation’s second oldest city remains small in scale and relaxed in atmosphere; its focus is still the broad Derwent estuary that appealed to the British in1803; its architecture is still Georgian and Federation, from days as a busy whaling and agricultural port, rather than glass high-rises. It’s only in the past five years or so that ‘mainlanders’, as Tasmanians call all other Australians, have started to wonder if these weren’t positives all along. Boosted by the status of having Australia’s Best Cultural Attraction the radical gallery MONA, which stands for the Museum of Old and New Art by beating some old opera house in Sydney in the 2013’s Traveller Awards. Hobart itself has quietly matured into a self-assured and arty little city. More recently it has started to see weekenders from Melbourne and Sydney arriving in droves. Their presence is helping to prop up a restaurant and café scene that grows more sophisticated by the year.

Its gentrification and yet the locals pride themselves on the fact that Hobart remains a straight talking and pretension-free place. Just as a fishing fleet docks opposite one of Hobart’s best hotels, scallop pies are as popular as sourdough for lunch, and weekends still officially start in the pub, not the wine bar. Come for fine dining, of course, but you do not need to dress up because you can be sure the locals won’t. All flights arrive over the rural heart of Tasmania. You’ll see eucalypt forest and rolling sheep pasture, perhaps a distant mountain and empty surf beaches. The airport is located 17km east of the city, near Cambridge. Hobart Airport is as good an introduction to Tasmania as any, with nothing flash but everything you need A small Arrivals hall with a single luggage carousel, a tourist information desk and two ATMs that accept UK debit/credit cards.

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