When it comes to making the most of your stay in Tasmania it always pays to ask the locals. And there is no better local to ask than your hotel concierge. A hotel concierge is often overlooked service. They are the experts on where to go, what to see and how to get there.
Senior Concierge Colin Thomsen has been with the Hotel Grand Chancellor for over 10 years. Colin is a hospitality professional who has worked as a concierge in several hotels across world. He knows the ins and outs of Hobart and beyond and is happy to share his tips on how to make the most of your stay in Hobart.
We recently sat down with Colin and asked him to share his his top ten things to do when visiting Tasmania’s capital.
1. My number one tip and the one that I am thanked for all the time is to get on board one of the Pennicott Wilderness Journeys. Each of their packages is unique and no two journeys are the same. See seals, dolphins, whales, birdlife and stunning scenery – all leaving from on the doorstep of the hotel.
2. If you are here for the weekend, the Salamanca Markets is a must. The famous markets take place every Saturday morning and it’s a great place to wander and soak up the sights, sounds and smells of Salamanca. Stopping in at one of the many cafes along the strip and just people watching is a great way to bring in the weekend.
3. Take the ferry to MONA. There is something about seeing a city on the water that gives it a whole different dimension. Oh and there is a pretty amazing museum at the end of the journey too…
4. Go to Port Arthur Historic Site, it’s a great day trip and a beautiful part of the state. It’s also a fascinating insight into Australia’s early history. My tip: plan to go on the day you are leaving the state as you have to drive past the airport to get there. It’s then easy to drop off your hire car and head straight to the departure gate.
5. If you have an afternoon to kill heading out to the village of Richmond is great. Along the way you’ll pass through the Coal River Valley where there are a number of great wineries and a cheese factory.
6. Step away from the waterfront. Whilst Hobart really happens on the waterfront, the city is also undergoing a bit of a transformation with new restaurants and bars opening up down alleyways and in old buildings. A favourite of mine is Ash and Besters: a cocktail lounge in the basement of an old building in central Hobart. On Thursday nights they serve $12.50 Martinis using Tasmanian Forty Spotted Gin.
7. Often overlooked by tourists is the Penitentiary Chapel. It’s only a short walk from the hotel and gives you an insight into convict history without having to venture all the way to Port Arthur.
8. Take a day trip to the Huon Valley. The Huon Valley is a food bowl where you can visit wineries, a cider house and a cheese factory but if keep a sharp eye out you can stop at roadside stalls selling everything from fresh fruit to organic meats. There are also some great bush walks, waterfalls, caves and forests to explore.
9. Head to the top of Mt Wellington. The view of Hobart and the surrounding areas is magnificent. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can spend the day hiking one of the mountain trails or even mountain bike downhill towards Hobart. All that is thirsty work though and you’ll need to stop off at Cascade Brewery for a beer.
10. Eat fresh seafood on the docks. Tasmania is well known for its seafood and there is no better place to get it than on Constitution Dock. The fish don’t travel far from the boats to the pan and if the old favourite fish and chips is not your thing then the freshly shucked oysters, crayfish, mussels and scallops are a pretty handy alternative!