Tassie has long fought off a reputation of backwardness from ‘mainlanders’. Hobart and Launceston didn’t have the dining kudos of Melbourne, the glitziness of Sydney or, well, the heat that attracts tourists to our other cities. What they did have were rolling hills and spectacular scenery. But the times, they are a-changin’ down on the Apple Isle. With the arrival of the revolutionary Museum of Old snd New Art (MONA), great restaurants and cool bars have followed, drawing mainlanders and those from further afar to this misunderstood part of Australia like never before.

Outside of the main cities is still a pretty isolated affair and Broadsheet would recommend keeping an eye on the petrol levels on any long road trips at night. But the untamed west of the island is worth exploring for its meditative stillness, and Cradle Mountain is a beacon to hikers.

A short flight from Sydney or Melbourne, or an overnight ferry ride if you plan on taking a car, Tassie may well take the ticket as the best island holiday this side of Bali.

CAFES

Jackman & McRoss – Hobart
On an unassuming corner in Battery Point, a quaint, tidy neighbourhood near Hobart’s harbour, is an inventive little bakery called Jackman & McRoss. Every pie and pastry seems to have a unique twist. Scrambled eggs are literally cocooned in smoked salmon and pizza is topped with quail (on the bone). There are also take-home favourites such as jam and chutney stocked on the shelves.
57–59 Hampden Road, Battery Point, Hobart
(03) 6223 3186
Hours: Mon to Fri 7.30am–6pm, Sat & Sun 7.30am–5pm

Tricycle Café Bar – Hobart
Either the owners here are obsessed with three-wheelers or it’s a cafe that’s still learning its trade, but it doesn’t seem like the latter is true. Tricycles are plentiful here, either hanging from the ceiling or in the form of a collage of old photos. Down by the harbour, it’s a peaceful place for a coffee.
77 Salamanca Place, Hobart
(03) 6223 7228
Hours: Mon to Sat 8.30am–4pm

RESTAURANTS

Garagistes – Hobart
Filling your belly at one of the fine restaurants around the city is a great way to keep warm once the southern night chill sets in. The star of the scene is Garagistes, with its seasonal menu, which respects the land and sea by using locally grown and foraged ingredients served up in an industrial warehouse interior. Expect communal tables, Scandinavian bar stools, industrial lightshades, exposed beams and rustic ceramic dinnerware that is almost as good as the food. The no booking policy plus the ‘hottest restaurant in town’ reputation can translate to some lengthy queues, so try dining on a Sunday when you can book for the four-course lunch at $75 per person. Check the website for the ever-changing menu.
103 Murray Street, Hobart
(03) 6231 0558
Hours: Wed to Sat from 5pm, Sun lunch
garagistes.com.au

The Stackings, Peppermint Bay – Woolbridge
An hour outside of Hobart via a cool little drive along the coast is this stylishly kitted-out restaurant and bar with a deck overlooking the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. The food, like many dishes in Tassie, is sourced from the local seasonal produce.
3435 Channel Highway, Woolbridge
(03) 6267 4088
peppermintbay.com.au

Black Cow – Launceston
The Rockpool of Tasmania, Black Cow is owned by a band of friends who also run the excellent by-the-water restaurant Stillwater. It’s steaks ahoy, with tender rumps to challenge Neil Perry’s kitchens.
70 George Street, Launceston
(03) 6331 9333
Hours: Daily 5.30pm–9pm
blackcowbistro.com.au

(Also see)

Stillwater, 2 Bridge Road, Launceston
(03) 6331 4153
Hours: Daily 8.30am–3.30pm, Dinner Mon to Sat 6pm–9pm
stillwater.com.au

Pierre’s – Launceston
A French restaurant with a Kubrick-style entrance tunnel is an old stalwart in Launceston. It was the second place in Australia to get an espresso machine, but the menu is a modern creation, with an excellent deconstructed beef tartare.
88 George Street, Launceston
(03) 6331 6835
Hours: Tues to Sat breakfast, lunch and dinner
pierres.net.au

DO

MONA – Museum of Old and New Art
The labour of love of professional gambler David Walsh, MONA has pretty much reinvented Hobart as an arts hub on an international scale. While this may come across as hyperbole, locals admit the museum has been a major tourism draw to the city. Based in an economically deprived suburb north of the city centre, MONA boasts priceless presentation and design, as well as the excellent The Source, an extremely inventive restaurant boasting a degustation menu as good as anything in Sydney or Melbourne. It’s also holds an annual music and arts festival (MONA FOMA) in January (Jan 16–20, 2013) which is the whole reason we’re here this weekend.
655 Main Road, Berriedale
(03) 6277 9900
Hours: Daily 10am–6pm
mona.net.au

Cradle Mountain hike
Away from the more popular eastern route between the two cities is the hiker’s holy grail. An adventurous day trip or a more adventurous but chilly overnight camp on the peak, Cradle Mountain obviously offers amazing views but also an almost silent respite from modern urban life.

Canyoning
Essentially letting yourself be washed down a raging rapid like a leaf in a lifejacket. Climb through rocky gorges before leaping into the water. It’s freezing, but incredibly fun.
Cradle Mountain Canyons, Cradle Mountain Road
cradlemountaincanyons.com.au
1300 032 384

STAY

The Pavillions, MONA – Hobart
A cluster of metallic luxury huts on the MONA complex overlooking the Derwent River. Each house-style accommodation is sleek and chic, with quirky touches like semi-offensive “Do Not Disturb” signs and the anti-religion book The God Delusion instead of the traditional Gideon’s Bible in rooms.
655 Main Road, Berriedale
(03) 6277 9900
Hours: Daily 10am–6pm
mona.net.au

Henry Jones Art Hotel – Hobart
Sitting on the dock of the bay is Henry Jones, a converted old warehouse with a penchant for modern art. The rather nondescript restaurant is a cover for the ornate rooms upstairs.
25 Hunter Street, Hobart
(03) 6210 7700
thehenryjones.com

Sullivans Cove Apartments – Hobart
Handily located by the harbour in Hobart, the apartments are modern, functional two-bedders.
5/19a Hunter Street, Hobart
(03) 6234 5063
sullivanscoveapartments.com.au

Two Four Two – Launceston
These basic apartments are inexpensive alternatives to the local hotels, with two bedrooms and a mezzanine level, a few minutes’ walk from the centre of Launceston with lovely hosts.
242 Charles Street, Launceston
(03) 6331 9242
twofourtwo.com.au

Cradle Mountain Lodge – Cradle Mountain
After a long day hiking, you’ll need somewhere cosy to rest and recoup for another day on your feet. Cradle Mountain’s Lodge is luxury in the wilderness.
4038 Cradle Mountain Road, Cradle Mountain
(02) 9299 2103
cradlemountainlodge.com.au