Tasmania is famed for its spectacular scenery and natural produce – making it the perfect location for a gourmet getaway. After a dreaded 2 hour flight delay from Sydney, we arrived in chilly Hobart to be picked up by our friends in a hire car to start off our trip during the Dark Mofo festival to celebrate the Winter Solstice with some good food, wine and culture.
Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)
Our first stop was the architecturally stunning Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), showcasing new exhibitions like Ai Wei Wei’s White House and areas such as the Siloam tunnel extension just in time to kick-off this year’s Dark Mofo winter festivities.
After spending a few hours exploring the thought provoking works (like the rainbow coloured “Eat the Problem” exhibit below), we were parched and ready to sip a few of the amazing Moorilla wines from MONA’s on site winery.
With a cellar door conveniently located next to our dinner location at MONA, the Moorilla winery started in 1962 and has a range of value driven “drink-now” wines in the Praxis range, to a nod to their former owner’s rag trade past in the premium Cloth Label series. As a bonus, we also got to enjoy a gorgeous view of the sunset over the grounds of MONA as we sipped our way through the range of wines offered by Moorilla.
The Source Restaurant next door to the Moorilla cellar door provided a convenient segue to dinner, which featured seasonal Tasmanian produce in upscale surrounds, all still within the sprawling MONA complex.
Highlights of the share style dishes at The Source included the Crab Tostada which was served on a jet black squid ink tortilla shell and was elevated by a dollop of caviar, and the amazingly succulent Scallops with Fried Chicken, an unexpected combination done to perfection.
Salamanca Market and Farm Gate Market
Our AirBnB in Hobart was a stone throw’s away from Salamanca Market (open on Saturdays) and Farm Gate Market (open on Sundays), which both are perfect ways to browse Tasmania’s famous local produce and also to purchase a few gifts for family and friends. We loved the delicious Curry Scallop Pie from Smith’s Pies at Salamanca Market, and picked up plenty of Tasmanian honey and cheese from Farm Gate Market.
Born in Brunswick
Working up an appetite from the morning walk through Farm Gate Market, we dropped into the trendy Born in Brunswick cafe for a delectable fusion brunch. Highlights included the Local Mushroom Egg Noodles (packed full of umami flavour) and the decadent Scrambled Eggs with BBQ Duck and Smoked Eggplant XO Butter.
Freycinet National Park
A popular way to take in some spectacular scenery is to do a day trip from Hobart to visit Freycinet National Park. On our drive up north, we stopped over at Devil’s Corner winery for a wine tasting including some fantastic Pinot Noir varietals. It was a beautiful winery, featuring a lookout towards Mount Amos that gave us a preview of the dramatic pink granite mountains to follow on our drive through the national park.
Our next stop was the Freycinet Marine Farm, offering extremely fresh seafood, including plump oysters sourced from the pristine waters around the Freycinet National Park. They had a few different options on the menu for serving the oysters aside from having them au naturel such as enjoying them with smoked salmon and brie, or capsicum salsa. We also tucked into some juicy garlic butter scallops.
Our main reason for driving up to Freycinet National Park was to do the hike up to the Wineglass Bay Lookout to see the iconic view. Fortunately for us, the walk to the Wineglass Bay Lookout is suitable for all levels of walkers and can be completed within an hour (round trip), even if you’re still full from an indulgent seafood lunch.
Then on the way home, we recommend stopping by the boutique Freycinet Vineyard to try some of the best Pinot Noirs on the island.
Pigeon Hole Cafe
Our last day of the long weekend adventure started at popular cafe Pigeon Hole. Serving food in one store, they have also temporarily taken over the shop next door as an artfully decorated waiting area / pop-up for the busy morning rush to have a coffee and snacks.
Our favourite breakfast choices were the seasonal Beef Goulash (very hearty and comforting) off their Dark Mofo menu and also the classic Simple Eggs served in the cutest mini skillet.
We then continued our adventure around local Dark Mofo installations around the city, including the contemporary art located at Rosny Barn.
Some of our recommended stops for great coffees as you’re exploring Hobart city include the newly opened Pilgrims Progress cafe resplendent with delicious pies.
This unassuming distillery is home to the world’s best single malt whisky (winning the prestigious award at the World Whiskies Awards in 2019 for the French Oak Single Cask, the American Oak Single Cask in 2018 and the French Oak in 2014).
Considering we were at the home of the only Australian whisky to ever win the World’s Best Single Malt and the only distillery in the world to ever win the award twice, we opted for the $50 tasting of three whiskys including two of the Whisky of the Year winners, along with a tasting of their gins for comparison. Of course, we were very impressed and took a bottle home with us to commemorate the occasion.