Hobart: Notes For Bicycle Tourists

Hobart as seen from Mt. WellingtonTasmania’s capital city is a charming spot, with more of a small town feel to it than anything like a bustling metropolis. From markets to museums, from its photogenic streets to the imposing Mount Wellington, there are plenty of reasons to hang around.

Hobart also makes a good base for a series of short rides (3-5 days) around the region, visiting sites like Bruny Island and Mount Field National Park.

Accomodation: Getting a room in Hobart can be surprisingly expensive in peak season and on weekends you might find everything is booked solid. Plan ahead, especially if you want a place in a backpackers, and don’t be surprised to find double rooms going for A$150 or more.

Cruise ships and sailboatsTreasure Island Caravan Park is the budget option and the best placed campsite for cyclists. You’ll find it just off the cycle path, on Main Road in Berriedale and beside Moorilla Winery. It’s about 10km out from the Tasman Bridge. A tent site for two will run you about A$25 and it’s fairly pleasant, set on the banks of the Derwent River. (1 Alcorso Drive, 03 6249 2379)

Montgomery’s Private Hotel and YHA Backpackers is very central but could be noisy. Some rooms are above a pub with karaoke until 1am. A bed in a 6-bed dorm room goes for A$32 and private double rooms, with shared bath, start at A$138. (9 Argyle Street, 03 6231 2660 www.montgomerys.com.au)

If you’re really strapped for cash, you could discreetly pitching a tent in the picnic area at Fern Tree, on the way to Mount Wellington. There’s flat ground, water taps and plenty of trees to hide behind. Save energy for the climb up there at the end of the day.

Bike Shops: There’s no shortage of bicycle shops around Hobart but Bike Ride is run by a bike tourist and has a good reputation among travelling cyclists. (74a Liverpool Street, www.bikeride.com.au)

Eating: The New Sydney Hotel is the place to down a glass or two of Boag’s draft with the locals and treat yourself to a plate of fish ‘n’ chips (A$18). (87 Bathurst Street, 03 6234 4516, www.newsydneyhotel.com)

Self-catering: Salamanca Market is a Saturday morning tradition in Hobart. Don’t miss it! Aside fromHomegrown Carrots in Salamanca market beautiful fruit and veg and the food stalls, there are plenty of handicrafts and other trinkets and souvenirs to buy.

Internet: The State Library on Murray Street has free internet access. It’s on a first-come first-served basis and you can only use a maximum of 1 hour at a time. Just show up and take your place in the queue.

There are many internet cafes around town. Rates run A$6-10/hour.

Medical: To restock your toiletry kit or renew a prescription, try the discount chemist on Murray Street, just uphill from the State Library. Prices are noticably cheaper than the supermarkets.

Dr. Bridgette Watts is the woman to see if you need medical advice. She’s a cycle tourist so just tell her you’re travelling by bicycle and you’ll find she’s enormously helpful. (03 6228 2200, 67 Hopkins Street, Moonah)