Tips from a travelling Tasmanian – experience Hobart history and Tasmanian beverages »

All on a short walk around the city's waterfront

By Kerry Scambler
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Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery [©Tourism Tasmania]

The Jack Greene Bar, Hobart
Hartshorn Distillery - Grandvewe Cheeses
Grandvewe and Willie Smith's Collaboration
Whisky tasting at Lark Distillery


A walking tour anywhere will open your eyes and imagination to the sights, smells, tastes and feel of a place. Doing one in your own home town can certainly give you a much richer perspective on where you live, even when you think you know its history and character pretty well.

For visitors to Hobart on a short stay, it’s an ideal way to discover the wealth of stories around the city’s historic waterfront. By choosing the Alcohol History of Hobart Walking tour, you can send your tastebuds even further afield!

Tasmania’s often complex history and its outstanding beverages are two of my favourite things, and I likely stunned the host with the speed of my acceptance to an invitation to join one of Hobart Walking Tours local adventures.

It was winter, which in this city means the outdoor air is rather bracing, but there was no sign of rain for our walk with knowledgeable and friendly guide, Deb. With guests 'layered up' in warm clothing we gathered at the Henry Jones Art Hotel in Hunter Street, and it was here that the early landscape of Hobart suddenly became clearer.

Where we were standing was originally an island, where Lieutenant Governor David Collins decided the stores should be kept under guard in 1804. There are markers on the path and road depicting the shores of the small island – markers I’ve never taken notice of in my usual traversing of the area.

Stories of the liquor habits of Hobart’s early inhabitants were regaled as we made our way to our first tasting stop, in an historic building of course! The Hobart Gasworks was built in 1854 to light the city streets and it’s in here in the Gasworks Cellar Door we taste some exceptional Tasmanian wines and learn more of the wine history and current industry from guide Deb and one of the Gasworks team.

TIP: In Hobart for just a couple of days? The Gasworks Cellar Door has an ever-changing range of 16 Tasmanian wines for tasting and very well-informed and insightful staff on hand to guide you. It also carries a range of over 300 wines from 81 local vineyards.

The path to our next stop took us past the magnificent Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery with its own precinct of historic buildings including the 1808 Commissariat. It was slightly unnerving to be told that where we were standing at its entrance was once a wharf!

At Lark Distillery we sank onto old leather chairs and raised a glass to Bill Lark, the godfather of whisky in Tasmania and thanked him for getting some pesky 190 year old legislation changed in 1992.

As we move on past the replica of Mawson’s Hut, Deb relates the explorer’s amazing Antarctic journey and we draw our own coats closer with the thought of the utter cold of the southern polar region.

To warm us up, the next tasting was at the floating Brooke Street Pier where various Tasmanian producers and operators have set up small stalls on the Traders level. It’s inside so a comfortable way to while some time on a winter’s day. But, we’re here for delicious Grandvewe Cheeses and then something highly unusual from Hartshorn Sheep Whey Distillery. A delicious liqueur, vodka and delightful gin later and with purchases tucked away we head for our last stop.

TIP: for short stay visitors, Brooke Street Pier offers a variety of premium Tasmanian goods in one place. It’s also the MONA ferry departure point.

We headed to Salamanca Place and an eclectic bar in the Georgian warehouses. It would be very hard not to be full of character and atmosphere in this precinct and Jack Greene has it in buckets. Sinking into comfortable vintage couches again, it was time for a cleansing cider, a Willie Smith organic cider off tap no less. A return visit to spend longer soaking up the ambiance and a few local beers is already booked in.

My fellow walkers and I raise a glass to our guide, Deb. For the locals in the group, it was fascinating to gain a greater insight into the history of streets we walk so often and for all of us, exciting to taste premium wines, whisky, cider and new, innovative beverages that are perhaps a little bit quirky, just like us.


For short stay visitors: a walking tour will give you an immediate sense of place and, on this tour, give you a wide range of tastings. It can help direct you to where to concentrate your precious time. Highly likely to prompt plans for a longer stay though!

For longer stay visitors: as above and highly likely to prompt visits further afield to the source of the wines, beers, ciders and spirits. And perhaps return visits to those many venues around the waterfront!

For Tasmanian locals: just do it, go and book yourself on walking tour and discover how much you really don’t know or appreciate about your home town or that small town you drive through on the way to somewhere else. And taste more of those home grown beverages – they really are world-class.

There was much more shared and enjoyed on this tour than included in this article but you’ll just have to experience the rest on a walking tour for yourself!

Kerry was a guest on with Hobart Walking Tours but would have happily paid for this experience.


  • Hobart (TAS)
  • Southern Tasmania (TAS)

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July 31st, 2017
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