Backpacking in Australia: Hobart on Hobart Night, Tasmania

We didn’t plan to be in Hobart on Hobart Night. We didn’t even know there was such a thing as Hobart Night. I’m still not even sure why there is a Hobart Night. I mean, my capital city is Belfast and we don’t have a Belfast Night. But anyway it just meant a day off work for the locals, a big party and fireworks.

We arrived separately together in Hobart, Neil, Daniel, Paul and I in separate cars. We had to do it that way for 2 reasons: 1. To fit all of our stuff (we didn’t store our bags anywhere) and 2. I had to drive back to Devonport and they had to leave their car back to Hobart. We assembled in the Pickled Frog backpackers. IN the reception. We weren’t driving that night and had decided just to dander round the city.

What we didn’t know was that it was Hobart Night! The receptionist in the Pickled Frog backpackers told us this, which was surprising given that the city was a ghost town – there was nobody in sight. If this was the Tasmanian Capital, how quiet must the rest of the island be?

So a brisk dander, on Hobart night took us from the slight hill on Liverpool Street where the Pickled Frog backpackers croaks into an empty main street to the un-noticed harbour leaps out at us only due to the only fish shop still open. “What time do ye finish serving?” asks me, hopeful of a fish supper on the way back home “We close in 5 minutes” comes the response from a floating fish shop attendant. Most of the Fish shops on Hobart harbour are floating boats. Its one of the few interesting sights in this city.

In fairness the harbour still looks pretty at night. We walk harbourside along Davey Street and gaze unimpressed into Kings Pier Marina. “Is this where you get your boat to Antarctica, Jonny?” would have been a likely, but non existent, question from my mate Neil. Wearing an overheated Duffelcoat and with enough food and entertainment to last a month, perhaps from this very dock is where I’ll take a trip all the way to Antarctica. That appears to be the saving grace of Hobart as a city.

We notice the fireworks beginning. It’s Hobart night. Remember. Forgot. There isn’t even a sign up on the gate at the dockside park to say that it’s Hobart Night. Maybe it wasn’t and we were mis-informed. But then why were there thousands of people there, in a grassy park by Macquarie Point, in an area my map calls only “Cenotaph”, watching fireworks launch themselves into this southern sky. Someone must know, yet no-one did.

Of course there’s beauty in it. We’re miles from anywhere. We are surely in the world’s most populated city nearest to the south pole (Christchurch, Ushuaia and Punto Aranas will have a go at that). We are definitely in the world’s closest capital city to the south pole. We are there on their special night. We got a free fireworks display. We hung around until the fireworks were over. That was 14 minutes later. I bought some greasy chips for $4, which was reasonable and they tasted good.

“Back to the hostel for a beer?” says Dan. “Well what else is there to do here but sleep?” was my rhetoric response. So we headed through the barely lit streets of the capital city, where a $3 beer was as good as it got before a quick chat with 3 Canadian backpackers and a sleep in Hobart.

I wouldn’t say we weren’t impressed. It had been a long trip. In the last 10 days or so. We’d left behind the golf course of a tanned Parramatta. We’d squeezed our way out of the overplayed Sydney. We’d enjoyed Gallipolic knowledge enhancement in the calm capital city of Canberra. We’d met Roger Federer the day after he set some kind of record on a tennis court in Sunny Melbourne. We’d seduced a southern sunrise onto polaroid whilst gazing at Koala Bears in a town honestly known as Kennet River. We’d avoided a tram fare and just made it onto the red and white Spirit of Tasmania ferry boat. The guys had made up their mind – they weren’t hanging around in Tasmania. Even if I’d have wanted to, I could hardly blame them.

Its a strange world to be in the world’s southernmost capital city and for once not feel totally inspired. I’ve done it now. I’ve been in and savoured the bittersweet unobvious delights of Hobart. It remains the closest capital city to the south pole. It’s hardly anything to write home about. So I wrote my kid brother a postcard from Hobart. It wouldn’t surprise me if he enjoys that more than I enjoyed Hobart.

I’ll be back in Hobart though, believe me, it doesn’t mean I like it.

What Is It? – Hobart, capital city of Tasmania

Where To Stay – Pickled Frog Backpackers, Liverpool Street

Local Pub – The New Sydney Hotel

Tips – Get out of the city and do the peninsula, the beaches, the valleys and the farms.

Best sights in Hobart – The Post Office and The Harbour

Favourite Drink – Water

Favourite Food – Fish ‘n’ Chips

Favourite Beer – Cascade

Random Fact – In 2009 I worked on two ferry boats both built in Hobart – the Condor Ferries Fleet

Favourite Cartoon Character – Hobart Simpson

World Cup Winner – RonaldinHOBART (Brazil, 2002)




1 thought on “Backpacking in Australia: Hobart on Hobart Night, Tasmania

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

CommentLuv badge