Cruise Ship season in Tasmania
The first cruise ship was supposed to arrive in Hobart yesterday, the first of a record number this season, but the wild Tasmanian weather put a damper on those plans which, thankfully, doesn't happen often.
If you’re going to visit Tasmania (recently ranked by Lonely Planet the #4 region in the world to visit) the ultimate way to do it is on a multi-day tour or self-driving holiday, preferably for a minimum of three weeks. But in the event that that’s not in your time frame, one of the most wonderful ways to arrive in Hobart is on a cruise ship, for it must surely be one of the best cruise ship harbours in the world.
The ship enters Storm Bay, a vast, ragged-edged inlet in southeastern Tasmania, passing by the Iron Pot lighthouse at the entrance to the Derwent River. Gliding almost silently up the river, you are surrounded by rolling hills, white sandy beaches and the backdrop of the magnificent kunanyi/Mt Wellington, rising 4,000 feet right behind the little city of Hobart, nestled along the shoreline.
It is not a particularly old city by international standards (just a couple of hundred years) but it is the second oldest capital city in Australia, full of gorgeous old heritage buildings and a sense of a history that only just happened – it is easy to picture what this thriving little city would have looked like 200 years ago when it was first occupied by British settlers and convicts labourers.
Hobart also has one of the deepest natural harbours in the world. So, when your cruise ship docks right on the waterfront, you are treated to the unusual prospect of being able to walk off the ship, and within just two blocks you are in the heart of the city.
Hobart is a small city, but is a vibrant, lively place that also has dozens of fascinating things to see and do within an hour or less of the your ship. So, in one day, you can experience a beautiful Aussie city, in addition to accessing some of the surrounding regions - the wine country, fresh food, history, beaches, wilderness, art and wildlife.
To make the very best use of your time in Hobart you will ideally prebook something with one of our excellent local tour operators either directly through their websites:
Believe me when I tell you that it’s best to avoid trying to make bookings at the Travel Centre on the day you arrive, unless you are one of the first people to be there when they open at 9:00am.
The centre is small and it fills up quickly, so rather than spending the first hours of your day fighting through the same crowd you line up with to get off the ship in a tender boat, plus the dozens of other tourists who come through the centre every day, I strongly suggest prebooking with a local operator who can meet you right off the ship.
Within a few minutes you can be making the most of your time here by getting a taste of what Tasmania has to offer, and be inspired to come back for that three week visit!