Wander or Bust is an Elite Daily travel series that follows young women/femme-identifying travelers (and, occasionally, their partners) all over the globe to record their journeys as they experience the thrill of the far-flung and unknown.
They’ll track their budgets, where they stay, where they eat and drink, and where they took that amazing Instagram that got them ~maximum exposure~. The internet is full of travel advice, but none from young millennials just like you. Read on for the tips no one else gives you, and when in doubt, get on the plane.
Here’s Molly Cowen’s Wander or Bust guide to Hobart and Huonville, Tasmania.
My Name: Molly Cowen
What I Do: Content Marketing Manager
Where I Live: I’m currently living in Melbourne, Australia on a working holiday visa.
Where I Went: Hobart and Huonville, Tasmania
How Long I Stayed: Three days and three nights
My Spending Style: Budget, with occasional bucket list exceptions (when in Australia!).
THE GAME PLAN
Where I Got My Recommendations: Tasmania is a common trip from Melbourne, so I had plenty of friends who were more than happy to share their recommendations. I also did some Googling and found helpful tips on travel blogs, TripAdvisor restaurant lists, and the Discover Tasmania website.
Exchange Rate At Time Of Travel: $1 USD = A$1.45 AUD
What That Looks Like IRL: $50 USD = A$72 AUD
Preferred Payment Method: I used a credit card for the whole trip. Australia is extremely credit card-friendly; I rarely carry cash unless I’m hitting the markets.
Phone Bill: Since I live in Melbourne, I use a SIM Card from the Australian provider Telstra. I’m on a data plan where I recharge my phone for $21 USD per month. It worked well through most of our trip, with the exception of some of the rural areas we drove through.
WHAT I PACKED
Luggage Type: I took a small backpack and a purse. I flew Jetstar which is a budget airline with small baggage allowances (7 kgs), which I took as a personal challenge to pack light.
The 10 Most Important Items I Packed:
For clothing and accessories:
2. Athletic clothes for hiking
3. A swimsuit
5. Cold weather clothes (Tasmanian weather is very unpredictable)
For extra essentials:
7. Facial cleanser and moisturizer
8. Toothpaste and toothbrush
9. A rechargeable phone battery
10. A book
What Shoes I Brought: A pair of versatile black sneakers that I knew would be suitable for hiking, exploring the city, and a relaxed night out.
HOW I GOT THERE
Mode of Transport: We flew on an airplane to get to Tasmania, and then rented a car from the airport to travel around the island.
Price: Flights: $62 USD round-trip. Rental car from Thrifty: $83 USD each (including premium insurance and gas).
Extra Costs: We got an Uber to and from the Melbourne airport, costing us a total of $25 USD each.
Transport Total: $170 USD
WHERE I STAYED
Accommodation: We stayed at a tiny house rental for two nights, and the Hobart Central YHA hostel for one night. The tiny house was owned by a friend’s family, who generously let us stay there for free.
Location: The tiny house was located in a remote area near Huonville, and the hostel was located in Hobart at 9 Argyle St, Hobart TAS 7000.
Price: The tiny house was provided for free, but similar rentals would’ve cost around $80 USD/night. We got a private room at the Hobart Central YHA hostel, which cost us $37 USD each for the night.
Extra Costs: None, luckily!
Would I Recommend It To Someone Else: Yes and yes. The tiny house was rustic and gave us a taste of the Tassie outdoors. If you do something similar, just be sure to check whether there will be power and running water available — we arrived prepared with facial cleansing wipes, plenty of water, and rechargeable phone batteries.
The hostel was basic, but provided us with a much-needed hot shower, communal kitchen, and comfy beds. It was also perfectly located just blocks from Hobart’s waterfront.
Accommodation Total: $37 USD each (had we paid for the tiny house rental, this number would have been closer to $90 USD each).
THE FOOD SITUATION
Breakfast-Lunch Cost: $10 USD/day
Dinner Cost: $12 USD/day
Average Total Cost: $22 USD/day
Tip Situation: Tips are typically not expected in Australia. If you’re really happy with your service, I would recommend leaving a 10% tip, but hospitality workers are paid living wages and generally don’t rely on tips.
Food Situation: During our first two days at the tiny house, we stocked up on food at the nearby Aussie grocery store chain Woolworth’s. I purchased items like fruits, veggies, peanut butter, bread, etc. We used our groceries for budget-friendly breakfast and lunch options and a Charcuterie board for dinner on the second night.
Otherwise, we ate at restaurants in Hobart Harbor, where I got fish and chips one day and sushi another night. Hobart is on the coast and is known for fresh seafood, particularly Tasmanian salmon.
Favorite Restaurant: Flippers Cooked Seafood
Location: 1 Constitution Wharf, Hobart TAS 7000
Price: $12 USD for a fish and chips plate
Honorable Mentions: Van Diemens Land Creamery has delicious ice cream on Constitution Dock.
Food Total: $66 USD
THE NIGHTLIFE SCENE
Nightlife Situation: Hobart has everything from pubs, to wine bars, to nightclubs. Hobart is generally a relaxed seaside city with locals who love to enjoy a pint of beer or Tasmanian wine. We found it to be the perfect place to unwind after a long day of exploring the great outdoors.
What People Wear Out: Tasmania is generally laidback and you’ll encounter a range, from jeans to dresses. I found Hobart to be quite artsy and trendy, so feel free to experiment with your look.
Average Cost Of A Pint: I’m generally a gin and tonic gal, which cost me $7 USD, but you could also opt for a pint for just around the same price.
Extra Cost To Know About: Nothing for us. We didn’t encounter any cover fees. Plus, since Australia doesn’t have added sales tax and tipping isn’t customary, what you see is what you get.
Last Call: The pubs we went to closed around 11:00 p.m., but people seemed to hang around a little longer.
Average Total Cost Of A Night Out: $21 USD
Cheapest Bar I’d Actually Go Back To: I would definitely go back to Tom McHugo’s. It seemed to be a good mix of locals and travelers. Plus, they feature lots of local Tasmanian drinks and food (I would save room for some dinner next time around).
Going Out Total: $21 USD. We only went out on our one night in Hobart and opted for an early night after our active days.
HOW I SPENT MY DAYS
What I Spent A Lot On That Was Totally Worth It: The Museum of Old and New Art (lovingly referred to as MONA) was absolutely worth it. I’ve been raving about it for weeks since my trip. The museum is located on a bay in Hobart and is reached most easily by the MONA ferry. We ended up splurging on “Posh Pit” tickets on the ferry ($38 USD round-trip per person), which included a lounge with prime views, canapés, and an unlimited open bar perfect for trying some Aussie wines.
The museum itself costs $21 USD and includes a labyrinth of exhibits, interactive activities, restaurants, and even a winery. We spent four hours there but could have easily spent even more time.
What I Spent A Lot of On That Was Totally Not Worth It: We didn’t actually splurge on this, but I’d skip some of the pricier restaurants on the docks in Hobart. If you’re anything like us, we were happy to visit no-frills local spots. We scored incredibly fresh seafood at a reasonable price point.
What I Spent Little Or No Money On That Was Awesome: We went on a really amazing hike around Mount Field National Park, where we did the Three Falls Circuit. It took us around two and a half hours and we got to see three different waterfalls. You’re mostly walking through lush rainforest with Eucalyptus trees and fern trees straight out of Fern Gully. It was the perfect nature escape and so unbelievably different than the terrain I’m used to around Melbourne. The park costs $17 USD per car (just around $6 USD each for each of us).
Favorite Thing I Did, Regardless Of Cost: The Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is incredible! We were able to see Tasmanian devils, wombats, koalas, and tons of kangaroos. We were even able to get up close and personal and feed the kangaroos. Tickets cost roughly $21 USD each, which goes to a great cause by supporting wildlife rescue and conservation efforts. (Hot tip: Time your visit to join one of their daily tours at 11:30 a.m., 2:00 p.m., or 3:30 p.m.)
Hidden Gem I Found: I found Salamanca Market while going for a morning walk in Hobart and had a really fabulous pastry to start the day. Tasmanians take their markets seriously, and you’ll find a sensory overload of local artisans, food vendors, and even performers. Just be sure to go on a Saturday (8:30 a.m. — 3 p.m.) as that’s the only time it’s open.
The Photo I Took That Got The Most Attention:
(Disclaimer: My travel account is new to Instagram.)
Excursions/Extras Total: $86 USD
Best Tasmania Hack: If you’re going the rental car route, I would definitely recommend getting a car with 4-wheel drive and opting for some solid car insurance. I really can’t stress this enough. We decided we’d be better off safe than sorry and were really glad we did once we realized how many dirt roads we would encounter.
Also, Tasmania is home to a wonderful nocturnal wildlife community, so you have to be particularly careful driving at night as you’ll encounter MANY pademelons (tiny marsupials similar to kangaroos), wombats, and much more. If you need to drive to your accommodation, plan your flight to get in during the daylight hours. Our flight was delayed until a nighttime arrival, so we were extremely happy we had the safety net of car insurance to back us up.
Advice For Anyone Traveling Alone: I’m typically a solo traveler, so I always have my solo traveling radar up. Tasmania is an incredible solo destination — it’s an easy trip from mainland Australia, features a great selection of hostels, and has a thriving backpacker community. I would recommend booking accommodation in Hobart as your base and then joining day tours around the island.
Total Trip Cost: ~$380
Worth It? Absolutely. Tasmania has added some truly unique, memorable experiences to my time in Australia. If you find yourself down under, definitely pop over for some world-class hiking, one of the most fascinating art museums in the world, and some excellent food and wine.
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