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Photographing Tasmania: Part 1 – Hobart

Photographing Tasmania – Hobart

Tasmania, as Australia’s smallest state is a great travel and photographic destination. Nowhere else in Australia offers such a rewarding variety of scenic landscapes in a small(ish!) area as Australia’s island state. From towering sea cliffs in the south east; beautiful blue seas and calm, inviting beaches on the east coast; rich farming country across the north; rugged mountains and dark, mesmerizing rainforest of the west; and the alpine lakes country which dominates the central plateau.

The island is compact enough that you need not drive more than around two hours before encountering a new and rewarding destination to explore, meaning that your time in Tasmania does not need to be taken up with hours and hours in your car. You will no doubt start your trip at one of the major cities – Hobart or Launceston (accessed by air), or Devonport (most commonly accessed by sea, onboard the Spirit of Tasmania ferry from Melbourne). This article will introduce some sites to include in your visit to the state capital, Hobart. Future articles will cover the other regions of the state.

Hobart is the capital city of Tasmania, and home to many historic buildings dating from Tasmania’s colonial history. Most of the buildings you see are made from sandstone, and the softness of this stone has allowed intricate detail to be carved into the building blocks. Take a walk around the city centre, the waterfront (including Hunter St – great coffee, galleries and restaurants) and Salamanca (where Australia’s largest outdoor market is held every Saturday from 8:00 to 3:00) and the beautiful streetscapes and coffee shops/bakeries of Battery Point. Photographing these old building when they are lit up at night gives great atmospheric shots of a well preserved historic city centre.

Arriving in Hobart you are greeted by Mt Wellington rising on the western horizon, with the River Derwent in front. The Tasman bridge links the eastern shore (where the Airport is located) to the western shore (where the CBD is). A drive up the mountain is a must, and takes approx 30 minutes from the city centre. Basically you follow Davey St up, up and up; and you will see the turn off to the top just before you reach the shop and tavern at Fern Tree.

On a clear day the views are magnificent, and the rugged mountain peaks of south west Tasmania spread out on one side, while the panoramic views over Hobart and the River Derwent are unforgettable. Be aware that the peak is 1270m above sea level, and it is safe to assume that the summit will be approx 10 degrees cooler than central Hobart. The winds can be fierce too, so if you are spending a few days in Hobart, then check the forecast before heading up.

For some interesting photographic rewards, try any of the following (and remember – even though you might be on holiday, sunrises and sunsets over Hobart can be incredibly rewarding, owing to the hilly landscape, waterways and rocky foreshores).

Bellerieve foreshore – great Hobart skyline and sunset/sunrise colour over Mt Wellington are best viewed from here. Stop in Bellerieve Village for dinner or a drink, then follow the road through town to the foreshore.

Mt Wellington – the views from the top are an obvious attraction on a clear day, but don’t despair if the mountain is covered in cloud on your only day in town. The alpine snow gums and dolerite boulder fields have their own beauty which is highlighted when the long distance views are impossible.

Great views of the Tasman Bridge can be found in Lindisfarne, if you turn left at your first opportunity after crossing the bridge, head down to the water, and turn left again. The bridge looms close here and is a great sight when lit up at night.

Clifton Beach – slightly out of town, past Lauderdale, is this great surf beach covered in colourful shells and bookended by dramatic sandstone sea cliffs. Faces east so is good for sunrises. Approx 30 mins drive from central Hobart.

This is obviously just a taste of what to look for during your stay in Hobart, Tasmania, but it should be a good start towards you achieving some unique images of some well known locations. Please check back here for more info and tips for travelling and photographing Tasmania!

— by Luke O’Brien

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Snow Gums in the Mist
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Pine Valley & The Labyrinth Tasmania
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About Luke

Luke O'Brien runs a stall at Hobart's popular Salamanca Market every Saturday where his prints and cards are available for purchase. Follow Luke's photographic adventures on Twitter at @lukeobrienphoto, at his Facebook page or by subscribing to his email newsletter.