When you think of Australian beaches, Hobart probably isn’t the first destination to spring to mind. While not as famous as Byron Bay or Bondi, there are hundreds of perfect patches of sand around the island of Tasmania, including on the doorstep of its capital.
Tasmania remains Australia’s hidden gem, with fewer visitors than other coastal destinations such as Queensland and Sydney, so you are likely to have plenty of space to yourself at whichever beach you choose, too. Here is Culture Trip’s guide to the top five beaches to visit in and around Hobart.
Best for rural charm
Located a 40-minute drive from Hobart, the hamlet of Opossum Bay is well worth the trip. Situated at the mouth of the River Derwent, complete with breathtaking views over the water, you will feel a world away from the city. The sheltered aspect of the bay leads to a relaxing visit and calm, clear water. Fish and chips from the general store are highly recommended after a day on the sand.
Best for stunning scenery
Coningham is arguably one of the most picturesque beaches in Tasmania; the bush-covered cliffs behind it create a dramatic backdrop best viewed from the water. Barely a half-hour drive from the city, this beach still feels relatively undiscovered. Candy-coloured boat sheds add a touch of glamour to the secluded beachfront. If this beach were near Sydney or Melbourne, you’d struggle to find an inch of spare sand to lay your towel down on a sunny day, but Coningham remains unspoilt and, for the time being, still very quiet.
Best for swimming
One of the most popular beaches around Hobart, Kingston Beach’s calm waters are one of the best places for swimming. The suburb of Kingston is just a 15-minute drive southeast from Hobart’s city centre, and although this stretch of sand is the biggest in the suburb, there are a number of smaller beaches nearby. Find walking tracks heading into the bush at both ends of the beach, perfect for stretching your legs and finding some shade. Look for the beach swings on Kingston Beach for the perfect Instagram-worthy photo. Follow the Boronia Beach Track to Boronia Beach to spot sea dragons, try the underwater snorkelling route at Tinderbox Beach, or visit the blowhole at Blackmans Bay. In the cool evening, pay a visit to The Salty Dog Hotel for beach snacks and views of the sunset.
Best for wildlife
An easy day trip from Hobart, Bruny Island is a must-visit destination for natural beauty and wildlife spotting. Catch the ferry from Kettering, and in 10 minutes, you’ll reach the island. The Neck is a double whammy of beaches, lining both sides of an isthmus connecting North Bruny and South Bruny. Little penguins potter on the shores of the Neck as the sun sets, and short-tailed shearwaters can often be spotted. Take a cruise for the best views of the marine wildlife and coastal landscape. Pack a warm jacket as it does get a little chilly on the exposed shoreline.
Best for cycle trails and history
Hire a bike and follow the Intercity Cycleway over the Tasman Bridge to Bellerive Beach, which offers fantastic views of Mount Wellington towering over Hobart. The Kangaroo Bluff Battery, a late-19th-century fortress, is situated on Kangaroo Bluff (an excellent spot for a picnic lunch) at the western edge of the beach. Check out the stellar scenes of the Derwent estuary and Bruny Island from here, too. If you’ve come this far, you might as well pop over to neighbouring Howrah Beach; it’s an easy three-kilometre (two-mile) cycle east along the Clarence Foreshore Trail.