Hobart is the capital of the Australian island Tasmania. Tasmanians are lovely people, with a strong island community feeling, welcoming foreigners - hitching is possible even on small roads. Someone hitched to a town of a 100 people. As there are only 500 000 inhabitants on the whole island, don't be surprised to meet some people twice ! Until recently, tourism was not really developped in Tasmania, so you will meet less tourists, and everything would be more relaxed than on the mainland.
What to do in town
Hobart is an Australian state capital, but with only 200 000 inhabitants, and you can still feel int the countryside. Everything is also less expensive than in other Australian cities, even with importation costs. Weekly events :
- Salamanca Market each Saturday on Salamanca place, very nice to hang around and buy some clothes, but lots of tourist, by Tasmanian standards.
- Farmer's Market each Sunday on Bathurst Street, nice to buy organic food and eat lots of things.
Other interesting events :
- Dark Mofo festival on the two weeks before the winter solstice.
Highways & Hitchhiking
There are three main highways out of the Hobart area:
- The Brooker Highway (1), which heads north and splits into the Midlands Highway (1) which heads north, and the Lyell Highway (A10) which heads west. The intersection of these highways at the Bridgewater Bridge is one of the best places to hitch from to travel north or west, since cars have to slow down to 60km/h to travel through the intersection and the bridge. You'll probably need a ride to get you there though.
- The Southern Outlet (A6) which heads south to the Huon Valley, the Channel area and Bruny Island (via ferry at Kettering). Hitching is best achieved from the start of the outlet at the end of Davey Street, which is a twenty minute walk from the CBD.
- The Tasman Highway (also known as the Eastern Outlet) (A3) which heads east to the airport and the east coast. Precisely because of the Tasman Bridge crossing the Derwent just at the beginning of the highway, it is hard to start hitch-hiking somewhere near the city, as there is no proper side-road suitable for stopping cars before the bridge. One of the options is to reach the second highway entry at Warrane by taking bus #654, #655, #664 or #665 (there are often a whole bunch of numbers for the same line) getting out at "Shackleton Street" or "Stop nb 27" on Cambridge road, or you may ask the driver to drop you off closest to the motorway explaining him/her you are intending to hitch-hike. Finally, walk to the highway and get a ride there.
As there aren't so many buses on weekends and as enough drivers coming from the Southern Outlet will just pass through the CBD, another valuable option is to start hitching before the CBD on Davey Street.
Within the CBD and suburbs, Metro Tasmania provides a wonderful weekday service, even not finishing too early (there are buses up to 11pm on several lines). It's also cheap, by international standards. It's 3$30 ticket bought on board, but you can get 20% off with a Greencard account (easy and quick to have at Metro shop), and daily ticket is capped around 5$ A small problem is that the online timetables are always different from the ones at the bus station, which are also different from the real arrival of the bus (Always 5 minutes late, Hobart is a very relax city). To reach New Norfolk and then directly hitch on the A10, you can use the other bus compagny, Derwent Valley Link (8$, but Greencard reduction doesn't apply) However, do not rely on it on weekends, as the service becomes intermittent and unreliable. To travel to the country or intercity, services such as Hobart Coaches (owned by Metro), Redline, Tigerline or Tassielink will be your friends. Although a bit expensive, Greencard reductions apply on Tassielink.
To and from the airport
The Hobart Airporter is more a big taxi dropping you at your hostel than a real bus, and it will cost you at least 15$. A bit of hitching will save you that money : take the bus to Warrane or Mornington to cross the Derwent and then hitch at the entry of the Tasman Highway for a 6km lift.