Hobart National Events
As one of Australia's southernmost cities, Hobart is a popular destination for travellers seeking out natural beauty, old-world charm and a rich cultural scene. While the city itself is home to a smattering of festivals and events throughout the year, there are plenty of nationally or globally recognised annual events that Tasmanians and visitors alike can observe in and around the region of Hobart.
1. Dark Mofo Festival
If there's one event that has put Hobart on the international cultural calendar in recent years, it's Dark Mofo. Curated by the celebrated Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), this winter festival is a celebration of darkness and light, fire and ice, and emerging art and music from around the world. Held over 11 days in June, Dark Mofo features large-scale public art installations, music performances, theatre and dance shows, and of course, the famous Winter Feast. From 'nude solstice dips' to pagan rituals, Dark Mofo is a feast for the senses and an invitation to embrace the unknown.
2. Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
Staged every December since 1945, the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is one of the most prestigious and challenging yacht races in the world. Starting from Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day, the fleet of around 100 boats sails over 600 nautical miles down the coast of New South Wales and across the Bass Strait to the finishing line in Hobart. The race regularly attracts the cream of the international sailing community, as well as an enthusiastic audience of spectators who line the docks and vantage points along the River Derwent.
3. Wooden Boat Festival
Celebrating the art of wooden boatbuilding and sailing, the Australian Wooden Boat Festival is a biennial event held in Hobart's historic waterfront precinct. Over four days in February, the festival features a huge array of traditional and modern wooden boats, from historic tall ships to contemporary yachts, as well as maritime craft demonstrations, model boat displays, live music, and food and wine stalls. The festival's centrepiece is the Parade of Sail, where hundreds of boats sail up the River Derwent in a spectacular display of seamanship and heritage.
4. Taste of Tasmania
For lovers of fine food and drink, the Taste of Tasmania is an essential event on the summer social calendar. Held over the New Year period in Hobart's waterfront parklands, the festival showcases the best of Tasmania's gourmet produce, wine, beer and spirits, as well as live music, cooking demonstrations, fireworks and family entertainment. With over 70 stallholders and four stages hosting musicians and performers, the Taste is one of the largest food and wine festivals in Australia.
5. MONA FOMA
The annual summer festival of the Museum of Old and New Art, MONA FOMA (Festival Of Music and Art) is a wildly experimental and boundary-pushing event that combines contemporary art, music, performance and avant-garde experiences across multiple venues in Hobart. Curated by musician and artist Brian Ritchie, the festival brings together local and international artists in a celebration of the weird and wonderful. From open-air concerts on the lawns of MONA to interactive installations in abandoned buildings, MONA FOMA is an adventure in sound and vision.
6. Falls Festival
Since 2003, the coastal town of Marion Bay, just outside Hobart, has played host to the Falls Music and Arts Festival, the Tasmanian leg of one of Australia's most popular outdoor music festivals. Held over the New Year period, the Falls Festival attracts big-name acts from Australia and overseas, as well as showcasing emerging local talent. With multiple stages, camping facilities, food vendors and markets, the Falls Festival is a quintessential summer experience for music lovers.
7. Hobart Summer Market
For a taste of local Tasmanian culture and craftsmanship, the Hobart Summer Market is a weekly event held on the Hobart waterfront from December to March. With dozens of stallholders selling everything from artisanal cheeses and fresh produce to jewellery, fashion and homewares, the market is a vibrant showcase of Tasmanian creativity and community spirit. With live music, kids' activities and a friendly atmosphere, the Hobart Summer Market is a must-visit for anyone looking to soak up the local vibe.
From the cutting-edge art and music of Dark Mofo and MONA FOMA to the storied traditions of the Wooden Boat Festival and the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, Hobart and its surrounds offer a wealth of internationally renowned events that celebrate the unique character and culture of Tasmania. Whether you're a seasoned traveller or a curious local, these festivals and gatherings are sure to inspire and excite, and leave you with a deep appreciation for the diversity and creativity of this beautiful island state.