In order to reach the third Australian host port, the Clipper Race fleet will need to take on the Bass Strait, one of the toughest stretches of water on earth. Hobart though, is well worth the effort.
The southern-most Australian capital city sits on the River Derwent and is framed by the rugged wilderness of Mount Wellington. This striking and beautiful landscape is home to just over 200,000 people, though the population swells dramatically in the days leading up to New Year, largely due to the competitors, spectators, and supporters who pour into the city for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Each year in late December, the Tasmanian city buzzes with life and excitement as the RSHYR boats arrive at Constitution Dock. And to feed the hungry sailors, Hobart puts on the week-long Taste of Tasmania Festival, an event that showcases the state's fresh local produce, as well as the award-winning wine, cider, and whisky. Around 70 stalls, located both inside and outside the Princes Warf No. 1 shed, will serve up everything from oysters to slow-cooked wallaby burritos. Make sure you save some room for one of Hobart's famous scallop pies. Hobart is also known for its many waterfront pubs and bars. The Customs House is a crew favourite, especially as a venue for seeing in the New Year.
As well as catering for the gourmand, Hobart also has plenty to offer for cultural and art enthusiasts. Take the ferry to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) and see why critics rave about its confronting collections and architecture. Other venues worth visiting include the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and the Salamanca Art Centre, which champion local artists.
Mount Wellington, a ten-minute drive from the CBD, is an adventurist's playground. Here you can choose to go for a bushwalk, mountain bike ride, or climb to the 1300 metre sub-alpine rocky summit, which will give you incredible views of Hobart and the Derwent Valley. You may also be lucky enough to see some of Tasmania's unique wildlife, including the red-necked wallaby and Tasmanian Devil. You can also look for signs of the Tasmanian Tiger or Thylacine, a striped dog-like animal that still is mysteriously sighted on regular basis, despite being officially declared extinct in the 1980s.
The pristine, scenic coastline that borders Hobart on both sides is best seen from the water. Take a kayak tour and explore the sea caves and spectacular rock formations, all the while keeping an eye out for the seals, dolphins and whales that call this part of the world home.
Hobart has a rich convict history. More than 70,000 men, women, and children were transported to what was then known as Van Diemens Land in the early 1800s, and many of the buildings built during that time are still standing today. Port Arthur, on the wild Tasman Peninsula, is one of the best remaining sites and has UNESCO World Heritage status, while a little closer to Hobart is Richmond, which as well as having convict roots, is the gateway to some of Tasmania's finest vineyards.