Courtesy of Mona
Courtesy of Mona
Travel Tip

Art and Culture – Tassie’s Must Not Miss Bucket List

Kathryn Leahy
​Against the well-known background of natural beauty and rich convict history, a new Tasmania is emerging, one that puts a high value on cultural and artistic endeavour. Don’t miss Tassie’s art and culture underground. Here’s our must-not-miss bucket list.

The Hadley’s Art Prize

The Hadley’s Orient Hotel in Hobart is home to the world’s richest landscape art prize – The Hadley’s Art Prize. Each year the hotel runs a contemporary Australian landscape art competition with a grand prize of $100,000 awarded to the winning Australian landscape artists. The hotel itself is steeped in art history, one of the original landlords, John Clay Hadley, began collecting and displaying landscape art back in 1834, and his son, Howard Hadley continued the tradition, becoming an award-winning landscape painter himself. Drop in to the historic hotel and view the striking pieces in the finalist’s exhibition. There are also a host of related events. If you want to truly immerse yourself in the art experience, there are accommodation packages available at the hotel.  21 July – 25 August.

An art gallery with photos and painting on the walls
Olivia Sattler
Hadley's Art Prize

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery features Tasmania’s natural and cultural heritage and is one of the few in the world to combine a history and science museum, art gallery and herbarium under the one roof. Highlights include the award-winning Tasmanian Aboriginal exhibition ningennah tunapry, and the Islands to Ice: Antarctica and the Southern Ocean exhibition.

interior of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart
Simon Cuthbert
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery


Australia’s largest private museum of art and antiquities, the Museum of Old and New Art – Mona, on the banks of the River Derwent, is quite literally underground. With three levels cut into the sandstone of the river bank, its subterranean design and the owner’s challenging curatorial approach make it a must-see museum and art gallery – even if art isn’t your thing. Owned by millionaire gambler David Walsh, the museum houses a collection ranging from ancient Egyptian mummies to some of the world’s most thought-provoking contemporary art including ‘ZERO is the Beginning’ (9 June 2018 – 22 April 2019).

While you’re exploring, head to Pharos – a monument to light – otherwise known as “the new bit’” which houses four new works by American artist James Turrell. It’s also where you will find Faro restaurant. It has stunning river views and all the usual stuff you’d expect from a restaurant in a museum wing named after a Greek lighthouse. Indulge in a black margarita or look out for the feral pig eyes encased in ice balls.

external photo of Mona Museum of Old and New Art Tasmania
Courtesy of Mona


The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) in Launceston has a national profile for its collections of Australian colonial art, decorative arts and design, Tasmanian history, and natural sciences. The museum is located across two sites – Royal Park, which houses the art gallery, and Inveresk, home to the museum.

exterior of the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Luwith red metal sculpture in foreground
Rob Burnett
QVMAG at Inveresk

Design Tasmania

Tasmania’s indigenous timbers are unequalled in the world; Huon pine, King Billy pine, celery top pine, sassafras, and myrtle are just a few of the species native to the island and found nowhere else. Design Tasmania in Launceston promotes contemporary craft and design and is home to the Design Tasmania Wood Collection plus a dynamic program of contemporary craft and design-related exhibitions and projects.

woman looking at artwork on a wall
Chris Crerar
Design Tasmania

Salamanca Arts Centre

Salamanca Arts Centre is home to more than 70 arts organisations, arts retailers and artists in studios, and offers an exhibition and performing arts program all year round. Housed in Georgian sandstone warehouses built in the 1830’s, these buildings once stored grain, wool, whale oil, apples and imported goods from around the world. Nowadays, you can wander under the heavy stone arches and find craft and design shops, jewellers, cafes, restaurants, galleries, subterranean bookshops and fashion boutiques. From here it’s a short walk up Kelly’s Steps to the historic Battery Point precinct.

man and woman in front of retail shop at the Salamanca Arts Centre complex
Adrian Cook
Salamanca Arts Centre

Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1948, Hobart’s Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (TSO) is Tasmania’s flagship performing arts organisation. A leader in music of the Classical and early Romantic periods, the TSO enjoys a high national and international profile through its world-wide broadcasts and award-winning recordings.

The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra playing to a crowd at the Federation Concert Hall in Hobart
Alastair Bett
Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra

Theatre Royal

Described by Noel Coward as “a dream of a theatre”, the Theatre Royal in Hobart is Australia’s oldest working theatre. There are guided tours available during the day while at night the stage comes alive with theatre, contemporary music, dance and entertainment.

the stage of the Theatre Royal looking at red seats
Nick Osborne
Theatre Royal

Burnie Makers Workshop

Part contemporary museum, part arts centre, the Burnie Makers Workshop honours Burnie’s history, makers, innovators and artists. Try your hand at making paper, talk to the makers about their craft, shop for interesting locally made gifts or browse the latest exhibition in the gallery.

red felt hat sitting next to business card at the Burnie Makers Workshop
Heidi Sze
Burnie Makers Workshop

Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery

The Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery is a unique purpose-built showcase for environmental photography. Beautiful, dramatic images from Australian and international photographers will excite your imagination, lift your spirits and expand your horizons.

woman and young female child looking at painting
Supplied Courtesy of RACT Destinations
Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery

Sheffield murals – an outdoor art gallery

In Sheffield, a small town on the road to Cradle Mountain, there are murals painted on the buildings that share curious Tasmanian stories with passers-by.  The murals trace the history of the area and feature Cradle Mountain pioneer Gustav Weindorfer, Tasmanian Tigers, and pictorial representations of characters and stories of the past. The town is also home to the annual International Mural Fest – a mural art competition and festival held each Easter.

Sheffield's Outdoor Gallery Art Murals in Tasmanian Regional town
Rob Burnett
Sheffield's Outdoor Gallery

Devonport Regional Gallery

In keeping with Tasmania’s passion for re-purposing early buildings, the Devonport Regional Gallery is housed in a refurbished Baptist Church (1904). The gallery holds an annual program of exhibitions and public programs. It collects and promotes Tasmanian art, craft and design and runs an emerging artist program to support local and state-wide artists.

woman looking at three paintings on a wall at the Devonport Regional Gallery
Rick Eaves
Devonport Regional Gallery

Tasmania Arts Guide

Explore Tasmania’s vibrant arts and cultural scene with the Tasmania Arts Guide.  The online guide makes it easy to discover some of the best arts and cultural experiences in the state. Check out the events page – it’s packed with everything that’s happening around the island.

man performing on a stage at the Peacock Theatre in Hobart
Adrian Cook
Performance at the Peacock Theatre

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For more information to help you plan your trip to Tassie, feed your curious at our other helpful site, Discover Tasmania.

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