With one of the coolest festivals in Australia kicking off next week, backed by a world-class gallery, plus chic new hotels and restaurants, the Tasmanian capital of Hobart is flourishing
“The thing is,” Mary McNeill says as we cafe-hop around Hobart on a flawless midsummer day during one of her Gourmania food tours, “I couldn’t wait to leave when I was a teenager.” It wasn’t what I’d expected to hear from this chef who has returned to her home town after stints in Sydney and New York. Back in the 1990s, Hobart was overlooked, she says. “Now there’s so much energy and creativity, I cant imagine who wouldn’t want to be here.”
On 15 January, the Mofo music and arts festival takes place at 16 venues in the Tasmanian capital for a defiantly eclectic and uncommercial four-day programme curated by Brian Ritchie, bass player of the Violent Femmes. In just six years it has become a highlight of the Australian arts calendar.