Hobart, capital city of Tasmania, Australia's smallest state, has come a long way. Once a remote, sleepy place, it's now a major tourist attraction for overseas visitors and Australians looking for a temperate climate and natural beauty.
Located at the mouth of the navigable Derwent River, the port city of Hobart is fringed by hills and the presence of Mt. Wellington, which looms at 4,176 feet.
Half of Tasmania's 500,000 inhabitants live in the region, evidenced by the suburban sprawl that extends for miles, especially in the Derwent Valley and along the coast to the south. Halifax, Nova Scotia, would be an apt parallel, as both cities are largely built of solid stone construction in Georgian and Federation styles. Their waterfronts are a delight to visit on foot. The big difference comes that unlike Halifax and many North American cities of this size, Hobart has a thriving commercial centre a few blocks inland from the now mostly recreational port. The urban shops and services are designed for Hobartians, and while visitors may also find the city centre useful, they tend to gravitate to the waterfront and a block or two inland.
You wouldn't know that Hobart was established in part by English convicts who then subsequently built much of Tasmania's early infrastructure. Hobart's economy was then based on servicing the mining, forestry and agricultural industries, both financially and as an export port.