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Published on October 29th, 2012 | by john.weir

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Hobart named as top tourist destination

Tasmania’s state capital Hobart has been named one of the world’s top 10 cities to visit in 2013 by Lonely Planet. The eponymous guide book’s annual Best in Travel, published today, selects the picturesque waterfront city of Hobart as one of only three cities in the Southern Hemisphere placing it seventh in the top ten, and describing it as an “historic city reinventing itself”.

Art, food and culture have catapulted Hobart to the attention of visitors in recent years, most particularly since the opening of the Museum of Old and New Art, Mona, in January 2011.  As well as being one of the world’s largest and most extraordinary private collections of art and antiquities, Mona – which is owned by Hobartian and professional gambler David Walsh – is on the site of one of Tasmania’s oldest wineries,  The Moorilla Estate.  The site includes a top restaurant Source, and Moo Brew, regarded as one of Australia’s best microbreweries, and has a cult music festival, Mona Foma (MOFO) every January.  The underground museum has been built within the Triassic sandstone cliffs of the Derwent River just outside the city centre, and to date has attracted over 200,000 visitors.

Hobart is the only Australian city on the list.  Tasmania’s World Heritage-listed wilderness, which celebrates its 30th Anniversary on 12 December 2012, is also acknowledged with the Walls of Jerusalem National Park being included in Lonely Planet’s ‘Great Wall Walks’ alongside tourism icons such as the Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall.
With uncanny timing, Mona’s David Walsh has this weekend announced his intention to build a AU$25 million hotel at Mona with rooms starting form as little as AU$80 or £50 per night.  The hotel is due for completion in 2014.  Walsh has also unveiled plans for a new music festival, Dark Mofo, to be held in Tasmania’s winter.

Tasmania’s Tourism Minister Scott Bacon said the listing in Lonely Planet was “the sort of exposure money cannot buy”. “It’s great publicity for some of our world-class tourism experiences, our fine dining and events like Ten Days on the Island and the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race,” he said. “The inclusion of the Walls of Jerusalem in the guide’s ‘Great Wall Walks’ is further proof that our wilderness experiences rank among the best in the world.”

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