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The complete guide for graduates moving to Hobart

Jaymes Carr

Moving to Hobart as a graduate can be a welcome change from the pace of city life. Make a smooth transition with our comprehensive guide for grads.

Pros and cons

Pros

Tasmania is beautiful

Subjective rankings are arbitrary and silly, it’s true, but, for what it’s worth, Condé Nast Traveller magazine voted Wineglass Bay (about 125km north of Hobart) the most beautiful beach in Australia. In fact, the whole of Freycinet National Park is so beautiful that it’s a surprise to learn that no elves call it home (only wombats, wallabies, kangaroos, and countless birds). Tasmania also boasts Cradle Mountain National Park (take our word for it: gorgeous) and Hobart itself, which sits alongside the picturesque River Derwent.

There’s an incredible arts and culture scene

You’ve probably heard of MONA, and for good reason: Hobart’s underground (literally) Museum of Old and New Art is an unforgettable experience and one you’d be silly to miss. But that’s not all Hobart has to offer: its annual MOFO and Dark MOFO festivals draw thousands, the Royal Hobart Show is an institution, and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery is a great place to learn more about Australia’s unique history, wildlife, and culture.

Hobart is extremely safe

While crime rates are liable to fluctuate, Hobart has traditionally had one of the lowest rates of any of the Australian capital cities. While burglaries are not less common in Hobart than in Sydney or Melbourne, more than half involve cars that are left unlocked and purses or wallets that are left unattended. Pro-tip: do not leave cars unlocked and purses or wallets unattended.

Tasmania has a blossoming foodie culture

Tasmanian restaurants are particularly well-known for fresh seafood, such as lobster, scallops, and deep-sea Trevalla (a fish that lives in the cold Antarctic waters south of Tasmania). Most of the restaurants in Tasmania are clustered around the suburbs of Salamanca and North Hobart. Hobart also has an established craft beer and distillery scene, with Sullivan’s Cove (a local distillery) producing the world’s best whisky in 2014.

Cons

Limited job opportunities

For some graduates, this might be the chief disadvantage of moving to Hobart: we’ll cover this in detail below (see ‘the job market for grads in Hobart’), but, for now, suffice it to say that certain industries in Hobart, such as healthcare (especially nursing) routinely fail to offer as many vacancies as there are job-seeking graduates.

The Tasmanian Tiger is extinct

The Tasmanian Tiger was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. Also known as the thylacine, the Tasmanian Tiger really looked more like a dog, but with the head of a kangaroo and a splash of Zebra stripes across its back. In other words, it was adorable and weird (but in a cool way). Too bad then that your chances of seeing one are literally zero because we did such a fine job of wiping it out. You’ll have to settle for the Tasmanian Devil instead.

Winters can be very, very cold

If you head down to the Port of Hobart during winter, you’ll probably see the Aurora Australis, an icebreaker ship that makes regular expeditions to the Antarctic Circle. In fact, Hobart is a gateway to East Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, because of how close they are. And because of how close they are, Hobart itself is also very cold during winter, with temperatures frequently dipping below zero and nearby Mount Wellington usually crowned with a cap of snow.

Rent and cost of living in Hobart

The good

You get to live in Hobart!

The bad

As of May 2018, Hobart is the most expensive capital city in Australia for renters. According to a report by National Shelter Community Sector Banking and SGS Economics and Planning, Hobart scores lower than even Sydney and Melbourne on housing affordability, with tenants spending an average of 29 per cent of their wages on rent. Coupled with low wage growth, and the fact that people in Hobart already earn an average of $30,000 less per year than Sydney residents, the affordability crisis is causing middle-income earners to experience undue financial pressure.

As a result, housing affordability is fast becoming a central (and controversial) issue in Tasmanian politics. A separate study, published by Domain in April 2018, found that houses in Hobart have a median weekly asking rent of $420, while apartments have a median weekly asking rent of $350: these figures represent an increase (over the prior twelve months) of 15.1% and 14.8% respectively, making Hobart the capital city in which rental prices are growing at the fastest rate.

Key resources

How much will I spend on everyday purchases in Hobart?

According to the price aggregation website Numbeo, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant in Hobart will set you back, on average, $16; one litre of milk is $1.18; one kilogram of bananas is $3.46; a monthly public transport ticket (for an adult) is $46.75; an adult movie ticket is $19; and a monthly gym membership is $48.36. According to the June 2018 Consumer Price Index report, the main contributors to current increases in Hobart’s CPI are the rising costs of sports participation (+22.4%), domestic holiday travel (+3.1%) and tobacco (+2.8%).

Where in Hobart should I live?

The City of Hobart contains about 18 suburbs (click the link for a helpful map), each with a unique vibe and that may (or may not) match your interests. For example, the pricey streets of Battery Point, a suburb on the water near the centre of Hobart, contain many a comfortable home for those who can afford to live amongst the upper-middle-class. In North Hobart, a hub of bookstores and restaurants, you’ll find Hobart’s younger, hipper and politically active crowd: think Newtown in Sydney or Fitzroy in Melbourne.

Other popular areas include South Hobart, a comparatively affordable area in the shadow of Mt Wellington; West Hobart, which boasts many federation-style houses with commanding views of the Derwent River (often because of the steep hills on which they’re built); and Sandy Bay, a diverse community south of the CBD that is home to several of Hobart’s beaches.

Tips for choosing a place to live

The question of where you should live in a new city (or the one you already call home) is not a trivial one: in fact, copious amounts of research has shown that where you live can have marked impact on measures of satisfaction, well-being, and mental health. The effects are seen when one switches cities or suburbs, and can even reflect how close one lives to a main road or busy intersection.

As a result, experts advise people to consider their options carefully before relocating. To give yourself the best chance of being satisfied with your address, you should choose a suburb where your income is at least as high as the median income; minimise the length of your commute; aim, if appropriate, to put off moving again for as long as possible; consider how a new address will impact the accessibility of parks, gardens and other restorative natural environments; and, whenever possible, choose locations where you will be able to embed yourself more easily in a social network (for example, by living close to other young professionals), supportive communities, and people with similar interests or cultural concerns.

Of course, moving house brings with it a large number of practical considerations, many of which will be unique to you and your interests. The following questions are intended to provide some clarity as you research your options and navigate the inevitable compromises of renting life:

  1. Where is the suburb?
  2. How valuable to you are space and privacy?
  3. Do you prefer city, suburban, or rural environments?
  4. Do you own a car? If not, is there reliable public transport (or safe cycleways)?
  5. How will your choice of suburb affect commuting times?
  6. Is it important for you to be near good restaurants? Fresh food markets? Beaches?
  7. What’s your budget?
  8. Where do you work?
  9. How long do you plan to live in your next house?
  10. Do you need a big outdoor area?
  11. Do you enjoy solitude or would you prefer to be nearer to the nightlife?
  12. Is it important for you to live somewhere with a strong sense of local community?
  13. Would you like to live close to a shopping centre? A local library? A swimming pool? A train station?
  14. Have you considered how you might build (or maintain) social connections when you move? Will the suburb you choose affect this?
  15. Can you learn more about the suburb to determine whether or not you’d be a good cultural fit for the area?
  16. What’s the local arts and culture scene like? Is this very important to you?
  17. Are there any local parks, reserves, or other open spaces?
  18. What’s the local crime rate like?
  19. Will you have adequate broadband and mobile coverage?
  20. How does your suburb compare to other suburbs? (NB: This can be one of the hardest questions to answer when you’re new to an area. If possible, it’s always best to ask a trusted local for their opinion.)

Elizabeth Street Pier Hobart

How do I find flats, apartments, or a room in a sharehouse? What about flatmates?

There are a variety of tools that you can use to look for accommodation and flatmates in Hobart, some of which are free with basic features (like Gumtree) and others of which charge a fee. Some of the more popular options include:

If you’re on Facebook, it can also be helpful to check whether or not there are any groups for individuals looking to rent or share in different regions of Hobart.

The job market for graduates in Hobart

According to data from the most recent census (in 2016), the largest industries in Hobart are healthcare and social assistance, public administration and safety, education and training, accommodation and food services, retail trade, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The dominance of the health industry is due largely to the importance of Royal Hobart Hospital, and the convergence in Hobart of medical specialists who service people from across Tasmania. As the capital of Tasmania, Hobart also employs a significant portion of the population (15.9%) in public administration.

In 2018, the Labour Market Information Portal reported that employment growth of the previous five years had been much lower than the national average. Moreover, employment growth between 2018 and 2022 is expected to hover at around 5.6%, which is below the national average of 7.8%.

September 2018 study assessed the difficulty of entering the workforce in Tasmania using what experts call the internet vacancy index (IVI), which takes into account the number of job vacancies newly lodged on three online recruitment sites each month (SEEK, CareerOne and Australian JobSearch). In September, the IVI for Tasmania was 60.1 (out of a total of 100), which indicated a 12-month increase of 17.1 percent. About a quarter of the new vacancies were for professionals.

When it comes to graduates specifically, the outlook is increasingly positive across the nation, with ‘71.8% of bachelor degree graduates finding full-time employment after graduating in 2017, up from the recent low of 68.1% in 2014’. The most recent Graduate Outcomes Survey (published by the Social Research Centre) confirms that, in 2017, ‘71.8 percent of undergraduates were in full-time employment four months after completing their degree’.  

What do graduates in Tasmania earn?

Hobart offers professional graduates salaries that are, on average, slightly lower than in other Australian capital cities. The following average salaries are taken from the 2018 Hays Salary Guide, which itself draws on a survey of 3,000 businesses in Australia and New Zealand that together employ some 2.3 million people. We’ve included a representative sample of salaries for popular graduate occupations: if yours isn’t listed, consult the GradAustralia website for more information. Note that the average salaries below exclude superannuation.

Role

Average salary                (first year)

Average salary (2-4 years)
Accountant $40,000-50,000 $50,000-65,000
Architect $49,000-55,000 N/A
Business services $36,000-40,000 $46,000-55,000
Civil/structural engineer $60,000-80,000 Unavailable
Entry-level design engineer $50,000-60,000 $60,000-80,000
Metallurgist $55,000-70,000 $120,000-135,000
Mining engineer $70,000-100,000 $75,000-100,000
Physiotherapist $45,000-52,000 $55,000-70,000
Psychologist $44,000-50,000 $65,000-80,000
Teacher (government school) $65,000-98,000

$95,000-105,000  (head of department)   

$126,000-160,000 (deputy principal)                     

$140,000-400,000 (principal)        

Teacher (private school) $70,000-110,000

$110,000-126,000 (head of department)                 

$112,000-132,000 (deputy principal)               

$112,000-185,000 (principal)

 

Lifestyle in Hobart

Shopping in Hobart

Hobart offers a shopping experience that combines traditional retail outlets with vibrant outdoor markets that celebrate Tasmania’s culture, crafts, and local produce. For groceries and other conventional retail purchases, Hobart offers Eastlands, which is the largest shopping centre in Tasmania. For more leisurely shopping, Hobart’s alleys and laneways contain boutique clothes outlets, local arts and crafts stores, and much more. To help visitors (and locals) plan their own pedestrian shopping adventures, the City of Hobart recently launched ‘Hello Hobart’, a directory of shops across the CBD.

Of course, if you’re living in Hobart and love to shop, you have an obligation to yourself to visit Hobart’s famous markets. The best-known is the Salamanca Market, which is held every Saturday in Salamanca Place, next to the Hobart waterfront. For fresh seasonal produce, check out the Farm Gate Market, held every Sunday morning on Bathurst St, between Murray and  Elizabeth streets (you can visit the website for a regularly updated list of fruits and vegetables in season).

Hobart suburb with view to Mount Wellington

Eating in Hobart

Hobart’s restaurants are clustered around the suburbs of Salamanca and North Hobart, with other hidden gems scattered across the city. Local favourites include Peacock and Jones (a waterfront restaurant that focuses on Tasmanian produce); Urban Greek (which offers late-night food in a casual setting); Small-fry Hobart (for great coffee and breakfasts); and Sawak for fresh Malaysian food. If you’re looking for a special place to share a meal with friends, check out this list of the best restaurants in Hobart by Gourmet Traveller magazine. And if you’d like to enjoy a drink afterwards, this list of the best bars in Hobart will point you in the right direction.

Arts and culture in Hobart

The Museum of New and Old Art has become Hobart’s number one tourist destination, with visitors flocking to see the bizarre collection of artworks, costumes, and other quirky mise-en-scène curated by the museum’s eccentric multimillionaire founder David Walsh.

However, MONA isn’t the only special Hobart experience that awaits connoisseurs of arts and culture. For example, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery has a range of engaging exhibits, including one that details Tasmania’s special relationship with the history of Antarctic exploration. Alternatively, you can visit the Salamanca Precinct to enjoy smaller establishments such as Despard Gallery, Salamanca Arts Centre, Handmark Gallery and the Colville Street Art Gallery.

The main cultural venues in Hobart are the Theatre RoyalThe PlayhouseFederation Concert Hall, and the Peacock Theatre. To find out what’s on, including bracing performances by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, visit the Arts Tasmania guide.

Day trips around Hobart

One of the best things about living in Hobart is that (most) of Tasmania is just a day-trip away. So, if you’re looking to explore, here are some ideas of where to go:

  • Freycinet Peninsula and National Park: a two-and-a-half hour drive away from Hobart, Freycinet National Park is a pristine haven for wombats, wallabies, echidnas,  and tourists. You can take a swim at Wineglass Bay (voted Australia’s most beautiful beach) or go on a hike (you’ll find maps here).
  • Port Arthur: a one-and-a-half hour drive away from Hobart, Port Arthur is Australia’s best-preserved convict site, the ruins of which include a large church and a convict insane asylum. You can take a daytime walking tour (or a night-time ghost tour), learn about Australia’s convict history, and pay tribute to the victims of Australia’s worst mass shooting (the 1996 Port Arthur massacre).
  • Mt Field National Park: a 70 minute drive from Hobart, Mt Field National Park contains a series of waterfalls, an abundance of hiking trails, and some of the tallest trees in the world.

Beautiful view of Wineglass Bay beach located in Freycinet National Park

Meeting people in Hobart

Making good friends when you move to a new city is important for your happiness, sense of belonging, and overall mental health. This guide contains a helpful guide with general tips on how to create and maintain healthy friendships. Straight up though? The best way to meet people in Hobart (or anywhere else, for that matter) is to walk around with a particularly cute dog. If that’s not possible, then here are some other things you can try:

Getting around Hobart

For public transport, Hobart relies on a dense network of public buses overseen by MetroTas. You can view timetables and maps on this page. Calculating fares can be a bit tricky in Hobart, so the easiest (and most cost-effective) approach is to purchase a Greencard, which allows you to tap on and off when riding public buses and also offers a 20 percent discount on all fares.

Tasmania as a whole is a beautiful place for cycling, so if you’ve got a bike, you should definitely check out the rides suggested by community groups like the Bicycle Network Tasmania. While Hobart can be tricky for cyclists (some areas are quite hilly), a new transport strategy aims to encourage increased cycling. Use the link on this page to download a handy map of cycling routes throughout the city.

Finally, there mightn’t be a better city in Australia for simply walking from place to place. You can find a collection of walking guides here.

Don’t forget!

We’ve covered the big things that you’ll want to know before moving to Hobart, but it’s important to remember the little things too. Here’s a quick list of resources that will help you make sure that you’ve covered everything.

Legal resources

After moving to Hobart, you’ll need to change your enrolment address and also, if necessary, update your driver’s license with the Tasmanian government. If you move into shared or rented accommodation, it’s advisable that you lodge your bond with the Rental Deposit Authority. If you require legal advice, you can access free support through Legal Aid Tasmania or the Hobart Community Legal Service.

Health resources

Moving cities can be hard—you’ll have to adapt to a new job, new accommodation, and a new environment, all while building a social network far from the one you left behind. If you require support through the transition, or as a result of other life events, don’t hesitate to avail yourself of free (or affordable) resources dedicated to mental health. These include Lifelineheadspace, and various local organisations. For other health services, including a directory of hospitals and clinics, visit the Tasmanian Department of Health website.

Financial resources

Need help opening a new bank account? Managing your superannuation? Making a budget? Check out this list of free financial literacy courses, access free advice via the national debt helpline, or use the ASIC Money Smart tool to find a trusted financial counsellor in your area.

Other useful resources