If you are in Hobart on a Saturday, don't miss the Salamanca Market, in Salamanca Place -- it's one of the best markets in Australia. Some 200 stalls offer everything from fruit and vegetables to crafts made from pottery, glass, and native woods. The market is open from 8:30am to 3pm.
Salamanca Place has plenty of crafts shops that are worth exploring, though the prices sometimes reflect the fashionable area. Pop into the Tasmania Shop & Gallery, 65 Salamanca Place (tel. 03/6223 5022; www.tasmaniashopgallery.com.au). This is a cut above your normal souvenir shop, offering innovative and interesting mementos and artworks by Tasmanian artists and designers, including glassware, textiles, jewelry, and sculptures.
There are plenty of other interesting shops and small galleries here and in the surrounding streets. On Hunter Street, on the other side of the marina from Salamanca Place and next to the Henry Jones Art Hotel, you will find Art Mob (tel. 03/6236 9200; www.artmob.com.au), where you can buy Aboriginal fine art at reasonable prices. Director Euan Hills will happily give advice on what you are looking at, without pressure to buy, and will also impart other tips for your stay in Hobart. The gallery specializes in works by Tasmanian Aboriginal artists, including paintings, prints, jewelry, and baskets.
Hours for most stores are Monday through Thursday from 9am to 6pm, Friday from 9am to 9pm, and Saturday from 9am to noon (though some are open all day).
Book Ends -- The best bookshop in town is a beauty; it sells a large range of new and secondhand books, many relating to Tasmania. Find the Hobart Bookshop at 22 Salamanca Sq. (tel. 03/6223 1803). For some good reading on Tasmania, among my favorites is In Tasmania, by Nicholas Shakespeare, a blend of Tasmania's history and future and the author's discovery of his own convict heritage. For a different take on convict history, Closing Hell's Gates: The Death of a Convict Station, by Tasmanian writer Hamish Maxwell-Stewart gives an insight into life on the notorious Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour. Ronnie, Tasmanian Songman, by Aboriginal elder Ronnie Summers, tells the story of growing up on Cape Barren Island and a life sharing the traditions of Cape Barren music (it comes with a music CD). For those interested in nature, Where to See Wildlife in Tasmania by Dave Watts and Cathie Plowman is an easy to use full-color guide to spotting Tasmania's unique fauna.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.