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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