Apart from Mount Wellington and maybe the Tasman Bridge, the most prominent feature on the Hobart skyline is an octagonal tower standing on the Sandy Bay shoreline, just south of the Royal Tasmanian Yacht Club. At 64 m, this building is the tallest in Hobart. It’s also one of the city’s nightlife hubs. It’s the legendary Wrest Point Casino.
Originally, there was another hotel on the site. Built in 1939, the Wrest Point Riviera Hotel was a popular spot in town and became part of Federal Hotels in 1956. During the next decade, the hotel group, the oldest in Australia, wanted to attract more visitors to Tassie and they thought the best way to do this was to open a casino. The problem was that there had never been a legal casino anywhere in the country.
Not everyone thought a casino would be a good idea, though, so in 1968 a state referendum was held to ask the public how they felt. With a ‘yes’ vote of 53%, the casino was given a green light and construction of the new hotel and casino complex started. The grand opening was in 1973 and the Wrest Point Casino set the ball in motion for other casinos to open in Tasmania.
Today the complex offers a range of accommodation for different budgets, with the most luxurious rooms in the famous tower. At the top of this 17-floor structure is The Point Revolving Restaurant, where you can have lunch or high tea on Fridays and dinner on Tuesday to Saturday nights, all while enjoying stunning 360-degree views of Hobart.
The hotel and casino complex has several other dining options on offer too, including a waterfront restaurant and bar, a coffee shop and a bistro. There are a couple of bars too, one of which, the Birdcage Bar, has live music on most nights. Wrest Point regularly hosts spectacular shows and big-name acts and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra often performs here.
Other facilities at Wrest Point include a hair salon, a beauty salon, a convention centre and a private pier. There are sports facilities such as a gym, swimming pool, tennis court and mini golf too.
Of course the main reason for Wrest Point’s existence is the casino itself, Australia’s first. This is where you can be the high roller at the roulette wheel or blackjack table, put on your poker face or try and hit the jackpot at the gaming machines.