Find your natural high in Tasmania's winter snow.
“Woah…check out that huge white mountain behind Hobart!” If the Off Season weather gods have been smiling, Hobart’s 1271m-high kunanyi / Mount Wellington will be cloaked in winter snow when you arrive. The white stuff comes and goes here through the winter months, but accessible snow in a capital city backyard still scores some serious Off Season points.
Tasmania’s alpine heights catch plenty of Off Season snow. On a clear winter’s day, flying in from the mainland, you’ll look down on snowy peaks right across the central highlands.
This isn’t to say that there’s much of a ski scene here: don’t expect the infrastructure of Falls Creek, Mount Hotham or Thredbo. And it only snows at sea level here once in a while (cause for much celebration). But finding inspiration in Tasmania’s snowy winter wilds is a rite-of-passage for the Off Season community.
Suck in the cold air – breathe in, breathe out... Find your natural high – centred, pure, cold and alive. Here’s how to do it.
Where to get snowy
Around 90 minutes from Hobart is Mount Field National Park. Along with Freycinet on the east coast, it’s Tasmania’s oldest national park (1916). Check-in at the visitor centre and plan a snowy bushwalk past glacial tarns, frost-dusted cushion plants and ice-crusted pandani.
Lofty Ben Lomond National Park, an hour south of Launceston, is your best bet for semi-serious skiing and tobogganing. Or head for the north west, where Cradle Mountain is particularly epic when cloaked in snow and reflected in mirror-flat Dove Lake. The new viewing shelter here frames the scene perfectly.
But the easiest snow to access is on kunanyi / Mount Wellington behind Hobart. Check how far up Pinnacle Rd you can drive on the Hobart City Council website, and survey the snow in advance via their snow-cam.
Or just drive into the central highlands and see what you can see. The sealed Highland Lakes Rd to Great Lake, heading north from Bothwell or south from Deloraine, will take you into Tasmania’s snowy heartland.
Essential gear for your snowy Off Season encounter includes a woolly jumper, beanie, scarf, gloves (go for something waterproof – woolly gloves get soggy), solid boots and a down-filled ‘Tassie Tuxedo’ puffer jacket (which almost goes without saying).
Build a snowman, make snow angels, excavate a snow cave and hurl some snowballs around. Construct a snow tower on the bonnet of your car then head downhill, watching it slowly melt until it slides off and explodes in a white flurry on the road.
Where else in Australia can you do this so easily? Nowhere else is where… Just make sure you check the weather forecast and have a look at our driving tips before you head out.
Tasmania has two ski fields: at Mount Mawson within Mount Field National Park, and at Ben Lomond National Park. When the weather is right, you can have some decent downhill fun here – or at the very least, mess around on a toboggan with the kids.
You can hire all the gear– skis, toboggans, poles, boots, pants, jackets, the whole shebang – from Ben Lomond Snow Sports in the north…plus book a shuttle up the nervous-making Jacob’s Ladder hairpin bends. At the volunteer-run Mount Mawson, it’s all DIY/BYO.
Cheeks flushed, skin tingling, eyes wide open and nose feeling like some kind of anatomical icicle… Come inside and warm up.
Swing by Lost Freight Cafe on kunanyi / Mount Wellington for a hot coffee and pie, or warm your bones by the fire at the earthy Fern Tree Tavern a bit further down the hill (pint of stout near-mandatory).
From Ben Lomond, head for the historic Clarendon Arms pub in nearby Evandale: rub your hands, breathe in the warm air and debrief with other snowy Off Seasoners around the fire.
The creative Off Season
What is it with cooler cities and creativity? Seattle, Tokyo, Manchester, Berlin…and you can add Hobart and Launceston to the list. Winter in Tasmania can spark your imagination and awaken your creativity. Stimulating, cathartic, expressive – let fly with clay, songs, paint and poems this Off Season.Read more
What's on this Off Season
Shake the mud off your Blundstones and loosen up – the Off Season is here. A host of eclectic and offbeat winter events kick-off across the state, guaranteed to spark your creativity and keep the chills at bay. Edgy, dark, provocative, seductive – this is gonna get interesting.Read more