Winter in the south

Bathurst Harbour - Jason Charles Hill

Winter in Hobart and the south

Plunge into the Off Season at a winter festival, a mountain stargazing evening or a night in the wilderness.

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Tasmanian skies are dark and clear in the Off Season, creating a vast canvas for dazzling celestial scenes. Wander the slopes of kunanyi/Mount Wellington on a stargazing tour with Walk on kunanyi, guided by an expert from the Astronomical Society of Tasmania to view winter’s greatest sky show through telescopes and the naked eye.

Tasmanians don’t bunker down in winter, they get festive. Southern Tasmania’s roll-call of winter festivals includes Dark Mofo, and the Festival of Voices (30 June-11 July), a joyous celebration of the power of voice. Don your pagan best to wassail through the orchards and feast at the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival (16-17 July).

Embrace the Off Season’s wild side on a Wild Wellness Walk with the Three Capes Lodge Walk. The four-day walk traverses Australia’s highest sea cliffs, high above the unruly Southern Ocean, while experiencing the healing power of cold-water immersion and breathwork with Wim Hoff Method instructor Kym Burls, and journal writing with writer Alice Hansen.

Stare winter in the eye on a Night in the Wilderness trip with Par Avion, flying to remote Melaleuca and staying in a comfortable eco-camp on the shores of Bathurst Harbour at the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The days will bring exploration of the harbour by boat, and the star-spangled evening will be warmed by Tasmanian produce and wine.

Take a winter road trip through the Southern Edge, a journey of cider, caves and coast – the further south you drive, the closer the wild winter swells of the Southern Ocean.

Stay

Create a winter den at one of these southern stunners this Off Season. Poised atop Lake St Clair, Pumphouse Point takes full advantage of the snows and frost that cover the mountains and land around the lake. Return from an e-bike ride or a rowboat outing across the lake to the warmth of mulled wine by the fire and a dedicated winter menu. Then gather around the firepit for a Saturday night “fire feast” cooked on huge asado grills.

Take advantage of the Shrug Off Winter two-night specials at Free Spirit Pods to catch clear dark-sky views from the elevated decks of these waterside Bruny Island pods. If it gets chilly, there’s a fire, spiced mulled wine and hot chocolate waiting.

The snow-covered views of the Hartz Mountains are warmed by the open wood fire at Villa Talia. Book direct in the Off Season for a discount, or stay six nights to get your seventh night on the house. The villa offers free transfers to the winter feasts at nearby Fat Pig Farm.

In nearby Cygnet, find sleekly designed comfort and relaxation - a new sauna and outdoor hot tub - at Cygnet Retreat.

Eat and drink

The Off Season is the can-do season at the Port Cygnet Cannery. Think warming Saturday-night farm dinners, a courtyard firepit, four-course Sunday lunches sourced from the Cannery’s own farm, and a large wood-fired oven turning out Friday-night pizza.

Combine the comfort food of an Italian winter with glorious Tasmanian produce at a Winter Warmers Masterclass at the Farmhouse Kitchen in the Huon Valley. There’ll be minestrone on the stove, along with the likes of risotto and spezzatino, a traditional beef stew, ready for sharing.

The stars of the show at McHenry Distillery this Off Season aren’t just the whiskies, gins and vodkas; they’re also the stars themselves. With a new observatory built in a barley silo, McHenry offers the chance to stargaze at the dark winter sky, picking out distant galaxies, constellations, and perhaps even the beguiling colours of the Aurora Australis. Then settle into one of the distillery’s fire-warmed cabins with a dram or two.

Taste the state’s renowned liquid gold at Tasmanian Whisky Week (9-15 August). There are more than 50 distilleries on the island, most of them boutique and many award-winning, and this is the chance to meet the makers, tour their distilleries and hear their stories. Spirited events take place in venues ranging from intimate whisky bars to grand historic houses.