Winter like a local

Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival - Nick Rains

Winter like a local

The insider's off season

Tasmanians embrace winter. We don’t suffer the cold and the dark – we live for it. Do like the locals do – layer up and throw yourself into festivals and feasts, gather around fires, bask in the warmth. Walk further, dance harder. Come join us.

Night views

Darkness can be dazzling in Tasmania, where long winter nights, the absence of light pollution and the island’s southerly latitude create black backdrops to glittering displays of stars. Even better, Tasmania is one of the few places in the world to witness the Aurora Australis, aka the Southern Lights, and its beguiling curtains of colour. Glittering night-sky locations and experiences:

Celebrate winter

We don’t endure winter, we embrace it. Rug up and join us at winter events ranging from celebrations of voice and theatre to whisky and darker spirits. Top mid-year festivals and events:

  • Agfest in the Paddock, Carrick, 5-8 May 2021
  • Australian Musical Theatre Festival, Launceston, 19-23 May 2021
  • Dark Mofo, Hobart, 16-22 June 2021
  • Festival of Voices, 30 June-11 July 2021
  • Huon Valley Mid Winter Festival, 16-17 July 2021
  • Tasmanian Whisky Week, 9-15 August 2021
  • Junction Arts Festival, Launceston, 1-5 September 2021

Class acts

Thinking hats on. There’s a quality to a Tasmanian winter that encourages introspection and the gentle pursuit of knowledge and skills. Stay warm in the kitchen and improve your culinary skills at a range of cooking schools – from cheesemaking and sourdough baking to multi-course prepping. Stay curious at these classes:

Dress the part

The surest way to blend in during a Tasmanian winter is to dress like a local. Puffer jackets (typically black) are ubiquitous enough that Tasmanians have coined a nickname for them – the Tassie tuxedo – while woollen beanies top off the winter wardrobe and are best seen while you’re soaking in a steaming outdoor bath.

Beer with the locals

When the mercury drops, the atmosphere inside Tasmanian pubs warms up. Whether it’s an old-fashioned boozer or a craft-beer taproom, there are pubs across the island filled with good times and friendly locals. Popular local drinking dens:

Lift the bar

The fire is roaring, or the heating is set to toasty – step inside and you’ll discover that Tasmanian wine bars and spirit dens are as welcoming as they are warming. These are perfect places to taste Tasmania’s renowned whiskies, gins, vodkas and cool-climate wines. Settle into one of these cosy bars:

Jump in

There’s a long tradition of year-round ocean and river swimming in Tasmania – with or without wetsuits. The habit certainly doesn’t pause in midwinter, when a collective dip in the River Derwent has become an eye-popping local ritual. Join the nude winter solstice swim –yes, nude – on 22 June as part of Dark Mofo festivities. Don’t let modesty or a little frost on the breath hold you back. (Book ahead, places are limited.)

Cradle Mountain - Luke Tscharke

Inside the Off Season

"Tasmania’s weather is famously variable, and winter has its own take on this. With low sun and clear air - sometimes crystalline and frosty, sometimes dramatic and stormy - the light can be perfect for photography."

Grant Dixon, photographer and author of Winter Light