Winter with adventure in Tasmania

Cradle Mountain - Matthew Donovan

Winter with adventure

The energetic off season

Wintertime is play time in Tasmania, when snow transforms the mountains, winter swells rattle the coast and heartwarming adventures beckon.

Snow play

The fun begins when winter ices the tops of Tasmania’s mountains. There’s downhill skiing on the slopes of Ben Lomond and Mount Field national parks, and Mount Field also offers toboggan excitement around and above Lake Dobson. When snow covers kunanyi/Mount Wellington behind Hobart, the slopes become populated with snowmen – join the local tradition and build a snowman on the bonnet of your car before driving back to the city.

Winter walks

Imagine the thrill of peering across a Tasmanian alpine lake to a snow-frosted mountain, or standing atop ocean cliffs hundreds of metres high in a blast of winter wind. So many of Tasmania’s trails remain accessible through winter – walkers on the multi-day Three Capes Track, for example, can expect some of its finest moments in the colder months, with dark and dazzling night skies and booming winter swells against the backdrop of Australia’s tallest sea cliffs. Top winter walks include:

Winter wildlife

Who hibernates? Tasmania’s native wildlife isn’t daunted by a flurry of snow, as a winter walk along trails at Dove Lake and Ronny Creek, both in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, can quickly reveal. On the sunny side of the island, wombats and a host of fascinating creatures wander blithely about the lawns and clearings on Maria Island. Wildlife sanctuaries and experiences across the state offering encounters with hairy Tasmanians include:

Truffle hunting

There are buried treasures in Tasmania  that can be unearthed only in winter. The truffle harvest begins when frosts draw out the distinctive aroma of the fungi, and there are tours that follow trained truffle dogs on the hunt. Follow up with a harvest lunch, of course. Extend the fun at a pair of farmstay cottages at The Truffledore, or in a three-night truffle indulgence at Stillwater Seven. Join the harvest at:

Off-piste adventures

Take snow-covered peaks, towering forests and wind-whipped islands, mix with convict tales as dark as the winter night, and chill. It’s the recipe for Off Season adventures in Tasmania. Whether exploring the Central Plateau on foot and e-bike, wandering beneath some of the world’s tallest trees, ascending into the forest canopy through blasts of Antarctic air, or cruising to a lantern-lit evening in one of the fiercest prisons ever devised, there’s whisky, mulled wine or fireside meals waiting on adventures including:

Tee off

With their open links layouts, Tasmania’s top golf courses promise a true winter challenge. Across the island’s north, four courses have been rated in the top 13 in Australia. And near the town of Bothwell, gateway to the Central Highlands, is the oldest golf course in Australia and the oldest still in existence outside Scotland. Top courses include:

Underworld

Whatever the weather, there are places in Tasmania where the temperature never varies and conditions are always fine. Descend into one of the island’s many caves, where temperatures hover at about nine degrees year-round, for a full suite of underground features: stalactites, stalagmites, straws, crystals, glow worms. Or if you simply want a sense of the vastness of the Tasmanian underworld, take a short walk to the mouth of the Junee Caves system – home to Australia’s deepest cave – outside the southern town of Maydena. Find impressive caves at:

Flights of fancy

Take to the skies for a view across a winter wonderland, whether it be snow-covered mountains or wave-pounded coasts. Across Tasmania there are year-round flightseeing opportunities by plane and helicopter – head into the Southwest Wilderness for a day, chopper past Cradle Mountain, or hop between warming distilleries and wineries. Top aerial tours include:

Mountain biking

The dust has settled on Tasmania’s position as one of the world’s great mountain-biking destinations, and winter weather dampens the dust to create smooth and slick riding conditions across much of the trail network. Head for the state’s lower, drier trails and the riding is as good as at any time of the year. Top trails and rides include:

Aurora Australis - Dietmar Kahles

Inside the off season

“Wilderness walking in Tasmania is really special, especially now. The crisp air, soft winter light and starry nights make for superb winter walking.”

Davis Hinton, Maria Island Walk