10 Ways to Embrace a Tassie Winter
Festival of Voices / Lusy Productions
We revel in winter. Come and embrace the elements, feast with us, and join us as we sing loudly around the bonfire to each other and even the odd apple tree. Strange, unexpected, exhilarating or just a very different winter? You decide.
1. Walk in a winter wonderland
Winter transforms our island into otherworldly landscapes. In the west, it snows in the rainforests and oceans rage creating foam mountains along Ocean Beach. Explore the Enchanted Walk in a snow-covered forest at Cradle Mountain. Mt Field has its winter magic too, at Lake Dobson walk through a snow-dusted pandani forest on the Pandani Grove walk. Snowmelt swells our rivers making waterfalls flow fast – prepare for your hair to blow back.
2. Chase the southern lights
Join Aurora chasers drawn like moths to Tasmania's Southern Lights (Aurora Australis). The mysterious phenomena may or may not happen. Nobody knows. For your best chance, head away from the bright lights of the city, and look south towards Antarctica.
3. Sing to the apple trees
Natalie Mendham Photography
Think Tasmanians are a bit different? Wait till you see us wassailing, banging pots and singing to apple trees as we ward off evil spirits to ensure a bumper crop. We can't Pagan-explain everything here, but we do ask that you dress up and get bonfire-side with us for feasting, hot mulled cider and live tunes at the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival. Our apples depend on it.
4. Pair wine the Tassie way
Wine and food – it’s an obvious pair. But have you ever considered pairing your wine with a soothing soak at a day spa? In winter, Tasmanians turn to that which warms the soul. Pinot is a popular winter tipple. But we’re not asking you to sip it, we’re inviting you to soak in the stuff. You’ll harness all the benefits of a Tassie red as you bathe in the antioxidant-rich drop at the Lost Farm Day Spa. Ask for the vinotherapy bath treatment. Prefer to sink into a tub with a sparkling in hand? Take in views of Anderson’s Bay and the 15th hole from the spa perched overlooking the undulating dunes. A drive through the nearby Tamar Valley will deliver you to Clover Hill, Apogee, Jansz, Pipers Brook and House of Arras/Bay of Fires, a cluster of outstanding cellar doors where you can pick your favourite bottle of bubbles.
5. See wildlife in the snow
There is something rather endearing about a grazing wombat with snow-dusted fur. Wrapped in thick coats, our wildlife dress for the season. Head to Cradle Mountain’s Ronny Creek for a close encounter of the furry kind. Stay in a Mountain Valley log cabin and wait for Tasmanian devils to come out at night. These feisty furballs are just as active when it’s snowing outside. At Ben Lomond, Bennett’s wallabies, wombats and eastern quolls can be seen wandering about the ski village in the middle of the day. And don’t be surprised if the cheeky dusky antechinus, a small marsupial mouse, drops into your lodge for a visit.
6. Raise Your Spirits
Few places remain where spirits are made the old-fashioned way. In Tasmania, water runs off the mountains and whisky, gin and vodka are handcrafted slowly in copper stills all across the island. Discover a network of artisan distillers who are pioneers in their field creating unique blends adding never before used native botanicals and ingredients such as sheep’s whey. If that whets your appetite, join a gin workshop and whip up your own signature gin, meet characters and hear stories on a whisky trail or plan a trip for Tasmanian Whisky Week.
7. Go on a cosy roadtrip
Jason Charles Hill
Pull into farm gates, cellar doors and distilleries and gather comfort food, wine and spirits along the way. Journey the Western Wilds to witness raging waterfalls and brave wild coastlines. Explore the Great Eastern Drive to walk deserted beaches and spot Little penguins at night. At the end of your drive, pull in to a cosy stay, light a fire, and enjoy the bounty you've collected.
8. Meet your maker
In Tasmania, you’ll buy from the people who knit your woollies, craft your souvenirs and grow your produce. Pick out hand-knitted mittens at Salamanca Market. The Makers Workshop in Burnie is home to local paper makers, artists, wood turners and cheesemakers. Wake early on weekends to gather fresh produce from Hobart’s Farm Gate Market on Sundays and Launceston’s Harvest Market every Saturday. Rest and regroup to feast again on a Saturday evening, this time under twinkling lights at the Launceston Night Market in Civic Square. Tuck into warm comfort food prepared by local producers, listen to live music and sip local bevvies at the Night Market Bar.
9.Venture far south
Deep you go, below the forests of the far south, to caves that have formed over 40 million years. Discovered by timber workers in 1917 Hastings Caves is the largest dolomite cave in Australia you can see on tour. Take in the fairytale-like stalactites before soaking up the health benefits in the nearby thermal springs pool. Fresh water runs off the mountains, descends 1000 metres below the earth’s surface, where it’s heated before bubbling to the surface at a cosy and constant 28 degrees.
10. Wear a beanie in a bathtub
We're not a bunch of nudists. We wear beanies in our bathtubs. Pull yours on and slip into our steamy outdoor tubs. Snowflake-topped bath? Sink into the King Billy Suite's wooden outdoor tub with an audience of resident wallabies. Soak in a sweetly scented Huon pine bath at Rocky Hills Retreat or a picture-perfect outdoor bath on the deck at Thalia Haven. At Hatherley Birrell bathe in a tub carved from volcanic stone.
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