How to Winter like a Local in Tasmania
The Gardens, Bay of Fires Conservation Area / Lisa Kuilenburg
Ever wondered why Tasmanians look so chuffed as winter closes in? It's during the cooler months that Tassie really heats up and the fun starts. Layer up, head out for long nights and celebrate the season.
Escape the crowds
Officially, Tasmania's winter runs from June until August, but the island state has never been one to follow the rules: snow can fall as early as April and as late as September. Take the opportunity to explore when the crowds die down in winter. Deserted east coast beaches and walking tracks are yours alone.
Make for snow-covered landscapes
Head to a mountain summit for a snowball fight. In Hobart, kunanyi/Mount Wellington performs its winter magic minutes from the city. One moment it’s under a layer of cloud, the next it emerges covered in snow. Climb winding mountain roads for a day of snow play at Ben Lomond in the north or explore Lake Dobson at Mount Field National Park in the south. Follow the path around the lake and afterwards wrap your hands around a mug of hot chocolate at the café, nestled in the mountain’s foothills. If its wilderness you seek, head to Tarraleah or Cradle Mountain – winter is when the magic happens in the highlands.
Winter festivals that get Tassie fired up
Dark Mofo brings everyone out into the streets to see interactive art installations and take part in centuries-old rituals. Join in the Nude Swim, cremate the ogoh ogoh and eat a delicious Winter Feast of whole beasts and hot spiced gin. Mona Foma might be over in the north, but Launceston’s Mofo Sessions are only warming up at the Design Centre every second Sunday. Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival celebrates the valley’s apple trees in pagan tradition. Turn up in wassailing attire, bang your pots and pans, and hug hot cider around outdoor fire pots. Tasmanian Whisky Week lures whisky lovers to taste unreleased whiskies and meet the distillers. The Festival of Voices Big Sing brings people together around a huge bonfire to sing loudly in public. The Bay of Fires Winter Arts Festival takes place in June over the long weekend. Follow the art trail to meet Tasmanian artists and pick up art at studio prices, browse art markets, turn up to workshops and listen to live music.
Walk in the wild
You'll find plenty of short walks across the island, and in winter you'll have the tracks mostly to yourself. Remote wilderness treks are best left to experienced walkers in winter. Whichever walk you choose, be sure to plan, prepare and walk safely.
Chill at a local
Don't just cope with winter, revel in it. Head to a bar, pub or eatery and enjoy the warmth of great company. In Hobart, the New Sydney warms the soul with open wood fires and live music. Feast on local venison and cherry pie at Mountain Mumma in Sheffield, or choose a red wine to enjoy by the fire at Tasmanian Wine and Food in Stanley. Lounge fireside with a whisky at Henry's Bar in Launceston. Charge your glasses at Hamer's Bar and Grill in Strahan, or tuck yourself away on the east coast in Bicheno at The Farm Shed enjoying wine, gin and whisky tastings.
Learn the art of layering
Pack warm light layers: thermals and a puffer jacket will do nicely. Keep toes toasty in sheepskin boots and hit weekend markets to pick up locally knitted mittens, beanies, socks and scarves. If you prefer stylish winter layers take a look inside boutique stores like Smitten Merino in Battery Point or The Maker at Salamanca Place.
Take it easy on the roads
Jason Charles Hill
When driving at dawn and dusk, you're sharing the roads with our furry friends. They don't hibernate in winter, so take it slow and steady. Build in extra time in wet or icy weather: an ideal excuse for stops to explore or sip hot chocolate.
So how do you get here?
Jason Charles Hill
Getting to Tasmania is easy. Hop on a flight from most major Australian cities to Launceston, Hobart, Burnie or Devonport. Keen to bring your car across? The Spirit of Tasmania sails from Melbourne to Devonport.
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