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
Make merry in pagan tradition among the apple trees at the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival 12-14 July. Witness the burning of a two-storey effigy named Big Willie and join wassailers to scare evil spirits from apple orchards. There will be large-scale bonfires, wild feasting, live music and plenty of hot gin and cider to warm the belly. Stay in the Huon Valley and take part in all the winter festivities. At the Festival of Voices take part in The Big Sing around a bonfire under the stars, or get cosy with 1000 strangers and sing your heart out at the Pub Choir in City Hall. August lures whisky lovers to the island for Tasmanian Whisky Week. Prepare for tastings of unreleased whiskies and meetings with distillers at cellar doors not ordinarily open to the public.
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 or wool shops to pick up locally knitted mittens, beanies, socks and scarves. If you prefer stylish winter layers take a look inside some of the smaller boutique stores.
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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