There’s nowhere else in Australia that embraces winter quite like Tasmania. As temperatures drop and nights get long, the island comes alive in its most wild state. From long-table feasts and burning festivals to sub-zero plunges and dark sky explorations, the off season in Tasmania is open to just about anything.
To help you plan your winter retreat to Tasmania, we’ve handpicked five happenings in each region of the State that will refuel your soul and light up your 2022 off season.
Hobart & South
- Participate in a wassail ceremony
At the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival, join on in the wassail: the tradition of scaring evil spirits from the orchard to bring on a bumper crop. Enjoy barrel-aged cider, a slow-cooked feast, ember hot tubs, the burning of ‘Big Willie’, and of course the wassail at this winter festival.
- Stargaze from kunanyi/Mt Wellington
Explore the dark winter skies and southern stars with Walk on kunanyi from kunanyi/Mt Wellington. Starting with the Moon and solar system before looking out further to the milky way and deep space, you’ll get to know the dark skies better than ever before.
- Spend a winter’s night in the wilderness
Grab your favourite beanie and take a flight into the remote wilderness of Southwest Tasmania for two days of exploration with Par Avion. You’ll stay overnight at the Southwest Wilderness Camp where you’ll enjoy fine Tasmanian produce and wine beneath the clear winter skies.
- Capture the Three Capes Track at night
Join nature photographer Luke Tscharke on a 4-day Nature and Night Photography tour along the Three Capes Track. Only taking place at the height of winter, you’ll wander through the night and discover how to capture nature at its finest.
- Explore Tasmania’s ancient forests
Breathe in fresh mountain air on the Forests of the Deep South Ecology Tour. This day adventure takes you deep into the south of Tasmania, so you can experience the unexpected beauty of the forests during winter.
Launceston & North
- Feast in a paddock, long-table style
Enjoy a long table, four course feast at Fork It Farm in Lebrina. Celebrating the infinite delight of the pig’s head this winter, it’ll be a feast for the senses paired with local Tasmanian wine and cider.
- Snowboard/Ski at Ben Lomond
Only one hour from Launceston, head to Ben Lomond Snow Sports to experience snow in Tasmania. During the day, you can ski, snowboard, toboggan, and more before warming up with some hot food at the café.
- Experience wild caves
Head underground and explore two of Tasmania’s undeveloped caves on a Wild Winter Water Caves adventure. These subterranean realms come back to life in the off-season, greeting you with reflection pools and cave waterfalls, sunken moss and fern gardens.
- Go mountain biking in Derby
Tackle the 3-Day Blue Derby Pods Ride, riding through the world-acclaimed Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails Network. Warm up each night with a gourmet meal made from local Tasmanain produce before you retreat back to your architecturally-designed Pod.
- Explore Cataract Gorge
On a Cataract Gorge Cultural Tour, you’ll explore the Gorge, participate in a Welcome to Country ceremony, and hear stories and insight into rich Aboriginal culture before visiting The First Tasmanians exhibition at the Queen Victoria Art Gallery.
- Join the Maria Island Brass Monkeys Swim Club
Earn lifetime membership into the Maria Island Brass Monkeys Swim Club by fully submerging yourself under the surface of the crystal clear, mind-numbingly cold waters surrounding Maria Island this winter.
- Build your own wine tasting paddle
Only offered during the winter, create your own wine paddle at Devil’s Corner. Located in the East Coast wilderness, you can build your paddle, soak up the views, and taste some of the finest wine on island time.
- Explore first nations culture at wukalina/Mt William National Park and larapuna/Bay of Fires
As temperatures drop and nights get longer, embark on a 3-day/2-night wukalina Walk Off Season thiyana/winter experience. Take part in cultural activities, such as clap-stick making and shell stringing, and try bush tucka and traditional foods.
- Explore the East Coast by cruise
Embark on a 5-day On Board Tasmanian Expedition Cruise showcasing the very best of Tasmania’s East Coast. Only offered during the winter cruises, you’ll also learn to shuck your own oysters during a picnic on a private island.
- Stay on a private island
This winter, enjoy a private island getaway at Picnic Island. Adjacent to Freycinet National Park, you can water taxi to enjoy the attractions of the area before heading back to the island for private activities including cooking, hiking, kayaking, and more.
West & North West
- See snow at Cradle Mountain
While Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park is popular year-round, winter is particularly stunning. Whether you want to brave the Overland Track or explore shorter walking trails, you’re likely to see snow-covered landscapes.
- Visit Hogarth Falls
During the winter, rainfall is plenty on the West Coast making it the perfect season to see Hogarth Falls at its most roaring state. Visit Tracks On Point for a post-trek cider and warm pudding.
- Take a lantern tour at Sarah Island
Take a nighttime Sarah Island Lantern Tour and learn about the island’s chilling convict history. You’ll listen to tales of fear and dread while beating the chill with a taste of Tasmanian whisky, gin, or beer and a feast of delicious hot food.
- Photograph the wild west coast
Go on a photography trip of a lifetime and capture the west coast this winter. Photographer Alfonso Calero will be your guide, taking you to hand-selected locations, including Arthur River, Strahan, Corinna, Pieman River, Arthur Lake and the Tarkine.
- Visit Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park
Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park becomes even more wild in winter. With more rain than the warmer seasons, you’ll run into thundering waterfalls and roaring rivers while you explore the region’s dramatic landscapes.
Tasmania Winter Travel Tips
What to wear
On a winter trip to Tasmania, you can expect chilly temperatures, rain, wind and possibly a touch of snow. The key to staying comfortable is layering, so you can bundle up during the cold mornings and night and take off layers as needed during sunny days.
If you’re planning on participating in outdoor activities, you’ll also want to make sure you pack your beanies, scarves, warm socks, and hiking boots. To protect from the rain, you’ll want to pack a decent rain jacket that can handle the snow.
In areas like Cradle Mountain, Ben Lomond, Mt Wellington, and the Central Highlands, you may run into snow-covered or icy roads on a visit between April and October. You may also come across icy roads anywhere around the state – especially sections of road that are covered by shade during the day, so stay vigilant.
Here are some tips for safe winter driving:
- Use your headlights
- Reduce speed
- Stay well behind the car in front of you
- Pay attention to hazardous condition warning signs
- Ensure your tyres are in good condition
- Be alert for black ice
- Watch out for wildlife, especially at dawn or dusk
If you’re setting out on a bushwalk in Tasmania’s winter, you need to take some extra care to stay safe.
Stay Hydrated: Drink enough fluids, even though you may not be as thirsty as you would be during a hot summer day.
Sleep Warm: It’s a good idea to invest in a sleeping bag liner for some extra warmth during cold nights.
Prepare for Short Days: At the peak of winter, the set can set at 5pm and not rise again until 7:30am. Make sure you keep this in mind and bring a torch with you.
Pack a Tent: If you’re on a multi-day hike like the Overland Track, there will often be warm huts to sleep in at the end of a hard day’s walk. But sometimes the weather will change and you might not be able to keep walking to the next hut, so you should always carry an adequate tent that can stand up to the conditions. Even if you are only on a day walk, you should carry a tent – just in case.