One of the common threads you’ll hear about living in Tasmania is that we have four distinct seasons… sometimes all in one day. Anyone who has visited will tell you there’s much more to winter in Tasmania than just the cold – and as the locals say, there’s no such thing as bad weather – only the wrong clothing.
With the distinct seasons come distinctive seasonal foods, events and activities. If you’re up to braving the cold, wintering in Tassie offers many unique opportunities for adventure and leisure that you can’t experience any other time of the year.
Snow, Skiing and Boarding in Tasmania in Winter
While snow at sea-level is a rare occurrence in Tasmania, there are ample opportunities to see snow during the colder months in some of the state’s alpine areas.
There are two ski fields in the state, located at Ben Lomond in the north-east, and Mt Mawson in the south. Mt Mawson, located in Mount Field National Park is a smaller ski field that requires a bit of bushwalking to access, while Ben Lomond is a larger field where snow sports enthusiasts can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing and tobogganing. There is also a regular shuttle bus which provides access to the ski village where you can relax and enjoy hot food and drinks after a big day on the slopes.
To stay warm while you ski, it’s ideal to have a base layer base layer that wicks the sweat off your skin and keeps you insulated – even if snow gets under your waterproof outerwear. Merino wool is a great choice, as it keeps you warm even if it gets wet, and offers much greater odour control than synthetic base layers. Professional snowboard instructor, Alex Parsons, swears by Bluey Merino as a great base layer layer to stay warm while snowboarding.
Beyond the ski fields, Tasmania’s Central Highlands and other mountainous areas often get significant snowfall in the winter months. Cradle Mountain is surely on your bucket list already, but seeing it covered in snow is truly magical.
Bushwalking and Hiking in Tasmania in Winter
Tasmania’s national parks are home to an abundance of wonderful bushwalks which are accessible all year round. While it will definitely be colder, and you should stay extra vigilant for changes in the weather, many great walks will not be hindered by snow even in the dead of winter, and others will have only light snowfall which can be traversed with the right preparation.
The 60 Great Short Walks are a great place to start, with a range of walks from 15 minutes to 8-hour return day walks all around the state, in a range of grades to suit any level of walking ability. Coastal walks also offer milder conditions than the state’s alpine bushwalks, allowing you to explore towering dolerite columns, seaside cliffs, and diverse birdlife. Freycinet National Park and Bruny Island are two world-renowned locations with many walks and abundant wildlife that attract thousands of domestic and international visitors.
Being properly prepared to hike in Tasmania in winter is very important if you want to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife have some great resources to help you prepare for a range of different walking conditions. One thing that you must remember is that Tasmanian weather changes quickly and frequently – especially in mountain areas.
When planning what to wear for your trip, the best approach is to layer your clothing into three layers; base layer for moisture management, mid layer for warmth and outer layer for protection from the weather. This applies especially to a bushwalking scenario, but a system of layering for regular Tasmanian weather is also a great way to deal with the stark contrast between cold outside temperatures, and warm cafes, restaurants or venues (Tasmanians love to crank up the heater!).
And when it comes to layering, merino wool is your best option. Merino base layers provide a supersoft next-to-skin feel that keeps you warm while effectively wicking away sweat and naturally controlling odours. Due to its unique ability to trap moisture in the porous fibres of the fabric, merino wool keeps you warm when wet, and doesn’t feel as wet against your skin even if it’s soaked. Merino is naturally odour resistant due to the anti-bacterial lanolin wax naturally produced by the sheep, which lines the fibres and prevents them becoming home to stinky bacteria – on a multi-day hike, your hut-mates will thank you!
Tasmanian Events, Food and Drink
You’ll be pleased to know that all the benefits of an off-season visit to Tassie don’t involve braving the elements. Wintertime brings a whole host of events from the eclectic DARK MOFO held annually in June to the Tasmanian Whisky Week in August, and delicious Tasmanian food and drink is never far away.
Tasmania is known to have the cleanest air in the world, and this combined with the rich soils and pristine water means some of the world’s best food and drinks are made here. You’ll quickly find that the locals love local food, so you’ll find local produce everywhere – from farmer’s markets, to cafes and restaurants, to roadside stalls with fresh fruit complete with honesty-boxes.
The state also boasts some of the world’s best cool-climate wines, with pinot noir and sparkling wines in particular that attract the interest of winemakers all over the world. Winter is the season when many of the cellar doors are at their best, with roaring open fires, pizza ovens and restaurants to warm you up inside and out. If you have a different drink of choice, Tassie is also home to many wonderful distilleries and craft breweries.
Some of the gourmet food delights are at their absolute best in winter. Tasmanian oysters are plentiful and harvested fresh all year round, though they thrive in cold, clear waters and the Pacific varieties peak in winter. Tasmanian Black truffles are harvested in winter too, maturing under thick blankets of frost before being hunted by truffle dogs.
The worst thing about the food and drink in Tassie is that you can’t try it all… To make it easier for travellers, the Tasmanian tourism website has a great resource to find the best places to eat and drink in Tasmania.
Winter in Tasmania – are you up for the challenge?
Visiting in summer might be the popular way, but winter gives you the chance to escape the crowds and have a truly unique and memorable experience. The locals swear by their beanies, gloves and scarves in the cooler months, so you’ll feel right at home in Bluey Merino knitwear, made from 100% Tasmanian Merino.