There’s something magical about winter in Tasmania. It might be the crisp clear mornings, the brilliant blue skies or the blanket of snow in the mountains. Or it might be the things to do in Tasmania in winter, the way the historic towns and cities light up with bright, colourful festivals and the islands events to warm the heart and belly.
Whatever the secret, be inspired by winter in Tasmania, with incredible contemporary art and music, along with delicious food and wine to enjoy against a backdrop of rugged natural beauty.
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Tasmania this winter, here’s our guide to unmissable things to do and places to visit in Tasmania in winter.
Arts and heritage
One thing Tasmania does well, among many things, is the creative winter festival. Each year in June, Hobart’s acclaimed Dark Mofo festival celebrates the winter solstice and pays homage to the dark with contemporary performances, light installations and a sumptuous winter feast. On a lighter note, the joyful chorus that is the Festival of Voices entertains with a series of uplifting events and workshops over two weeks during the Tasmanian winter in July. For travellers visiting for Christmas in July, the Fire and Fog festival is a lovely and popular market-style evening.
In the north, the Devonport Jazz Festival features spellbinding concerts, dances and dinners in the last weekend of July, or you can get cosy in Launceston for the wintry Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival (BOFA) over 10 days in May. This year’s theme is all about food and wine, in honour of Launceston’ official crown as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, recognising the region as one of the world’s best foodie destinations.
Where the Tamar River meets the sea on the north cost, you’ll find the historic hamlet of George Town, Australia’s oldest town, founded in 1803. Explore George Town’s historical sites on a self-guided heritage trail and visit the museum at the Old Watch House, the historic old Gaol built in 1843, for a fascinating glimpse into early 19th-century Tasmanian life.
Superb natural wonders
George Town is also home to the largest penguin rookery in Tasmania at the Low Head Coastal Reserve on the north east coast of Tasmania. Watch as the little blue penguins emerge from their day out fishing for food in the Bass Strait and return to their burrows. A little further west along Tasmania’s north coast is the Narawntapu National Park, ideal for spotting kangaroos, wallabies and wombats. Listen out for the distinctive screeches of the Tasmanian devils.
The incredible pink, blue and green Southern Lights, or the Aurora Australis, is another special wintertime wonder in Tasmania. Like it’s northern hemipshere counterpart, witness the magic of solar winds reacting with the Earth’s atmosphere on a clear and starry night. The best time of year to view this phenomenal light show is during the winter months between March to September.
Discover epic Tasmanian alpine wilderness on the Cradle Mountain to St Clair walk, part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, or explore a magical, mossy forest and cascading creeks on the Enchanted Walk. Experienced hikers can tackle the internationally renowned Overland Track, Australia’s premier alpine track. You can also book a scenic helicopter flight and view the spectacular snowy wilderness from above.
Winter-warming food and wine
Wondering where to go in Tasmania in winter to eat and drink? You won’t have to forage far for winter sustenance with foodie haven Launceston on the doorstep of the Tamar Valley wine region. Overlooking the Tamar River, Launceston’s award-winning Stillwater restaurant pairs premium Tasmanian wines with fresh, seasonal dishes in an historic 1830s flour mill. Geronimo is another local fave, using the best fresh produce from local suppliers to create innovative dishes with a Modern European focus.
In Bridport, an hour north of Launceston, the Tassie Scallop Fiesta celebrates the region’s fishing and maritime heritage with fine local fare at the start of the scallop season in July. Chocolate lovers will be in heaven at Chocolate Winterfest in Latrobe, also in the north. You can meet the makers and enjoy a wee dram at Tasmanian Whisky Week events around the state, showcasing Tasmanian distilleries, their spirits and whisky.
Wondering where to stay in Tasmania this winter?
You can fly direct to Launceston or Hobart from most capital cities in Australia, and both airports have car hire facilities. The Spirit of Tasmania ferry service also transports passengers and cars from Melbourne to Devonport on a 10-hour voyage. From Devonport, Launceston is just over an hour’s drive south, and Hobart is three hours. Places to stay include the Quality Hotel Colonial in Launceston and the Comfort Inn The Pier in George Town.