By Tourism Tasmania on March 29, 2019
Think Tasmania is a daytime destination? Spotlighting for wildlife and the mysterious Southern Lights will change your mind. Australia’s island state is not just about beaches either. Tasmania is home to diverse landscapes from glacial lakes, mountains and beaches to ancient caves and rainforests. The island can be enjoyed year-round too. With four distinct seasons, each reveals another side of the island – a winter wonderland, a summer beach escape or an historic village in autumnal colour. It’s little wonder so many keep coming back. Stay with us as we debunk Tasmania’s top three myths one by one.
Tasmanian beaches are among the island’s top attractions for sure but there’s much more to Tasmania than its spectacular coastlines. From treetop-ziplining and spotting local wildlife in their natural habitat, to exploring the island on one of the 60 Great Short Walks, you’re about to discover Tassie is more than sun, sand and sea.
Paddle with the Platypus
Go on a paddling adventure that takes you to spot platypus in their natural environment. An egg-laying mammal with the bill and webbed feet of a duck, the tail of a beaver, and the fur of an otter – these creatures have to be seen to be believed. Via a gentle current on the River Derwent, paddle past hop growing fields and farmland in the Derwent Valley (west of Hobart) to a specific stretch of the river, only accessible via kayak, where platypuses are very active through the warmer months of the year. No kayaking experience is required for this family friendly adventure. (www.tassiebound.com.au/tours/paddle-with-the-platypus-tour)
Tarkine Quad and Side by Side Adventures
Located on Tasmania’s west coast, the Tarkine’s unbounded locality is situated in an area of wilderness that is rich in convict heritage and has a history of logging and mining that dates back to the 1800s. If you are looking for a remote wilderness experience amongst ancient rainforest, with waterfalls and button grass plains, Tarkine Quad and Side by Side Adventures offers 1-day/overnight/3-day rides with all food, fuel and accommodation included. In May, for instance, there is a single day Winter Waterfalls Tarkine Adventure which brings you to three scenic waterfalls that are only accessible on a buggy or quad bike.(www.discovertasmania.com.au/tour/tarkinequadandsidebysideadventures)
Highland Getaway ATV Farm Tour
If you’d like to see farm animals up close and personal, go on a farm adventure tour with Julie and her 6-seater ATV which will bring you to the 51-hectare Highland Getaway in Huon Valley where you can walk among the Instagram-friendly highland cattle, feed ever-smiling alpacas and spot birds in the air such as wrens and wedge-tail eagles. The two-hour tour also includes a trip to the Summer House on the dam that overlooks the Huon River and lastly, to the homestead for refreshments. (www.highlandgetaway.com.au)
Giant Tree Expeditions
Have you ever seen monster trees taller than a high-rise building? If not, Great Tree Expeditions offers a tour through a variety of ancient forests in southern Tasmania where you will get to see and touch some of the world’s tallest trees and largest flowering plants. Picnic lunch and observation gear are included with day trips departing from Hobart, Maydena, Geeveston and Huonville. (www.giant-trees.com)
With cooler temperatures and less crowds, winter is actually a good time to visit Tasmania especially if you are not into crowds and warmer weather. Tassie winters are not only filled with events and festivals that celebrate authentic Tasmanian food produce and its creative arts and culture, its renowned nature treks also offer a different and one-of-a-kind perspective during winter, all of which offer loads of memorable photo opportunities for shutterbugs.
The Festival of Voices
Thousands of local and international singers and choristers unite for Australia’s premier annual celebration of voice from 28 June to 14 July 2019. Starting on Tasmania’s vibrant east coast (28-30 June), it moves on to Hobart (2-14 July), before closing with the Big Sing Bonfire concert in Hobart on 7 July. Performances range from massed choirs and cabaret shows, to street performances taking place in concert halls, theatres and public spaces across Tasmania. (www.festivalofvoices.com)
Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival
Every July, the Huon Valley bursts into life with its Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival held at Willie Smith’s Apple Shed. Join the Cidermakers as they celebrate the valley’s apple growing heritage and take part in the age-old tradition of wassailing. Revellers dress up in pagan costume, parading and banging on pots and drums to scare evil spirits from the orchard to ensure a good harvest, which makes for great cider. It is an exhilarating day-to-night festival with loads of food and drink stalls, musical performances, and a welcome ceremony that features the sensational burning of a 13m-tall effigy. This year’s festival runs from 12-14 July. (www.huonvalleymidwinterfest.com.au)
Tasmanian Whisky Trail
Home to almost half of Australia’s distilleries, Tasmania is undisputedly the whisky capital of Australia and winter is a great time to warm up with a tasting of some of the world’s best whisky. Follow the Tasmanian Whisky Trail and get to learn from the distillers themselves who are more than happy to share stories of Tasmanian whisky history, provide access to signature whiskies, and show how local whisky is crafted the old-fashioned way. Tasmanian Whisky Week 2019 will take place from 12-18 August and is hosted by local distilleries, bars, restaurants and hotels across the island. (www.taswhiskytrail.com)
Overland Track Winter Trek
Very popular in summer, the Overland Track in Cradle Mountain offers a totally different perspective during winter. More serene and tranquil, the national park looks like a winter wonderland as it gets a generous dusting of snow from the high peaks. Snowshoe across a quieter trail on a 7-day trekking/camping trip led by your experienced guides, Tasmanian Expeditions, and enjoy exploring forests, sub-alpine plateaus and spectacular highland landscapes. You may even experience close encounters with local wildlife and see endemic wildflowers. Each day ends with delicious hot meals at a scenic campsite prepared by your expert guides. (www.tasmanianexpeditions.com.au)
Tasmania is always buzzing with daytime activity such as wildlife adventures, nature walks, food festivals, and world class art exhibitions. However, the wild island also comes to life after dark with a wide selection of unique events that travellers of all ages can participate in.
Hosted by Mona, the Museum of Old and New Art, Dark Mofo is a scintillating winter festival that celebrates the dark through public art and performances, light and sound shows, food fairs, and various activities. Running from 7-23 June across Hobart, 2019 highlights include major exhibitions at Mona and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, and international artists and musicians performing at iconic venues around the city such as Odeon Theatre and Federation Concert Hall. (www.darkmofo.net.au)
Port Arthur Ghost Tour
One of Tasmania’s most popular tourist attractions, the Port Arthur Historic Site is Australia’s most well-preserved convict settlement. Legend has it that more than 1000 people died during Port Arthur’s 47-year history as a penal settlement and it is widely believed that the souls of the departed never left. Find out for yourself if that is true with Port Arthur’s nightly 90-minute, lantern-lit ghost tour on which expert guides will lead you on a walk across the site’s most infamous buildings and ruins, telling stories of unexplained events that have baffled (and frightened) convicts, prison guards and visitors alike. (www.portarthur.org.au/tour/ghost-tour)
Cradle Mountain Wildlife Spotting After Dark
One of the best ways of observing Tasmania’s native wildlife is to embark on an after-dark wildlife spotting excursion to Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park where you have a good chance of spotting creatures such as wallabies, wombats, possums and maybe even a Tasmanian Devil or two when they are most active. Suitable for all ages, most tours will provide guides, flashlights and hotel transfers. (www.discovertasmania.com.au/about/national-parks-and-wilderness/cradle-mountain-lake-st-clair-national-park)
Winter Stargazing in Tasmania
With some of the world’s cleanest air and dark nights away ambient city lights, Tasmania is one of the best spots in the world for stargazing, especially in winter. On a clear evening, you can simply look up from any street in Hobart, or lie on a picnic mat in any park, and see more stars above than anywhere else. Alternatively, you can choose to lounge on a beach along the east coast such as Coles Bay or Wineglass Bay, cosy up to a campfire and admire the star-lit night sky. Or seek accommodation on higher ground such as lodges at Cradle Mountain or Freycinet Peninsula (which lies at the base of the Hazards mountain range) and embrace the feeling of being closer to the glittering stars up above.