Across wild locations throughout Hobart there'll be noise, rituals of feasting and light, big-scale art and licking flames for warmth. Confronting, exceptional, disturbing or down-right bizarre? You decide.
1. THOU SHALT SWIM WITHOUT ONE’S COSTUME
It’s cold in Tassie during winter. That’s why David Walsh thinks it’s a marvellous season for bare nakedness and plunging into the icy Derwent. The nude dip is part of Dark Mofo’s winter festival, celebrating the dawn of winter solstice. If clothing layers are your preference, on land there’s promise of much muse-worthy wonder.
Image – Winter Soltice Nude Swim: Rosie Hastie
2. THOU SHALT BE DRAWN TO THE LIGHT
There’s a glow about our winters, courtesy of the Southern Lights. Most are familiar with the Northern Lights, but there’s dancing beams in our hemisphere too. Tasmania is the place to witness nature’s nightclub (aka the Aurora Australis) especially when our winter nights are long and dark. Many don’t realise you can see an aurora from anywhere in Tasmania. Just find an unobstructed view south and head away from light pollution. No human knows precisely when a light show may occur. Space weather maps and predictions are helpful, but ultimately the sun decides. That said, there’s a handy Facebook page who let each other know when the party’s happening.
Image – Aurora Australis over Margate: Tourism Tasmania & Paul Fleming
3. THOU SHALT VENTURE WEST
The air in winter has a clarity that our other seasons envy. It’s the time to view World Heritage wilderness from above with a Par Avion flight out west. Whisked from civilisation to this rugged outpost, the five hour experience includes a private boat tour so dress snuggly. Alternately, hop over to Strahan for a cruise up the Gordon River across waters of winter-still perfection. Or move through our wilderness powered by steam aboard the West Coast Wilderness Railway.
Image – Par Avion Wilderness Tours, Southwest Wilderness Camp: Matt Glastonbury
4. THOU SHALT ENTER A WINTER WONDERLAND
Snow falling, a good book, spiced gin and a crackling fire. Cradle Mountain in winter is like some type of cosy fairy tale. Outside, tracks weave beside ancient pandanis dressed in white. Thick-coated wombats set a pace busy humans should follow. Come afternoon, find yourself in the alpine spa. The hot tub is not your standard – it comes with mountain air and King Billy pines as company.
Image – Snow on Cradle Mountain: Pierre Destribats
5. THOU SHALT WEAR A BEANIE IN A BATHTUB
We like to think of the beanie as a modest uniform for bathing in Tasmania. Find a steamy outdoor tub and let the cool winter air hit your skin. Into selfies? Snap one in Thalia Haven’s coastal outdoor bath. Like ancient trees as your bathtub company? Head for Cradle Mountain’s Waldheim Spa. City tubber?
Sink into a stone bath in Launceston from the Hatherley Birrell Collection. Or venture off an island, off an island and slip into a Bruny Island tub at Hundred Acre Hideaway.
Image – Thalia Haven Tub: Adam Gibson
6. THOU SHALT SING TO OUR APPLE TREES
Help us in our quest for good apples. It’s called wassailing and it’s an age-old fact that if you sing to our apple trees, it’ll scare away the nasty spirits to ensure a bumper crop. Part of the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival, Pagan rituals are supported by much merriment, hand crafted cider, fireside rustic food, live tunes and feasting at Willie Smith’s Apple Shed.
Image – Huon Valley Mid-Winter Fest: Natalie Mendham Photography
7. THOU SHALT HUG THE COAST
Many pair our sparkling east coast beaches with summer time. But it is winter when the region takes on a persona few meet. The Great Eastern Drive pulls back to an uncrowded gear. Little penguins march ashore to assess the dedicated souls rugged up to greet them. Dark ales and Pinots are generously poured. Beaches stretch for cool kilometres, inviting coats and long conversation. During winter, you could be forgiven for thinking the east coast is yours alone.
Image – Sitting on the shore: Adam Gibson
8. THOU SHALT SHARE STORIES
Since the dawn of time, stories have connected us. Generations have gathered and learned through story time. The doors of Australia’s first storytelling hotel, MACq 01, open June 1 on Hobart’s waterfront. Take a tour with MACq 01’s Master Storyteller and later head for The Story Bar to share your own fireside yarns over a round of Tasmanian single malts. Wrap yourself in our history and feel its heat. A refined blend of discovery and informal luxury, this winter’s ultimate new stay is MACq 01.
Image – MACq 01 Room Interior – Hearty and Resilient: Image courtesy of MACq 01
9. THOU SHALT INDULGE IN COMFORT FOOD
Cook it, share it and sneak a second serve. Comfort food in Tasmanian winter comes in all types. Head to a local market for root vegetables from the farmer’s hands and prepare a hearty soup. Get cosy over a pub meal in a charming village. Our mulled ciders and local pinots match well with winter. Keen to wear an apron? Red Feather Inn has a series of winter classes, the Derwent Valley’s Agrarian Kitchen are cooking with fire while Sally Wise has the slow cooker simmering in June at her cooking school. Due North West, chef Ben Milbourne gathers the region’s finest to share around his home dining table and Ghost Rock Vineyard turn up the heat at their Hundred Acres workshops.
Image – The Agrarian Kitchen: Tourism Tasmania & Peter Whyte
10. THOU SHALT GET WILD
Our World Heritage Area wilderness protects one of the last true wilderness regions on the planet. So get out there. There’s 1.6 million hectares or so to discover. Base yourself in Stanley and meet the Tarkine’s winter scents. As one of the world’s largest remaining tracts of rainforest – some say it’s transformative. Step in and find out. You don’t have to rough it in our wilds unless you want to – our wilderness lodges allow you to snuggle up fireside while Mother Nature’s show unfolds. Sleep suspended above Australia’s deepest freshwater lake at Pumphouse Point or head for the alpine landscape of recently opened Thousand Lakes Lodge. In Tasmania, our back country is vast and untamed. Thou must walk to appreciate it. If you want wild, we have it in hectares by the million.
Image – Pumphouse Point: Tourism Tasmania & Adam Gibson