There's super yachts coming in, festivals, polo, long table feasting, foraging, mountain biking and more. This summer is shaping up to be a cracker here in Tasmania. Take a look at what's on – we've curated a lively list of the season's happenings.
1. GIVE THE YACHTSMEN A HEARTY HOBART WELCOME
The Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race (photo Richard Bennett)
Join the waterside cheer as Rolex Sydney Hobart yachts cross the line for the 72nd year. The 628 nautical mile yacht race across Bass Strait is one of the great blue water classics – departing Sydney Harbour on December 26. Expect waterfront frivolity until January 1 as yachties and locals celebrate well into the New Year.
2. TASTE YOUR WAY THROUGH TASSIE
Taste of Tasmania Festival (photo Alastair Bett)
Flavours, produce, culture, tunes and even outdoor board games hit Hobart’s waterfrontat the Taste of Tasmania from December 28 to January 3. The annual taste-fest sees Princes Wharf Shed No. 1 brimming with island fare, plenty of family fun, and a forecourt stage for buskers and acts throughout the festival.
3. BRING IN THE NEW YEAR AT FALLS
Get your arms in the air and welcome the New Year beneath stars at The Falls Music and Arts Festival from December 29 to January 1. Few festival stages can boast the Tasman Sea as their backdrop. Now a major festival on the Australian calendar, the event attracts international visitors and a healthy mix of local and interstate regulars. So pack your tent and get ready for top bands, DJs, workshops and countryside fun.
4. GET YOUR FOLK ON
Cygnet Folk Festival (photo Ceri Brose)
Descend on the petite Huon Valley town of Cygnet, for a weekend of string plucking, dance, poetry and local produce. The Cygnet Folk Festival (6-8 January) is Tasmania’s biggest celebration of folk and world music by local, interstate and international artists. Head less than an hour from Hobart for this toe-tapping good time now in its 35th year.
5. OVER 200 CRAFT BEERS & CIDERS – HEAD FOR THE ESK
It’s one of Tasmania’s largest craft beer and cider festivals, with some 200 craft beers, ciders and locally distilled spirits on offer. The Esk Beerfest (13-14 January) in Launceston, plays host to three stages featuring live music, masterclasses, family activities, and brewer forums. Expect not only locally crafted brews but also Australian and international labels on offer.
6. WORLD CLASS POLO AT BARNBOUGLE
It’s a setting that has courted golf enthusiasts the world over. The acclaimed links course, Barnbougle Dunes, plays host to the Peroni Barnbougle Polo annual high goal match on January 21. World class players head for North East Tasmania for an event that arguably is as much about fashion and sophistication as it is about horses and polo. Summer packages are also available at Barnbougle for those wanting to learn how to play polo – including four and 10 day options during December and January.
7. ALL MOFOS WELCOME
Mona Foma (photo Courtesy MONA/Remi Chauvin)
It’s Mona Foma time once more – Mona’s curious and exciting annual summer music festival, curated by Brian Ritchie. From January 18-22, Hobart city venues will come alive with art and music, in particular Mona itself. When the outdoor concerts hush, be sure to head into the underground of the museum for the Origin of Art Exhibition (January 20-22) along with musical performances in the Moorilla Barrel Room, stairwells and the Organ Room.
8. KING ISLAND GETS FESTIVE
Rock Lobster, King Island (photo Rob Burnett)
It’s likely the only music festival that comes with a 100 metre plastic-sheet waterslide that weaves through the scrub covered in soap for extra speed. The Festival of King Island (27-29 January) brings together folk, blues and rock musicians for a weekend of tunes, slippery slides and of course great local cheese, beef and seafood. The festivities take place in Currie Harbour and have seen the likes of Laura Hill, Shaun Kirk and Kim Churchill perform.
9. A GIANT GAME OF CRICKET FOR A CAUSE
It’s Ricky’s Biggest Game of Cricket (BGOC) – Ricky Ponting’s giant game to be played at Aurora Stadium in support of the Ponting Foundation’s cancer and health projects in Tasmania. Ponting has teamed with two big AFL names, media celebrities and other notable folk for an evening of bat swinging entertainment on January 27. Net funds (all 100 per cent) will be donated to the Ponting Foundation’s great local work.
10. ALFRESCO BEERFEST FUN
Photo Courtesy Scott Sporleder
Hobart Beerfest (27-28th January) brings 200 local, interstate and international craft beers, ciders and premium spirits to Hobart’s waterfront. Grab a seat at Princes Wharf 1, where there’s brewers to chat with, masterclasses offering the latest in trends and craft styles, roaming performers, a dash of comedy, live music. Everything you need to go with your brews.
11. UP FOR THE DRAGON CHALLENGE?
Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trail (photo supplied courtesy of Flow Mountain Bike)
The Blue Dragon MTB Challenge is the ultimate for avid mountain bikers. Across February 11 and 12, riders can enjoy views across the Blue Tier, mixed with The Trail of the Tin Dragon’s history. With arguably some of the best trails in Tasmania, the North East region has fast become a mecca for mountain bikers. Perhaps it’s the open plains, challenging inclines, weaving through rainforest or ending their ride with a dip in the river.
12. START YOUR ENGINES
It’s the North West’s version of Targa Tasmania. Formerly the Targa Hellyer Gorge, it wears a new name, Targa North West, to highlight its growth across the region. A genuine multi stage rally, with an official finish in Burnie, it is set to rumble on February 18. With the addition of Savage River, the event is expected to draw competitors from across Australia.
13. A PARADE OF SAILS
Australian Wooden Boat Festival (photo Doug Thost)
This festival is almost so big it only happens every two years. The Australian Wooden Boat Festival is the largest maritime event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, bringing together more than 500 boats from across the world. From February 10 to 13, beginning with the colourful Parade of Sails, the waterfront is awash with maritime culture. Enjoy buskers, great food and drink, boat building, handmade kayaks on display and dockside entertainment.
14. FESTIVAL ON THE LAWNS
Festivale (photo Rob Burnett)
Like your food and wine served al fresco? Head to Launceston’s City Park from February 10-12 for Festivale. It’s one of Tasmania’s most popular summer events, with some 70 stalls offering everything from sparkling wines and ciders from northern Tasmania to Pacific oyster taste plates and more. Around 35,000 people attend this outdoor event, offering a wholesome share of live music, dance and family entertainment across the historic parkland.
15. FEASTING & FORAGING ON FLINDERS
This is no small feast. In fact it goes from February 17 to 26. Celebrating the last week of summer, Flinders Island Feast & Forage is the best way to experience the island’s produce and surrounds. Last year there was a six-course degustation, A Night on the Lawn, in-store tastings of local produce and giant crays on offer. A taste of what 2017 may bring.
16. RIDING HIGH ON PENNY FARTHINGS
The National Penny Farthing Championship (photo Adrian Cook)
It’s not your typical national championship, but it happens in Evandale on February 18. The National Penny Farthing Championship is contested around a triangular circuit in the middle of this village in northern Tasmania. Enthusiasts come from around the world to contest the championship with market stalls, street performers and entertainment bringing a country fair feel.
17. THE LONG TABLE IS SET
Hop across to King Island for three days of paddock to plate deliciousness. The King Island Long Table (24-26 February) includes more than just the relaxed four-hour long lunch. There’s kitchen sessions, tours of the farm, meeting the growers and chefs, plus of course King Island’s best local game meats, beef, cheese and seafood to feast on.