Tasmania is fortunate to have distinct and beautiful seasons, and while winter for some means hibernation, for Tasmanians it signals the beginning of a season of wonder; and one of the best ways to warm up is to get moving. Highland snowfalls create an air of magic as jagged peaks pierce through shrouds of swirling white. In the valleys below, our creeks and rivers feast on nature’s nectar, swelling with natural goodness. Welcome to waterfall season. Get ready to have your heart stirred and your senses invigorated.
Hobart and Launceston share a playful and historic rivalry, and this could be said to extend to waterfalls – Russell Falls for Hobart, Liffey Falls for Launceston. Each is grand and impressive, but there’s plenty more to seek out and many are just a short walk away. Near Derwent Bridge, Nelson Falls is found along an easy-access path through lush forests, while Lilydale Falls (near the charming village of Lilydale in the north) delights the senses. When visiting Cradle Mountain, be sure to take the time to check out Pencil Pine Falls and Knyvet Falls, and nearby Guide Falls are worth a wander.
A phenomenon over Tasmania which leaves all who witness her in awe is the incredible Aurora Australis. While the ‘southern lights’ are not a frequent event, or one that can be predicted with ease, their elusive existence is part of their charm – the ‘chase’ is part of the fun. When you find yourself away from city lights with a clear view south, it can be worth brewing some tea (or hot spiced gin, perhaps) and gazing up into the starry night. Even if the ‘lights’ aren’t on, you’ll find Tasmania’s clear view of the night sky to be one you’ve possibly not experienced before – look out for the Milky Way and the Southern Cross. Maybe you can spot another planet?
To find more information on the aurora, check out the ‘Aurora Australis Tasmania’ Facebook page – locals, scientists and enthusiasts come together to share forecasts, stunning images and popular viewing locations.
Tasmania has a reputation for its quality wine, beer and cider, but more recently this has extended to the spirit world, so to speak. Boutique distillers across the island are producing some of the world’s finest whisky and vodka, but the current standout is easily Tasmanian gin. Nestled between forested hills in a rural hamlet just outside Hobart, Shene Estate and Distillery is a showcase of heritage conservation coming together with the finest distilling craftsmanship; Shene’s Poltergeist Gin – distilled onsite at the 1819 convict-built property – recently won the Gold Medal at the World Gin Awards for it’s exquisite blend of twelve botanicals. What better way to spend a wintry afternoon; chatting around an open fireplace, sharing local produce boards and stories and letting the spirits loose.
Stirring the soul through immersive experiences is something travellers dream of, but in Tasmania it’s just what we call winter. Let yourself feel the pulse of the night surrounded by revelers and quirkiness at some of Australia’s most exciting festivals. Begin the season with the eclectically weird Dark Mofo, the seasonal festive beast of the Museum of Old and New Art – Mona, then shout and sing off the darkness with Festival of Voices. And just when you think you can’t breathe any deeper, be prepared to sing to apple trees and bang pots and pans by a bonfire – to help ward off the nasties from cider tree orchards and ensure a bumper crop – at the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Fest.
If winter is the season to warm your heart and soothe your soul, then we really should talk about that other important organ of yours – your stomach, of course. Winter is when we allow our taste buds to be the gatekeeper (and beneficiary) of comfort, indulgence and love. Cool nights, log fires, snow-dusted forests outside your mountain cabin…it’d be rude to not complement that with perhaps a slow-roasted lamb shoulder, mulled wine, mellow tunes and warm hugs.
Tasmania’s gourmet fare is proudly fresh and local, and you’re welcome to devour our delectables in private, or come and join us at a communal table at Pumphouse Point or at a buzzing restaurant or café and feel the energy of the season reverberate through the stories and characters you meet.
Just remember, winter in Tasmania isn’t a time to hide from the world; it’s an invitation to find your fire and energise the night, as the locals do.