The wild and warming Dark Mofo Festival has become synonymous with winter in Tasmania. If you were stuck inside cramming for exams instead of being out on the streets enjoying edgy art and warming yourself beside bonfires, don’t despair. Winter in Tasmania is fast becoming the best season to be in Australia’s most southern state. From breathtaking explorations of snowy peaks to warming tours of museums, Tassie has something to keep everyone entertained during the long dark days of winter. Here’s just a small pick and in no particular order (because, honestly, we really couldn’t agree on what to include there were so many awesome things on offer)!

1. Bang a Drum for an Apple Tree

Pic: Natalie Mendham

Pic: Natalie Mendham

OK, it might sound weird, but so is singing and dancing for an apple tree and watching a burning man (not an actual man but a big wood effigy). But if it makes Tasmania’s famous apple crop a good one (and the apple pies and ciders sweet), why wouldn’t you participate in the Huon Valley Mid Winter Festival? Every July, the festival takes place in the Huon Valley about forty minutes from Hobart. There’s loads of singing, shouting and banging on drums and pots and pans, live bands, and great apple-based food and beverages. The wassail Queen is lifted onto the boughs of a tree to place toast soaked in Wassail from the Clayen Cup. So join in and help Tassie’s farmers – and have a great time while you’re at it!

 

2. Cavort in the Snow on Ben Lomond

Pic: The Examiner

Pic: The Examiner

Ben Lomond while not Tasmania’s tallest mountain is one of its most famous thanks to the notorious Jacobs Ladder road snaking up the back of the mountain and the fact it’s the state’s only snowfield. As long as you aren’t expecting ski runs to rival Whistler or even Mount Kosciusko, a trip up Ben Lomond in winter is still plenty of fun for tobogganing and watching wombats waddle around in the snow.

 

3. Get an Eagle Eye View

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Pic: Tourism Tasmania

If you want to see Tasmania from a completely different perspective, take a plane over Tasmania’s stunning wilderness while the peaks are laced in snow. There are a number of companies offering scenic flights. Whether you want to see kunyani/Mount Wellington looking over Hobart, the grand Gordon River on the West Coast or Melaleuca at the very bottom of Tasmania, you will gain a respect for Tasmania’s wild beauty as you never could from the ground.

 

4. Death By Chocolate

Swedish cooking class

Pic: Tourism Tasmania

What better way to cheer yourself up than with god’s own gift to gourmands – chocolate! The Chocolate Winter Fest takes place every year in the  Latrobe in Northern Tasmania with plenty of chocolate sculptures (well, might as well pretend to be artistic!) and enough chocolate to satisfy even the biggest chocoholic. There are also workshops to learn how to make chocolates so you’ll have a never-ending supply of chocolate to get you through next semester!

 

5. Snow Shoe the Overland Track

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Pic: Tourism Tasmania

The Overland Track stretching from Cradle Mount to Lake St Clair is Tasmania’s most famous and popular walk. Over summer, it is booked out and is quite expensive. Over winter, however, there is no need to book, it’s free (other than your Park’s permit) and you are assured of seeing few people on the track. If you’re not an experienced snow hiker with serious snow gear and extreme fitness, we strongly recommend you book a trip with one of the local expert companies who offer a range of snow shoeing trips along the Overland Track during the winter months. They’re well worth giving a try. If you’re not so energetic, just head up to Cradle Mountain for a day trip – it truly is stunning no matter what the weather.

 

6. Get Spooked at Port Arthur

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Pic: Tourism Tasmania

Port Arthur is an eerie place at any time of year but on an overcast and moody day with looming clouds above you can really get a sense of isolation and just how depressing and scary it must have been for convicts who had been transported from the other side of the world. If you’d really like to scare yourself, take one of the ghost tours in the evening.

 

7. Warm up in a thermal pool

Pic: The Trend Spotter

Pic: The Trend Spotter

An hour-and-a half’s drive south from Hobart through rolling countryside brings you to Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs. Formed millions of years ago the giant dolomite caves were discovered in 1917. Glow worms now reside happily in the darkened chambers. When you are chilled to the bone in the deep but cathedral-like caverns, take a plunge in thermal pools which are a perfect 28C all year round.

 

8. Get a Rush at Russell Falls

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Pic: Tourism Tasmania

If you like to get the heart racing without the effort, Russel Falls on Mt Field after a bit of snow will take your breath away. When the waters are rushing after snow or rain, the noise coming from the falls alone is deafening. If you have only seen these falls in summer when it’s a bit of a trickle it’s worth coming back in winter time. An added bonus is being able to venture up the mountain to make a snowman as well.

 

9. Set Your Art Racing

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Pic: Tourism Tasmania

OK, so you missed most of Dark Mofo festival while you were cramming for exams (that’s what you told your parents anyway). However, you don’t need to miss out on all the edginess local philanthropist David Walsh has introduced to Tasmania. The Museum of Old and New Art — MONA — was Walshie’s first present to Tasmania. The infamous art museum sits perkily on the banks of the Derwent River and has attracted worldwide attention since its opening in 2011. From an overweight car to a pooping machine, and artwork by some of the world’s most famous artists, there’s something sure to capture your attention. Walsh has called it a subversive adult Disneyland. Whether the art chills or thrills you, you won’t be able to deny it’s warm inside on a winter’s day.

 

10. Warm up the vocal chords

Pic: Tourism Tasmania

Pic: Tourism Tasmania

Sing away the blues of winter at the Festival of Voices. Hundreds of people wander down to Salamanca in Hobart to stand around a huge bonfire to bellow their lungs out (or sing like nightingales, depending on their abilities). Other musical events take place all around the state, some quirky some staid, and the festival program is well worth a look. The bonfire sing along in Hobart takes place every year and is one of the biggest events hosted in Salamanca. It’s well worth a look and the bonfire and community spirit are sure to warm your heart.