Winter well in Tasmania's Off Season

If you’ve been dreaming about travelling somewhere not too far but also tucked away, Tasmania ticks all the boxes. Australia’s only island state has everything you need to restore that peace of mind you’ve been missing.

It’s the season of blazing log fires, mountains dressed in snow, wood-fired feasts – and a swag of winter-only Discover Tasmania Off Season specials and rare experiences for travellers.

From hot chocolate on arrival to indulgent truffle retreats, snowy aerial expeditions to frosty stargazing tours, Tassie businesses and travel operators have created and curated more than 250 heartfelt, heart-warming experiences to celebrate the Off Season.

Read more: Tasmania’s top spots for shopping and markets

What is the Off Season?
Any time of the year is a fine time to visit Tasmania, but we think winter is extra special. The Off Season is winter for real, a time to gather around blazing log fires and slow-cooked feasts, to play in snow and plunge into festivals, to toast the warmth with Tassie wine and whisky.

Local businesses celebrate the Off Season with winter-only specials and rare experiences for travellers, so keep an eye out for the Off Season logo – a sign that something special awaits.

What’s the best way to get to Tasmania?
Since Tasmania is the only island state in Australia, it is accessible both by air and by water. The quickest way is to jump on a direct flight from Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane.

Scheduled flights of around one hour depart every day from Melbourne to Hobart, Launceston, Devonport, and Burnie (Wynyard). There are also daily services operating from Sydney and Brisbane to Hobart and Launceston. Additionally, you can fly to King Island from Melbourne, Launceston and Burnie (Wynyard Airport).

What to do in Tasmania in winter

Look up
During the longer nights of winter, the absence of light pollution and the island’s southerly latitude create exceptionally beautiful displays of stars. And Tasmania is one of the few places in the world to witness the aurora australis, aka the southern lights, and its beguiling curtains of colour.

Read more: The best places to see the southern lights

Try truffles
The highly prized fungi are harvested in winter, when frosts trigger the unique aroma. This is the season for hunting with truffle dogs.

Watch out for winter swells
See the Southern Ocean rage along coastal walks such as the Three Capes Track and particularly at Shipstern Bluff, or Shippies, famed as one of the world’s wildest breaks.

Raise a glass
Two of Tasmania’s best-loved tipples – pinot noir and single malt whisky – taste better in winter. Well, we think so.

Eat oysters and scallops
Though oysters are plentiful and harvested year-round in Tasmania, they’re at their best during winter, thriving in cold clear waters. And it’s scallop season, too, from Easter until the end of July.

Insider winter tips

What will the weather be like?
There’s a seasonal sparkle to Tasmania in winter, whether it’s sunshine on fresh snow, or the remarkable clarity of the air.

In Hobart, mean maximum temperatures drop to about 13 degrees C through the winter months, but blue-sky days are common – the average rainfall in Hobart in July is 42 millimetres, which is less than in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide in the same month.

Head to the mountains and things get frostier – around Cradle Mountain, the average daily winter temperature is about 8 degrees C. The coldest temperature on record in Tasmania was set in August 2020 at Liawenee in the Central Highlands: -14.2 degrees C.

Rainy days are more likely in the lush west, where the town of Strahan averages about 180 millimetres of rain a month in winter. That drops to less than 50 millimetres a month on the east coast.

Where to find the snow
There are unforgettable days when snow reaches and settles at sea level in Tasmania, but they’re rare. It’s the mountains that get snowy. A drive into Cradle Mountain will likely reveal Tasmania’s most recognisable mountain scene iced with snow, while short walks around Lake Dobson in Mount Field National Park can be a whole lot of snow fun. Snow days on Mount Wellington, rising immediately behind Hobart, become pilgrimage days for locals.

Read more: Embracing Tasmanian winter

Tasmania has two ski fields: Ben Lomond in the north, and Mount Mawson in the south. Ben Lomond is the most popular and reliable, with snow-making machines and a mix of advanced (10 per cent), intermediate (53 per cent) and beginner (37 per cent) runs. Low-key Mount Mawson, in Mount Field National Park, about 90-minute drive from Hobart, has three rope tows, two of which cater for beginners through to advanced skiers.

Are you a fan of cold and snowy winters? Share your favourite Tassie spot in the comments section below, you might find your next must-visit destination.

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