Plan your off season
A clear view across a valley; a cloudless, starry night; a catch-your-breath morning, the sun shining on freshly fallen snow…
A Tasmanian winter has a remarkable sparkle – but Off Season here does need a bit of planning. Here are a few hot tips for the cold months.
How's the weather in winter?
In Hobart, winter maximums hover around 13°C, but clear, cobalt-blue skies are common (chilly in the shade, warm in the sun). Hobart's average June rainfall is 43mm – similar to Melbourne; less than Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth or Adelaide.
Things get frostier in the mountains: Cradle Mountain's winter maximums are around 8°C. Fun fact: Tasmania's coldest recorded temperature was a mind-numbing -14.2°C at Liawenee in 2020.
Rainy days are more likely in the west. Strahan cops about 180mm every month in winter (actually very poetic). By the time the clouds make it to the east coast, they're usually empty: Swansea receives about 50mm per month through winter.
Off Season snow
Occasionally – unforgettably – it snows at sea level in Tasmania. Local kids scramble about, hurling snowballs before it all melts.
But the mountains tell a different tale. Tasmania's central highlands are blanketed with the white stuff right through winter. There's accessible snow at Cradle Mountain in the north west; at Ben Lomond, an hour from Launceston; and at Mt Field, 90 minutes from Hobart. Even closer to Hobart, the 1271m kunanyi / Mt Wellington is dappled white for much of the winter.
Tasmania has two ski fields: Ben Lomond, and Mt Mawson in Mt Field National Park. Low-key Mt Mawson has towropes for beginners through to advanced skiers; Ben Lomond is more reliable, with snow-making machines and established runs.
What to wear in the winter
The key to dressing for Off Season is layers. In a sunny corner on an August afternoon, it can be T-shirt weather. But when the wind whips in from the south, you'll soon be reaching for your jumper, your scarf, your beanie… The ubiquitous black puffer jacket – the 'Tassie tuxedo' – will no doubt also find its way into your wardrobe.
The trick is to be ready for anything, anytime. Melbourne may have four seasons in one day, but in winter in Tasmania, you can boil that down to an hour. Exciting!
Winter driving tips
Road trips can be spectacular in the Off Season, when snow blankets the highlands – but winter driving is a real art. A few pointers:
- Keep your headlights on to max-out your visibility.
- Leave at least a four-second gap between you and the car in front.
- Watch out for ice on the road. Slow down when you’re cornering – particularly early in the day on shady mountain roads, before any ice has melted.
- Ditch the wheels and take a shuttle bus to Cradle Mountain or kunanyi / Mt Wellington.
- Hire snow-chains of you’re driving into Ben Lomond or Mt Field national parks.
- The view is usually pretty good – slow down and enjoy the ride.
Walking in The Off Season
- Warm layers and waterproof outerwear are essential (even in summer).
- Avoid cotton - once it gets wet, it won't dry-out in the cold air.
- Keep rest stops short and sweet, so you don't cool down.
- Boardwalks and boulders can get icy: watch your step.
- Consider hiking poles for extra stability (they're geeky, but they might stop you busting your ankle).
COVID-safe travel in Tasmania
Tasmania's wide-open spaces and watery borders have served us well during the pandemic. But it's not difficult to get here: regardless of your vaccination status, you no longer need to register your travel or have a COVID test before you come to Tasmania.
Things change, of course - we're all used to that by now. So for the latest pre-entry requirements, check the official Tasmanian Government's COVID-19 website when you're planning your Off Season exploits.
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What's on offer this off season?
Businesses across Tasmania join the Off Season festivities with inspiring offers and rare experiences for winter wanderers – things to do, places to stay and good things to eat and drink. Come inside and see what's cooking.See all offers