The skies are dark and the night is young.

Shake the mud off your Blundstones and let down your hair - the Off Season is here. As the winter solstice draws near, a host of eclectic and offbeat events kick-off across the state, guaranteed to spark your creativity and keep the winter chills at bay. Some places hibernate over winter, but Tasmania is wide awake. Dive in headfirst - it's time to play. Chart a course between the events and festivals: from edgy art installations to refined choral performances, from burning effigies to ice-cold ocean plunges, Tasmania's winter events are as diverse as they are beguiling.

Art in the dark

Tasmania's winter arts festivals revolve around dark and light, and the arrival and passing of the winter solstice. Renewal, rebirth, resurrection - it's all here. Let the good times roll.

Dark Mofo
Dark Mofo
Jarrad Seng

Hobart's annual winter festival Dark Mofo (8-22 June) is at its unconventional best. Look forward to large-scale installations and obscure (and not-so-obscure) performances. Then there's the burning of the ogoh ogoh, and feasts of fine local food. Tasmanian craft beer, cider, wine, whisky and gin fuel the revelry - a cacophony of music and sound, topped-off by a bracing nude solstice swim in the River Derwent.

Dark Mofo Winter Feast
Dark Mofo Winter Feast
Lusy Productions

Contemplate the wild beauty of Tasmanian landscapes whilst picking a winner at the Hadley's Art Prize exhibition (23 July - 21 August) in the storied galleries of Hobart's historic Hadley's Orient Hotel.

As the days grow longer, the Off Season continues to dance to its own beat. Hobart's Salamanca Arts Centre celebrates the coming of new life and light with the Winter Light Festival (11-21 August). There's music, art, theatre, dance, film, installations and cabaret - an eclectic collection to rouse the senses and jangle your imagination.

Feast of fancy

Sniff the damp-earth aroma of freshly dug truffles, or slurp some just-shucked oysters. Warm your hands on a steaming cup of mulled cider, or sip a bold winter red by the fire. Quaff a single malt at a small-batch distillery, or crunch into freshly harvested produce before it even leaves the farm. Get set for some fine Off Season feasting.

Dress in your pagan best, sing to the apple trees and witness the ritual burning at Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival (15-17 July). Rejoice in the Huon Valley's long apple-growing history and help banish evil spirits from the orchards through the ancient tradition of wassailing. Eat, drink and make merry around the bonfire.

On farms, in barns and in the culinary heart of Launceston, agriCULTURED (4-7 August) will take you on a physical and metaphorical journey through Northern Tasmania's agricultural landscapes, with big conversations and good things to eat and drink.

Time for a dram? Tasmanian Whisky Week (8-14 August) provides plenty of opportunities for single-malt swilling at the island's celebrated distilleries. Meanwhile, the Winter Edition of the Tasmanian Wine Festival (19-21 August) brings together Tasmania's cool-climate wines for a warm-hearted celebration of island terroir.

Tasmanian Whisky Week
Tasmanian Whisky Week
Lusy Productions

Nature and nurture

Looking for more event inspiration? Lace up your walking boots, tune-up your vocal cords and pull on a lab coat. It's the Off Season: the choir is assembling, and the science boffins are ready. We told you things can get weird...

Join a chorus, sing around a bonfire, delve into cabaret, kick back with local singer songwriters - Tasmania's Festival of Voices (1-10 July) is a chance to perfect your harmonising and build your vocal repertoire. Don't be shy, there's something for everyone - take a deep breath and sing like no-one's listening.

Slow things down with a deep-dive into the healing power of nature on a Three Capes Track Wild Wellness Walk (22-25 July). Look forward to epic Southern Ocean views, icy Wim Hof submersions, journaling sessions and cosy fireside chats.

Ramp things up again when science and art collide at Hobart's Beaker Street Festival (5-15 August). Drift between talks on the latest scientific innovations and live music grooves in an underground speakeasy. Peer into a microscope, then steer your shoes along a Sci Art Crawl around Hobart.

If Tasmania's winter chill doesn't feel icy enough, remember that Hobart is Australia's gateway to the frozen wilds of Antarctica. Board a research and supply vessel and let your imagination sail south at the Australian Antarctic Festival (24-28 August).

Beaker Street Festival - Sci Art Crawl
Beaker Street Festival - Sci Art Crawl
Beaker Street

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.

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Three people trying on leather boots and laying on the floor

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