The Off Season in Hobart is a time of fireside feasting, dancing, singing and artistic revelry.
Just beyond Tasmania's festival-packed capital, different subregions catch your eye in the winter light. There are islands and peninsulas to explore, with sea caves and towering cliffs. Quiet bays and waterways wash against World Heritage-listed wilderness and historic sites. When you come inside, there are creative studios, cooking schools, wineries and distilleries to enjoy. Pull on your boots, layer-up and launch into it - Off Season down south is as stimulating as an Antarctic blast.
#1 - Hobart
Leap into the dark - upwards, into Tasmania's clear winter skies. High above Hobart's city lights, Walk on kunanyi lets you explore the southern stars - with the naked eye as palawa share their ancient knowledge; or through a telescope with an astronomer as your guide.
Almost as far-out, take a Par Avion flight from Hobart into Tasmania's vast, unspoiled south-west wilderness. This winter camping experience explores the World Heritage Area's otherworldly wonders, with fine Tasmanian produce and wine.
Back in Hobart, ignite your senses on a Wild Wellness Fire and Ice Walk around frosty kunanyi / Mt Wellington. Meditate on the mountain's beauty, take an icy Wim Hof plunge, embrace breathwork, then reflect beside a roaring fire and mountain stream.
For more Hobart inspiration:
- Olde Time Portraits Pick a character from Tasmania's past and pose for a photoshoot. What's the 100-year-old secret here, locked in a servant's cupboard?
- Sonny Warm up with wine, vinyl-spinning and winter bites at this intimate Hobart bar.
- Old Bishop's Quarters Stay in apartment accommodation in an 1890s Hobart school house, stylishly reinvented to keep you warm this winter.
- Tasmanian Mountain Bike Adventures Explore easy-going trails through the sweet-scented forests of kunanyi / Mt Wellington.
- Assemblage Boutique Art Bed & Breakfast Sleepover in an 1890s redbrick post office in Hobart, and sign-up for a mixed-media winter art class.
- Skybusker Tune-in to some of Hobart's best buskers on a winter 'Skybusker' trip from Hobart Airport into the city.
#2 - Huon Valley and the far south
Forty-five minutes south of Hobart is the lush Huon Valley, a land of rainbows, orchards, auroras, tall-tree forests, waterways, wineries and cider houses - and a haven for artisans, foodies and boatbuilders. The end of the road is Cockle Creek - pretty much as far south as you can go in Australia without a boat.
Warm your insides with a country cook-up masterclass at the Farmhouse Kitchen - authentic southern Italian family recipes shared over a convivial feast.
Next up, feed your inner artist with a lesson in the ancient pottery-glazing technique of raku at Campo de Flori Farm. Crackle-glaze your pot and warm up with treats from a woodfired oven.
Something more up-tempo? Howl like a wolf with Sled Dog Adventures Tasmania - a hair-messing ride through the far-south forest, pulled by a pack of sled dogs.
Check out the following for further Huon Valley and far-south stimulation:
- The Peninsula Experience Shack-up with your sweetheart at this luxe boathouse, down in Dover on 250 private acres.
- Villa Talia Defy the evening nip in a hand-crafted rock outdoor bath, or alongside a firepit, with a sumptuous seafood platter.
- Tahune Adventures Walk through the lofty treetops near Geeveston, then soar through the canopy on the Eagle Hang Glider zipline.
- Port Cygnet Cannery Enjoy live music, firepits, farm lunches and wood-fired pizzas at this southern agri-food hub.
- Kermandie Hotel Stay in an historic Huon Valley hotel, then explore further on a 'Forests of the Deep South Ecology Tour'.
#3 - Bruny Island and D'Entrecasteaux Channel
Navigate south through endearing D'Entrecasteaux Channel towns, looping through Gardeners Bay and Cygnet - before rising over forested Woodbridge Hill Road for eye-boggling views over the Channel to Bruny Island.
Take a flight over the region with Tasmanian Air Tours, swooping down for intimate tastings of award-winning cheeses, spirits and wine, before a two-course lunch.
From Kettering, ferry across to Bruny Island, the ultimate Off Season hideaway. There are hidden bays and sea cliffs to discover (by foot, kayak or boat), and wildlife everywhere you look. Feast on the island's artisanal fare, then drift into a dark-night sleep. The Hundred Acre Hideaway is your off-grid hot-tub retreat, overlooking the wilds of South Bruny National Park.
For more Bruny and D'Entrecasteaux winter motivation:
- Ewenique Tasting House at Grandvewe Cheese & Hartshorn Distillery Sample sublime cheeses and spirits, and doodle on your own bottle of vodka or gin.
- Bronwyn Clarke Ceramics Spin a lump of clay into something beautiful - or at least unique - by the glow of the kiln.
- Hotel Bruny and Bruny Island Escapes Drift off to sleep at Bruny's only pub, with a bistro meal and winter sunset views.
- Above & Beyond Tasmania See Bruny, Hobart, kunanyi / Mt Wellington and the D'Entrecasteaux Channel from the air on a scenic Bruny Island Explorer flight.
#4 - Turrakana / Tasman Peninsula
The photo-worthy landscapes of Turrakana / Tasman Peninsula disguise a brutal past. Any visit to the World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site is a haunting experience - especially when cast against the peninsula's beautiful bays, caves, blowholes and clifftop walks. Explore these emotions with Songs of Love, Loss & Hope, a winter performance presented by the Port Arthur Historic Site and Tasmanian ThylaSing.
Departing from Port Arthur, the Three Capes Lodge Nature and Night Photography Walk captures nature's spellbinding nocturnal show along the Three Capes Track.
Further afield, assess the southern hemisphere’s highest sea cliffs on a boat ride; drift among sea gardens and seals on a kayak tour; or eyeball monstrous waves at Shipsterns Bluff. Before the early 2000s, many thought these bad-tempered 10m giants were just a myth – but no, they’re very real…
Regather your composure at one of the peninsula's bespoke distilleries; sample some of Tasmania's best sparklings at a local winery; or shuck some oysters at Blue Lagoon Oysters. These briny beauties are at their prime in the Off Season.
Some more Turrakana / Tasman Peninsula ideas:
- Three Capes Lodge Wild Wellness Walk Experience four days of cold-water therapy, breathwork, nature walks, nourishing meals and fireside journal writing along the Three Capes Track.
- Bangor Vineyard Shed Enjoy a selection of four Bangor wines paired with bite-sized food tastings, crafted with local winter ingredients.
#5 - Heritage Highway and Coal River Valley
Time-travel through Tasmania's heartland along the Heritage Highway, tracing the original convict-built road from Hobart to Launceston.
Barely 30 minutes north of Hobart, the Coal River Valley wineries and cheeseries are immediate distractions. In more of a whisky mood? Distilleries across the southern midlands at Pontville, Cambridge, Kempton and Oatlands - throw open their doors to Off Season wanderers, looking to warm up with a wee dram. Old Kempton Distillery runs guided tastings of four fine spirits, with a winter scarf or beanie for when you head back outside.
Oatlands is home to Australia's largest village collection of colonial sandstone buildings.
Cap it off with a night-time romp on the wild side at Brighton's Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. When the sun sets, Tasmania's native critters come out to play.
Some more Heritage Highway and Coal River Valley inspiration:
- Travel With a Cause Journey with purpose from Hobart to the Coal River Valley for wine and chocolate tastings, and a delicious lunch.
#6 - Derwent Valley and Central Highlands
Follow the River Derwent upstream to New Norfolk - all antique shops, hops fields and pointy-topped oast houses - to Mt Field National Park on the edge of Tasmania's south-west wilderness.
Layer-up, put on your beanie and suck in the crisp mountain air. Walking trails here - short, long and often snow-cloaked - take you past waterfalls, towering trees and alpine tarns.
Back on the country highway, thread your way north into the Central Highlands through the rustic hamlets of Ellendale, Hamilton, Ouse (pronounced 'ooze', rather deliciously) and the art-deco hydroelectric village of Tarraleah. Don't miss heritage-listed Rathmore at Hollow Tree, dating back to 1828, where a long winter wine lunch awaits.
At Lawrenny Estate distillery near Ouse, shake off the winter chill with a smooth dram of premium single-malt whisky, drawn straight from the barrel. The distiller spills his secrets then sends you off into your Off Season afternoon.
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