Cast off the shackles, loosen your shoulders - an Off Season sea change awaits.

On Tasmania's east coast, your horizons widen. Wineries open their cellar doors, and white-sand beaches are waiting for your shoeless feet. There are mountains to climb, national parks to explore and orange lichen-laced boulders everywhere you look. And in the Off Season, it's virtually all yours - a private playground where you can revel in the elements and hear your heart sing. On the east coast, the world is literally your oyster (…did we mention the seafood?).

#1 - Buckland, Orford and Triabunna

About an hour's drive north-east from Hobart, the sky opens out as you leave the urban world behind. Follow the winding road past farms and curiously named country hills, before descending into the historic hamlet of Buckland.

At nearby Twamley Farm - a 7000-acre working farm - survey the scene from a wood-fired cedar hot tub. Afterwards, don a hand-knitted beanie by the firepit and feast on a warming winter picnic of home-made soup, artisanal bread, local pinot noir, hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows. Sleep it off in an artfully converted two-storey 1840s stable.

The coast slowly reveals itself as you continue, meandering through the laid-back coastal towns of Orford then Triabunna, the jumping-off point for Maria Island, a short ferry ride away.

Couple overlooking rolling hills
Twamley Farm
Lusy Productions
Spring Bay
Spring Bay
Remi Chauvin

For more east-coast inspiration:

  • Spring Bay Distillery Get some behind-the-scenes insights into winter whisky and gin distilling, with a tasting overlooking the ocean.
  • Spring Bay Mill Get a group of friends together for some winter glamping in Triabunna, with an e-bike adventure on Maria Island or an east-coast dinner cooked by a top Tasmanian chef.

#2 - Maria Island National Park

Play castaway as you explore this car-less island's biking and hiking trails. At the Fossil Cliffs and Painted Cliffs, and in the rockpools below, nature reveals its story to those who take the time to look. Wombats and wildlife are everywhere - including Cape Barren geese and the rare forty-spotted pardalote. The sweep of human history is similarly broad here. If it's penance you're after, make your atonements overnight in the old convict penitentiary at the World Heritage-listed Darlington settlement.

Mrs Hunt's Cottage, Maria Island
Mrs Hunt's Cottage, Maria Island
Stu Gibson

Some further Maria motivation:

#3 - Swansea

The road into Swansea hugs the coast, with car-stopping views across Great Oyster Bay to the granite peaks of the Hazards. Unwind with seaside vibes and lunch in one of the town's cafes; or top-up your glass at one the many wineries scattered around town.

On Friday nights, firepits, mulled wine, wood-fired pizzas and live music beckon at the Bark Mill and Tavern, a restored 1880s bark mill.

Don't miss a meal at the reinvigorated Waterloo hotel. This Off Season, ex-MoVida chef Zac Green brings his kitchen savvy to the east coast, carving-up weekly 'Wild Beasts of Winter' feasts throughout June.

Car parked near beach overlooking Freycinet
Jason Charles Hill

For more Swansea stimulation:

  • Salt Sommelier Experience Taste your way into a uniquely Tasmanian sea-salty realm at Little Swanport.
  • Devil's Corner Settle in for a wine-paddle experience with your choice of three east-coast drops.

#4 - Coles Bay and Freycinet Peninsula

The holiday hub of Coles Bay - gateway to world-famous Wineglass Bay within Freycinet National Park - slips into a sleepy village vibe in the cooler months. Winter is also when the local oysters are at their prime, shucked (appropriately) from the chilly waters of Great Oyster Bay.

This Off Season, beach yourself on Picnic Island - a wild nature experience on your own private isle off Freycinet Peninsula. A water taxi will ferry you to Freycinet National Park, where you can access Wineglass Bay - and maybe spot a sea mammal or two on the way. At night, sit by the open fire as hundreds of penguins and shearwaters come rushing home to roost.

Bowl of mussels
Freycinet Marine Farm
Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett

Some further Freycinet inspiration:

  • Tasmania Boat Charters Cast yourself away on a five-day east-coast cruise, with a winter masterclass in oyster shucking (and tasting) on a remote beach.
  • Freycinet Marine Farm Enjoy a bowl of locally farmed 'Moules Marinières' (mussels) paired with a glass of local wine.

#5 - Bicheno

A cruisy drive north is the down-to-earth fishing village of Bicheno, the staging point for forays into Douglas Apsley National Park. Discover waterfalls and deep river gorges, forest-bathe amongst grand eucalypts, then actually bathe in secret river pools.

During the Off Season, Pop-Up Picnic Bicheno will ply you with your choice of wood-fired pizza and a bottle of east-coast pinot noir, with a side of olives, sourdough and dukkha. All you have to do is enjoy the place and the moment.

Man sitting on the beach overlooking the surf
Lagoons Beach
Kathryn Leahy

Head north to Chain of Lagoons, veer inland through fertile farming valleys then up over lofty Elephant Pass. The mountain air feels fresher up here (take a big gulp), and the east-coast views are a knockout. Head down the other side into the chilled-out hinterland town of St Marys, then loop back down to the beachy seaside hubs of Scamander and Beaumaris, and on to St Helens.

#6 - St Helens and the Bay of Fires

This Off Season, go lung-busters along 66km of mountain bike trails around St Helens, from the mountains to the sea. Rest your biker bones afterwards in a self-contained apartment at St Helens On The Bay, complete with a wash-down station and lock-up garage. Spin some tall tales of the day's two-wheeled adventures as you cool your rims after dark.

North of St Helens, beach yourself at beautiful Binalong Bay at the southern end of larapuna/Bay of Fires - ancient palawa Country. Explore the north of larapuna and wukalina/Mt William National Park on Aboriginal owned and led wukalina Walk. This is a multiday cultural experience on the traditional homelands of the Trulwulway. Learn about palawa culture first-hand and taste traditional foods and bush tucka. Ever tried muttonbird?

Walkers heading arriving at camp
wukalina Walk
Tayla Gentle

Push further up the coast: on the north-east tip of Tasmania, exhilarate yourself with a plunge into the cold, clear seas off Mt William National Park. Commune with echidnas, wombats - maybe even a Tasmanian devil - in the park's dunes, lagoons, woodlands and heath. If you're looking for some natural inspiration this Off Season, you've found it.

Some further north east ideas:

  • Mainly Maritime Create a lasting maritime museum memory - an artwork or piece of writing - to be compiled into a video for posterity.
  • St Helens History Room Get in for free during August, and check out a time-travelling collection of east-coast artefacts and photographs.
  • Serpentarium Wildlife Park Tasmania Learn, discover and personally experience reptile husbandry (an unexpected turn of events).

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
Three people trying on leather boots and laying on the floor

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