Listen to the call of the wild this Off Season.

Go west by north west, into Tasmania's untamed heart - a primal natural realm. Take the backroads through rainforests, laced with commanding mountains and rivers the colour of whisky. Sea-change to remote beaches, swept clean by the Roaring Forties winds and the grinding Southern Ocean. From the very Edge of the World to hopeful-sounding places like Paradise and Promised Land, the winter wilds are waiting.

#1 - Strahan

Wake up in the west-coast fishing village of Strahan for a mesmerising winter sojourn. Gone are the summer crowds: colossal Macquarie Harbour, Ocean Beach (Tasmania's longest) and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area are yours to explore.

Ruminate over the ruins of Tasmania's oldest penal settlement at Sarah Island with World Heritage Cruises. A night-time lantern tour will take you back to the days of the convict lash. You can also sail to Hells Gates and gaze across an unbroken ocean, all the way to South America.

Aerial of the Gordon River
Aerial of the Gordon River
Jess Bonde
Steam train crossing a wooden bridge
West Coast Wilderness Railway
Nick Osborne

Some more west-coast inspiration this winter:

  • Aloft Boutique Accommodation Strahan feels extra snug in a hand-knitted beanie and slippers from Nan.
  • Tracks on Point Chug into this cafe on the Strahan end of the West Coast Wilderness Railway for a mulled Spreyton cider or some bread-and-butter pudding with a hint of winter whisky.

#2 - Queenstown

As you emerge from the wilderness, the desolate hills around Queenstown can be a shock to the eye - yet they're eerily beautiful in the winter light. Wander the quiet streets - here, and in Zeehan, Rosebery and Tullah - and uncover a legacy of mining riches, including a 1000-seat theatre where Harry Houdini once balanced on a highwire.

Orr Street
Rob Mulally

A visit to Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park awaits, plunging you into a very different kind of winter. Inhale the forest air, or feel the mist on your face from a thundering waterfall. A week-long Franklin River rafting expedition with Water by Nature Franklin River Rafting will take you deep into this watery world.

White water rafting
Water by Nature
Cathy Finch Photography

#3 - takayna / Tarkine

Fuel-up at Zeehan and strap yourself in for a wild wilderness drive. North along the gravel Western Explorer Highway, cross the Pieman River on the Fatman barge, into the little forest settlement of Corinna. You've just stepped into the takayna / Tarkine wilderness, Australia's largest temperate rainforest.

A further soul-shaking drive north is The Edge of The World on the Arthur River, where huge logs are strewn about like matchsticks. Inland are towering trees and ferns, waterfalls, caves and dark, platypus-filled waterways to explore by kayak or riverboat.

Wherever you point a lens, the north west in winter really delivers. Capture all the Off Season drama on a seven-day photographic foray with Tasmania Photography Tours.

#4 - North-west coast

At remote Marrawah, the Southern Ocean surf crashes onto the coast, and the relentless Roaring Forties deliver some of the world's cleanest air.

Beyond green fields and farms, Smithton is the first 'big' town around here. Drink in the views as you reach Stanley, a tiny fishing village hooked into the base of the biggest Nut you've ever seen.

The Nut, Stanley
The Nut, Stanley
Emilie Ristevski

Explore Stanley's colonial streets and beaches strewn with scallop shells, then tackle the calf-busting trek up the Nut - a sheer volcanic plug rising 150m above Bass Strait. The 360-degree views from atop this wind-whipped plateau are hard to beat.

Warm up with hot chocolate and genial hosts at Stanley Seaview Inn - or sink into a spa at the Horizon Deluxe Apartments and watch the restless ocean.

Continue past bays, beaches and curious capes, all the way to Ulverstone on the River Leven. Enjoy homemade scones and hot billy tea on an Off Season Leven River Cruise.

For more north-west coast inspiration:

  • Tall Timbers Tasmania Linger over a bottle of Tasmanian wine amongst the tall timbers at Smithton.
  • Novo Luxury Apartment Feel a warm winter welcome in Penguin with a bottle of wine, cheese platter and locally sourced breakfast pack.

#5 - Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park

In winter, snow transforms the high peaks of Tasmania's best-known national park. Hoist your pack and amble quietly along the uncrowded multiday Overland Track with Tasmanian Expeditions.

Walker heading out on snow covered track
Winter on the Overland Track
Luke Tscharke

In the same corner of the island, the alpine Walls of Jerusalem National Park is at its most spectacular in the Off Season. Tasmanian Expeditions can take you here, too: strap on snowshoes and experience winter camping, without the burden of a heavy backpack.

Tasmanian devil
Tasmanian devil
Jess Bonde

For more Cradle Country inspiration this winter:

  • Devils @ Cradle Support species conservation with a baby Tasmanian devil encounter.
  • Cradle Coast Tours See Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake on a day tour from Devonport, Ulverstone or Burnie, with a log fire and mulled wine at Cradle Mountain Lodge afterwards.

#6 - Devonport and around

The home port of the Spirit of Tasmania ferries, Devonport is the hub of fertile region of farms and fields - home to makers, growers, producers and artisans. The Bass Strait breeze sharpens the appetite for cheeses, chocolates, olives and truffles - offset by visits to wineries, distilleries, breweries and cideries.

At Spreyton, Simon Martin Whips & Leathercraft will help you get crafty, creating your own leathery Off Season memento.

At Forthside, go off-grid and organic at Compass Hut. Stay in a Tiny House, enjoy meals from a box of winter farm goodies, and plant a native seedling to help regenerate neighbouring bushland.

Tiptoe through the garden topiaries in Railton, then check out the murals in arty Sheffield, with Mt Roland as a dramatic natural backdrop. Not far away, take a brisk winter walk with some good-humoured goats on a stay at Paradise Road Farm, as your hosts reveal the secret life of Tasmania's burrowing crayfish.

Hedge trimmed in the shape of a cow
Topiary, Railton
Jess Bonde

Some further Devonport diversions:

  • Silver Ridge Retreat Your launch pad for winter explorations into nearby national parks near Sheffield.
  • Seven Sheds Brewery Sip into some dark and curious brews on an Off Season brewery tour in Railton. Grab some beetroot steam ale to go.
  • Base Camp Railton Pique your palate on a stay in Railton, with a dark beer and charcuterie welcome basket.

#7 - King Island

Stop the clock and ditch the digital world: you're on island time now.

Explore King Island's jagged coast, littered with the wrecks of several hundred ships. Graze on island seafood, cheese and beef, then visit the southern hemisphere's tallest lighthouse. Discover a frozen-in-time forest, spy a rare orange-bellied parrot, then whack a few golf balls around at one of two (yes two) of Australia's top 13 courses - Cape Wickham or Ocean Dunes.

While you're here, nip into the King Island Distillery for a taste of Australia's first garlic spirit, and try a brandy sauce made especially for crayfish.

This Off Season, King Island is the perfect place to slow down, recalibrate and appreciate winter in Tasmania.

Golfers teeing off
Ocean Dunes Golf Course
Adam Gibson

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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