You'd think that winter in Tasmania would be quiet and peaceful.

But alas - we just get louder. Infamous hedonism is on the cards, as is 'wassailing' to apples around a bonfire in the Huon Valley. Sing with strangers and dip your nose into a whisky glass. Whoop with joy as you charge along a wild river or mountain bike trail.

Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival
Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival
Stephen Dupont

The Off Season is a chance to push the boundaries, stimulate your senses, try something new and come up smiling. It's a big red 'reset' button, just waiting to be hit.

Lift the lid on Tasmania's winter festivals, ticking all the boxes from whisky and art to choral sing-alongs and serenading spirits in the apple orchards. Or reorganise your mind on an eight-day paddle with Water by Nature Franklin River Rafting, revelling at night with fine winter produce in atmospheric south-west wilderness camps.

At dawn and dusk, things get interesting. Into the Wild runs nocturnal mountain bike tours - two-wheeled adventures through the forest, your trail lit with 1000-lumen lights. Eyes wide open, senses sharp - this is how we roll.

Back in the big smoke, knock on the door of a hidden speakeasy and get stuck into a conversation. Make a friend. Start a romance. Agree to disagree. It's the Off Season - sparks will fly.

Lodge

Where you sleep this Off Season is open for discussion. An apartment, inn, villa…maybe a former small-town bank or your very own east-coast island. It's all up for grabs.

In the north west, the Stanley Seaview Inn and Horizon Deluxe Apartments are both a quick jaunt from Stanley's pubs, wine bars and eateries. And if you fancy an ocean view as you shake yourself awake, you're in safe hands here.

Keeping the festivities at arm's length, Villa Talia Tasmania is a 10-minute drive from Cygnet's pubs and cafes - but the serene Huon Valley vistas here make it feel like another world.

Even more arm's length (maybe your whole body), Picnic Island is an isolated east-coast retreat off the Freycinet Peninsula. Grab some friends and cast yourselves away, sipping winter wine above the waterline.

In little Ringarooma in the north east, a former Art Deco bank has become the Secret Bank Society - a quirky, clandestine hideaway in the most unexpected of small towns.

So, sleepyhead - where will you stay this Off Season?

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Secret Bank Society
Secret Bank Society
Jesse Hunniford

Feast

Clearly, some fine Tasmanian eating and drinking is required.

The Off Season festivals will fill your belly with fine food and drink (don't miss the Dark Mofo Winter Feast). Check out our What's On in Winter guide for more inspiration.

Heading south, take a seat by a blazing firepit at the Port Cygnet Cannery. This southern agri-food hub embraces the Off Season with seasonal tasting menus, live tunes, winter farm lunches and woodfired pizza nights.

After dinner, slip through iron gates into a secret Friday-night speakeasy by Bar Stelo. Follow a map through iron gates, across a deserted carpark to a darkened doorway. Inside, lean into the lamplight, sip a drink and spill your secrets.

Or maybe a blindfolded tasting Brady's Lookout Cider in the Tamar Valley is more your speed. Forget about sight and hand the controls over to taste: aged ciders and silky chocolates are sheer delight.

Then, as the sun sets over another dusky afternoon, kick back by an open fire at Swansea Bark Mill with a mulled wine in hand.

And tomorrow? That's something we can worry about when it comes.

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Dark Mofo Winter Feast
Dark Mofo Winter Feast
Adam Gibson
Port Cygnet
Port Cygnet
Tourism Tasmania & Arcade Publications

Revel

If you're in the mood to drink, dance, promenade, sing, revel in wild places and talk late into the night, you're on the right island. Light the fuse. The Off Season is here.

Big-ticket festivals weave their way through winter: the unhinged and edgy Dark Mofo, with its infamous nude solstice swim; the single-malt distractions of Tasmanian Whisky Week; the pagan shouts, flames and deep-south deliverance of the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Fest. Not to mention the Festival of Voices, with its choirs and bonfires. Get dressed up, check your inhibitions at the door and go and meet some people - you don't need an excuse to loosen the shackles this winter.

On the east coast, Encounter Maria Island runs the Maria Island Brass Monkeys Swim Club. The challenge: submerge yourself 100% in Maria's cold winter water and provide photographic evidence. The reward: life membership of the MIBMSC, and kudos for your cold ocean revelry.

Down in Hobart after the winter solstice, the Winter Light Festival at the Salamanca Arts Centre shifts the focus back towards the returning sun. Immerse yourself in music, theatre, dance, film, installations and cabaret. It's eclectic, uplifting and liberated - it's the Off Season in motion.

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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.

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Three people trying on leather boots and laying on the floor

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