Winter is nothing to fear in Tasmania. For locals, this is a season to embrace and to celebrate. It’s a time to hunker down with a glass of local wine or whisky. It’s a time to explore the great outdoors in all its wintry glory. And it’s a time to participate in one of Australia’s best-known festivals, Dark Mofo.
For AAT Kings guests, winter in Tasmania is a time to embrace everything that makes this state so enticing and enjoyable, and to see its best-known attractions in an all-new light. These journeys are all about access, about seeing and experiencing in ways that other people can’t. So embrace winter in Tasmania, and embrace the state’s bucket-list drawcards.
2. Dark MOFO
5. Tamar Valley
Port Arthur and the Tasman Peninsula
Port Arthur is one of Australia’s best-known historic sites, an amazing place filled with story and legend, and such an important part of Australia’s colonial history. Here, visitors can wander through the ruins, peek into the old solitary confinement cells, and spend time in the beautifully manicured gardens. Port Arthur sits on the Tasman Peninsula, just south of Hobart, a place of natural beauty that is an attraction of its own.
Do it with AAT Kings: Guests on AAT Kings’ Tasmania Wonders tours have a private guide at Port Arthur, who will pass on plenty of stories – including a few tales of supernatural phenomena – from the area. There’s also time to check out a few highlights of the peninsula, including Devil’s Kitchen and the Blowhole.
This is the perfect winter’s long weekend, a trip to Hobart for Dark Mofo. This infamous festival is a weird and wonderful array of art, music and fire, a gathering that lights up the streets in the depths of Tasmania’s coldest season. Visitors will no doubt find this festival confronting, thought-provoking, joyous and absurd – possibly all at the same time. And there’s also great food matched with local wine to enjoy along the way.
Do it with AAT Kings: You will enjoy the festival, of course – and with locals to show you around you won’t miss anything on offer. But there’s more to this Dark Mofo long weekend with AAT Kings, including a trip to New Norfolk for lunch at the Agrarian Kitchen Eatery, pre-festival drinks at the Hobart Brewing Company, and a trip to MONA and Moorilla Winery.
There are few more iconic peaks in Australia than Cradle Mountain, Tasmania’s crowning glory, and a landmark that’s still accessible even in the depths of winter. An exploration of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is a sight to behold, as you spot wallabies and pademelons by the side of the trails, and gaze up at the snow-dusted peaks all around. Iconic, and spectacular.
Do it with AAT Kings: You haven’t been to Cradle Mountain in winter until you’ve taken a chilly dip in Dove Lake. For those not keen to brave the cold, AAT Kings has guided walks of the lake to learn more about local flora and fauna – with the chance to spot wombats in the snow – as well as the option of night-feeding Tassie Devils, which the company is helping to support through Save the Tasmanian Devils, part of AAT Kings’ acclaimed Treadright Program. Experience this and more on Tasmania Wonders tour.
Barilla Bay Oyster Farm
The water is cold in Tasmania, particularly during winter. But you’re about to discover that is a very good thing, because from the cold waters comes an absolute delicacy: Barilla Bay oysters. Local conditions here are perfect for growing oysters, and once you’ve tasted one freshly shucked, washed down with a local Gillespie’s Ginger Beer, you will be hooked. The gorgeous views at Barilla Bay over the oyster farm and Coal Valley don’t hurt, either.
Do it with AAT Kings: A tour of the Barilla Bay farm includes not just a tasting of the freshest and plumpest oysters you’re ever likely to see, but a chance to try local scallop pies, and shop for prized dried abalone.
For those with even a passing interest in wine and food, Tasmania’s Tamar Valley – a gorgeous 60-kilometre stretch north of Launceston – is bucket-list stuff. This is one of Australia’s premier cool-climate wine regions, a beautiful place of rolling, vine-covered hills and cosy restaurants and cellar doors.
Do it with AAT Kings: What better way to get to the know the Tamar Valley than to meet the people who have made it famous: the winemakers and producers who call this area home. AAT Kings’ Tassie Winter Warmer tour takes you to some of the best cellar doors along the banks of the Tamar River, with a cheese platter to pair with the wines.
There’s a deeply beautiful, untouched majesty to Tasmania’s rugged west coast. This is a sparsely populated area with an embarrassment of natural riches, a place of dense old-growth forests and pristine waterways. The main settlement, Strahan, is a charming port town at the northern end of Macquarie Harbour, a former penal colony turned laidback tourist centre.
Do it with AAT Kings: A stop on Tasmania’s west coast with AAT Kings means the chance to explore the incredible Gordon River on a relaxed lunch cruise. This journey takes visitors along the river’s dark waters to Sarah Island, site of a former penal settlement, a place of banishment and security because of its isolation, and on to Heritage Landing, with its 2000-year-old Huon pine tree.
Tasmania’s modern-day status as a gourmet hub is no secret. Foodies have been flocking here for some time now to sample the island’s incredible array of produce, and one of the best places to find it is Hobart’s Salamanca Market. This sprawling fair is as much about the local characters as the produce they have on sale, the perfect place to tap into the real Tasmania.
Do it with AAT Kings: With more than 300 market stalls at Salamanca showcasing everything a gourmet traveller could ever want, you will be happy to have your local guide there to show you where the best producers are hiding. Begin today’s experience with a wander through the historic Hobart docks, before taking in the foodie highlights – including a few free samples – at the market.