If you’re thinking of visiting Tasmania, the good news is that there’s a reason to visit in every season!
Summer is the most popular season. I assume this is because most people want to either:
a) see the yachts competing in the Sydney to Hobart arrive at Constitution Dock and, while they’re there, attend the Taste Tasmania festival
b) swim at one of Tassie’s gorgeous beaches
c) see the lavender in bloom near Scottsdale
d) buy fresh summer fruits at farm gates around the state
e) all of the above
Of course, there may be a few other factors…
f) most people fly in and don’t want their luggage allowance taken up by winter clothes
g) people from the northern states of Australia are afraid of the cold &/or wearing more layers than just jeans and a jumper
h) they’ve heard that the Tasmanian economy needs a boost and thus are happy to visit during peak season
Keep in mind that to visit over the Christmas-New Year / School holiday period, you will need to book well in advance.
Also remember that even though it’s summer, it won’t be hot like it is on the mainland. You should pack something warm for evenings.
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This is the beautiful time of year when it’s starting to get properly cold (so pack winter gear) and the leaves of Australia’s only native winter-deciduous tree, Deciduous Beech (Nothofagus gunnii) – aka ‘fagus’ – will change colour.
To see this you will have to venture to the central highlands (‘Cradle Country’) or around Lake Fenton in Mt Field National Park.
If you don’t mind a bit of snow, you may be lucky to see some falling in the high country. Of course, there’s always a chance of snow falling on top of Mt Wellington in Hobart, no matter what season it is!
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Relaxing in front of a fire, glass or cup of something comforting in hand, snow flakes falling outside (if you’re lucky!) – that’s the Tassie winter holiday I dream about.
Winter is also the most budget-friendly time to visit Tasmania. If you don’t mind donning an extra layer (or two) of clothes, then you won’t have to worry about crowds or queues – or possibly even booking ahead.
In fact, some things you’re probably better to leave booking until a week or two out to get the best deal (accommodation, travel, tours etc). While you might think this strategy is a bit of a gamble, it can pay off if you’re flexible.
We have visited Cradle Mountain – Lake Saint Clair National Park in Winter in the MINI without using chains. The roads are kept clear and there are no signs saying chains are a requirement. However, black ice does form on the roads and paths so if you’re not used to driving in these conditions you may be better advised to catch the Parks Tasmania bus into Dove Lake. It’s a bit of a pain, but you won’t risk having an accident in the Park…
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The season of flowers and new growth!
The tulips at Wynyard and Table Cape are well-known. However, we thought there would be more – fields and fields full of colour as we followed the Bass Highway along the north shore of the island. But we didn’t see any until we reached the town of Wynyard itself. If you want beautiful displays of flowers, your better bet is to head to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hobart or City Park in Launceston.
We’ve been in October – late spring – and have seen moderate to large amounts of snow still on the ground in the high country. It’s not likely that you’ll see snow on the ground elsewhere (Mt Wellington disclaimer). Wildflowers in the alpine areas are more prevalent from early summer.