Home Tasmania What It’s Like to Visit Tasmania in Winter

What It’s Like to Visit Tasmania in Winter

by David
Lake St Clair Hiking, Visit Tasmania in Winter

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There seems to be this common belief that you can only go to Tasmania in the summer. Having lived and travelled there for a year, it’s extremely obvious when the tourist season is. So what do you do if you’re worried that you’ve missed Tasmania’s summer season? Well honestly, visit Tasmania in winter, or any time for that matter.

Make no mistake, summer is widely agreed to be the best time to go to Tasmania and winter probably the worst. But that doesn’t mean that winter in Tasmania is completely awful and visiting is not worth doing. I actually really enjoyed the trips I did at that time of year, even if the weather was sub-optimal. Even in such an outdoor destination like Tasmania, you’d be surprised how many attractions and activities you can still see and do outside of summer.

Let’s look at what it’s like in Tasmania in winter, from its weather and what’s open, to the options of things to do Tasmania in winter, and see if I can convince you to give it a try.


Tasmania Weather in Winter

So what is winter in Tasmania like? Simple answer, cold, or at least cold for Australia. But it can also be rainy, foggy, and windy. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it? Thankfully, there are plenty of days too where it’s just a little chilly and the skies are clear, and those days are perfect for winter adventures in Tasmania.

People might be surprised to hear though that there are parts of Australia that get cold. Tasmania and Canberra are the two places I’ve been in Australia where you really experience it properly. And it does depend where you are in Tasmania too. Winter in northern Tasmania is definitely milder than the south, and the mountainous Central Highlands are the certainly coldest part of the island. 

During winter in Hobart, the city generally averages low temperatures of 5ºC and highs around 12ºC. But it’s important to remember that the city is down at sea level. Head up into the highlands and those temperatures drop to frequent lows below 0ºC. And all of this doesn’t take into account the chill factor, especially on the coast when faced with the winds off Antarctica.


Is There Snow in Tasmania?

Snow on Kunanyi/ Mt. Wellington, Tasmania Winter

With all this cold weather comes the decent chance of seeing snow in Tasmania, at least in some parts. On occasion, snow has managed to fall as far down as the city in Hobart. Usually snow tends to stick to the mountains. Both times I’ve visited kunanyi/Mt Wellington over Hobart it’s had snow on it, even in September.

Snow hits the highlands much harder though and places like Cradle Mountain can get a real dusting. The downside to this is that the roads in the highlands can get treacherous in winter. The road to Cradle Mountain can have snow and black ice in winter, which can be challenging as winter tyres aren’t common. Many of the region’s gravel roads actually become impassable or closed in winter. I would assume this is because they receive too little traffic to spend resources clearing.

The upside to snow in Tasmania is the opportunity for skiing. Like the other southern states of Australia, Tasmania does have ski fields. Ben Lomond is the main and largest ski resort in Tasmania, with its ski season generally from June to October.


What to Wear in Winter

Lake St Clair Tasmania

Look around while in Tasmania during winter and you’ll notice everyone wearing matching puffer jackets. Outdoor brands like Kathmandu and North Face are basically the season’s unofficial sponsor.

Couple them with a hoodie, gloves and a beanie and you should be right to deal with the cool temperatures. And if you really want to blend in, add some flannel shirts in to the mix.

Dressing in layers like this won’t just help with regular outdoor sightseeing, it also works for outdoor activities too. Hiking at Cradle Mountain in June that’s exactly what I wore and it worked fine. Yes, I’d honestly prefer being there any other time of year, but hiking in winter is doable with layers and appropriate clothing.


Benefits of Low Season in Tasmania

Strahan, Places to Visit Tasmania West Coast

Even though the weather may not be favourable, winter does have one major upside – it’s Tasmania’s off season. Visitor numbers at this time are typically very low. While visiting Montezuma Falls in winter I barely saw another soul, which is crazy given how amazing it is.

This makes it the best time to visit Tasmania for budget travellers or people looking to avoid crowds. Given how busy and booked up destinations such as Bruny Island and Wineglass Bay can get during the warmer months, the relative quiet of winter can be quite useful. For instance, I had no trouble getting waterfront accommodation in Strahan at an affordable price and even better, it was properly heated to cope with the June weather.

Not that Tasmania gets no tourists in winter. Dark Mofo is a Tasmanian winter festival that celebrates the darkness of mid-winter in a supremely off-kilter way. While not for everyone, it does make Hobart quite busy for a couple of weeks right in the heart of the low season. Besides that blip on the radar, tourist numbers are especially low at this time.


Outdoor Winter Activities in Tasmania

Nelson Falls

Probably the biggest reason people avoid this time of year is that they’re not sure what what to do in Tasmania in winter. There’s this assumption that because of the weather all of the island’s popular outdoor activities are suddenly off-limits. But I know from personal experience that things like hiking and finding waterfalls are viable Tasmania winter activities.

Despite being deep in the Central Highlands, my first hiking at Lake St Clair was in mid-June and it went quite well. Yes it was cold and the weather did limit which hikes were possible, but I still had a busy and great time. Similarly, I had no problem on the boat cruise of Macquarie Harbour, mainly because the weather was kind to us and allowed for perfect river reflections.

Winter is actually a prime time to visit Tasmania for one of its classic features – waterfalls. The abundant rainfall that winter brings sends the state’s waterfalls into overdrive. In my experience, they honestly don’t get more impressive than at this time of year.


Indoor Winter Activities in Tasmania

MONA Hobart

Of course, you could also just not do outdoor activities during a winter visit. I mean, there are plenty of things to do in Hobart in winter that suit being indoors. Going to MONA or any city museum feels like an obvious activity for a Hobart winter.

You can also bundle up somewhere warm and treat yourself to Tasmania’s food, wine, beer and spirits. And that advice doesn’t just apply to Hobart but also Launceston as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, not to mention places with celebrated food scenes like Bruny Island and the Highland Restaurant at Cradle Mountain.


Have you ever thought about travelling to Tasmania in winter before? Do you mind exploring places even when its cold or a bit wet? Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below.

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