Things to do in Summer
Taste of Summer
Formerly called ‘The Taste of Tasmania,‘ this Summer event is held on the Hobart Wharves.
It’s a festival to showcase the best of Tasmania’s food and drink scene – the largest of its kind. Think cheese, wine, beer, honey, butter, milk and farm-raised lamb.
It’s a bustling atmosphere and has plenty of spots to relax and enjoy performances from local musicians.
Bridestowe Lavender Estate
Tasmania’s passion for lavender began at Bridestowe Lavender Estate.
In 1921 London perfumer CK Denny migrated to Tasmania with his family, bringing a packet of lavender seeds from the southern French Alps.
Tasmania had a similar climate to Provence, making it ideal conditions to grow lavender. Today, the Bridestowe Lavender Estate welcomes over 50,000 people a year.
Bridestowe Lavender Estate is a fourty-five minute drive from Launceston and covers 260 acres; it is the world’s largest privately-owned lavender farm. The iconic curved rows are unique to Bridstowe, the were implemented to better capture and manage rainfall.
They are open to the public to wander through the fields, take photos, and even enjoy a picnic. There is also a cafe on-site that serves signature lavender-infused ice cream.
Bicheno Penguin Tours
In the early 1990s, the Bicheno penguin colony suffered repetitive dog attacks. Bicheno Penguin Tours was created as a ‘business to protect nature and since then has helped restore the little penguin population from a low of 40 to 600. They converted a paddock into a penguin habitat where they monitor the penguins.
On this guided tour, you’ll take a short bus ride to their own private penguin rookery.
Mona Foma is an annual music and arts festival, curated by Brian Ritchie, the bass guitarist from the Violent Femmes. The festival is hosted in February of each year.
Initially established in 2008 by MONA (Museum of New and Old Art) this Summertime festival has welcomed big names – Gotye, Nick Cave, Bon Iver and Pavement. Mona Foma is paralleled by its Winter counterpart, Dark Mofo.
Cygnet Folk Festival
South of Hobart is Cygnet, with a population of 1600. This small town is popular with artists and makers. Once a year, Cygnet hosts the Cygnet Folk Festival, attracting musicians and attendees from all over Australia.
The festival began in 1982 and has grown thanks to the help of volunteers. There’s plenty more to explore in Cygnet, including wineries, a cider house and museum.
Things to do in Winter
Festival of Voices
The Festival of Voices began in 2005, intending to bring light and warmth to the cold Hobart Winter. The festival has roots in European choral traditions and takes inspiration from pagan practices.
This annual festival celebrates all things chocolate. It is hosted in Latrobe, home to the House of Anvers. This unique chocolate factory is inside a Californian bungalow built in 1931.
Across the festival, you’ll enjoy masterclasses, high teas, dinner experiences and murder mysteries.
Things To Do All Year Round
Mount Wellington looms 1,271 metres (4169 feet) above Hobart. The mountain provides a jaw-dropping lookout accessible by car and several bushwalks, including The Organ Pipes.
These column-shaped cliffs were formed in the Jurassic period when Tasmania was separating from Antarctica. Mount Wellington is also one of the best (and easiest) places to enjoy the snow.
Mount Wellington is only a half-hour drive from Hobart, and you can often see the snow-capped peaks from within the city. You can also check the snow-cam for a better idea of the conditions. Or take the dedicated bus that takes you straight there.
Pinnacle Road will take you to the peak; it is a windy but safe overall, and it’s accessible by caravans and motorhomes.
There is no need for a Parks Pass, and entry is always free.
Port Arthur Historical Site
Port Arthur is a town and former convict settlement on the Tasman Peninsula. The settlement began in 1830 and was the destination for convicts deemed the most hardened of British criminals. The remnants of the prison are a popular tourist attraction.
An entry ticket includes a guided tour as well as a harbour cruise. Additional tours include a lantern-lit ghost tour and the Isle of the Dead Cemetery Tour, showcasing the final resting place for over 1000 convicts.
Cascade is the oldest operating brewery in Australia and produces Tasmania’s most popular beer, Cascade Draught. Just a ten-minute drive out of Hobart, Cascade Brewery offers several experiences for beer lovers.
Take a guided tour, learn about their brewing process, visit previously unseen areas, and then finish with a beer paddle. You can also stroll the lush gardens and settle in at Cascade Brewery Bar.
Cascade is easily accessible by bus from the city centre. Take the 446 from near the waterfront, and there’s a stop at the brewery.
MONA, where do I start? Maybe Tasmania’s most prolific attraction. David Walsh, a multi-millionaire gambler, created the Museum of Old and New Art to (in his words) ‘bang above [his] weight’. MONA showcases Walsh’s $100 million private art collection and hosts some quirky events.
The building design is incredible; it is etched into the side of a cliff on the River Derwent.
MONA has several restaurants, a bar and a hotel. It is a wacky experience. Entry is free to Tasmanian residents, and there is a small cost for inter-staters/foreigners.
Iron Pot Lighthouse Cruise
The Iron Pot Lighthouse is the oldest original lighthouse in Australia. It sits alone on Betsy island, its sharp corners contrasting the surrounding rocks.
The Iron Pot Lighthouse Cruise will take you to Betsy Island and then along the isolated coast. Over the two-and-a-half-hour cruise, you’ll see hundreds of seabirds and maybe even a dolphin.
The cruise departs from Constitution Dock on Hobart’s waterfront. Along the way, you’ll pass the historic Battery Point and the Shot Tower.