The Tassie Off Season just got a whole lot cooler. Whether it's the pull of a blazing pagan bonfire, a slow-cooked feast or discovering the secrets of its clear night skies, Tasmania is wrapped in cosy experiences begging to be discovered, explored and savoured. We've handpicked seven rare ways to light up your Off Season.
1. TAKE THE FESTIVAL PLUNGE
Tasmanians know how to embrace the chill and darkness. Join them in toasty throngs. Perhaps it's the call of Dark Mofo's Nude Solstice Swim (22 June, 7.42am) or the glow of Pagan-painted faces round a roaring bonfire at the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Fest (16-17 July). Under the cover of darkness Tasmanians get their quirk on, ranging from Dark Mofo's signature Winter Feast (16-20 June) to newer spoils like the Beaker Street Festival (6-8 August) where science and art collide. Expect talks by world-leading scientists with a side of underground Speakeasy live music and the Sci Art Crawl.
2. DIG DEEP WITH DOUGLAS
Douglas the lab knows the Off Season is prime truffle hunting time. Join him and his hunting mates at Tasmanian Truffles in Tassie's North West. The prized fungi are harvested in the cooler months and siblings Henry and Anna Terry invite guests onto the farm to join the hunt followed by fireside mulled wine and baked truffle brie.
3. SIP AND GAZE
McHenry Distillery is equipped with a new Dark Sky Observatory fashioned out of an Old Barley silo. As Australia's southern-most whisky distillery, it's well positioned to gaze into the galaxies and maybe even catch the Southern Lights dancing. Of course, there are drams to enjoy and don't forget Aug 9-15 is Tasmanian Whisky Week packed with personal distiller experiences in unique locations from cosy bars to bush to beach.
Stay central and rest your head at Old Bishop's Quarters in Battery Point – perfect for stargazing from Monty's Hideaway Studio with its retractable roof or tucking into a complimentary winter hamper by the School House fire.
4. CANNING THE GOOD STUFF – COMMUNITY
Get to the Port Cygnet Cannery in just under an hour from Hobart for your fill of community vibes. During the Off Season this agri-food hub continues supporting folk who make their living from the land. Plan your visit around a storytelling session for the kids, yoga by the hearth, a cooking workshop or then again, just take your mulled cider to the nearest blazing fire pit.
5. SINK INTO TWAMLEY FARM’S HOT TUB
It may be a 7000-acre working farm but there's no work to be done for guests sinking deep into Twamley Farm's wood-fired cedar hot tub. With a crackling fire pit and fondue picnic pack complete with Tasmanian wine, local gruyere and crusty artisan bread available, farm life never looked so enticing. The 1840s converted stable stay and cooking classes from Italian and French to Game workshops give more reason to settle in. Venture further along the Great Eastern Drive for a Sea Stacks Tasmanian Experience complete with 15 per cent off your stay and gourmet hamper.
6. NORTHERN WARMERS
Down a dark Launceston alley is a hidden Sunday night speakeasy. Inside, the candles flicker and museum wines are served at OSCURA by Bar Stelo. Sink into understated luxury at The Florance after your night out, where a glass from The Florance label is complimentary during the Off Season. Or stay at one of Tasmania's oldest estates, Vaucluse Estate, where house gumboots and a tartan wool blanket come standard for exploring the meticulous gardens. Then again, there is The Granary's luxe feels, home-cooked meals and picnics by the river at Cressy.
7. WATCH THE WEATHER ROLL IN
The Ship Inn Stanley's century-old walls hold stories of shipwrecks, English gentry and merchant sailors. Watch the weather roll in by the fire of the recently transformed 1900s Billiard Hall. The rich history takes time to absorb – so fall into the rhythm of the Off Season with a 'stay three pay two' special. Continue on to the far west for a night-time Lantern Tour of Sarah Island at Macquarie Harbour, served up with lashings of Tassie whisky.