When my partner and I first started talking about our planned trip to Tasmania during Australia’s winter season (June-August), the most common reaction we’d hear was ‘why? It’s going to be so cold!’ With temperatures during Tasmania’s winter season typically between 3 and 11 degrees Celsius, it wasn’t much of a surprise that our Queensland friends were surprised, but to be honest, I was stoked! As someone who dreads Queensland summers while everyone else is soaking up rays on the beach, I couldn’t wait to rug up and enjoy everything Tassie has to offer in winter.
There are some things I wish I had known before we arrived in Australia’s southernmost state, however, which is why I’ve compiled this list of pros and cons of travelling to Tasmania in winter:
Cons of Tasmania in winter
1. Lots of things are shut during winter
Because winter is Tasmania’s down season, many businesses and activities were closed during the time we were there. We expected this ahead of time and weren’t too concerned, but it’s definitely something to be aware of when planning a trip to Tasmania in winter.
Despite being aware of potential closures, we were still surprised to travel through small historic towns like Ross during mid-morning on a weekday to discover nothing was open. (To be fair, the petrol station open, but not much else).
It was a little disappointing, but the good thing about Tasmania is that there is always another town nearby.
2. There are also some unexpected closures…
There are the closures that you know about in advance, such as the tourist activities with websites that clearly state their closure over winter, and then there are the unexpected closures. When we travelled to Freycinet National Park, for example, one of the tracks was closed for works, and my parents had a similar experience when they tried to walk on a strip of beach where they were staying in Coles Bay, only to find the beach was closed for revegetation.
3. Reception issues
What did cause us some grief when we were travelling in the Coles Bay area was that there is often very limited phone reception and the house we stayed at had no wi-fi. While our accommodation provided us with a guest pack of tourist information including information about local restaurants and activities, a lot of these brochures don’t mention information about winter hours, so there were several times we turned up somewhere only to be disappointed (if this ever happens to you, the Freycinet Lodge is open all year round and is a beautiful spot to soak up the views and warm hospitality of the facilities).
The reality is…
These kind of disappointments can happen when you travel anywhere and can happen no matter what season you travel in. I remember when I visited Europe being disappointed I couldn’t get a clear photo of some of the beautiful old buildings because they were covered in scaffolding and banners for restoration work. But it only makes sense that these type of closures would take place during the quiet season of winter, so it’s important to keep this in mind and try and keep an open mind.
All you can do is plan what you can in advance, and if there is something in particular you really want to do or see, call ahead to make sure you can still do it. Once you’re at your travel destination, chat to other tourists and the locals about your plans, and you’re likely to find out information you can’t find online in advance.
In my opinion, these cons are things that can happen anywhere and in no way put me off ever travelling to Tasmania in winter again. They are just little things that are important to be aware of in advance so that you know what to expect and can be prepared.
Pros of Tasmania in winter
1. Fewer tourists
I haven’t yet been to Tasmania in summer so I have nothing to compare to, but I would have had a totally different experience of Tasmania if there were hoards of other tourists to contend with for photo opps. So much of what I love about this state is the beautiful scenery and that at times, you can almost imagine you are the first person to experience this magical place. Which leads me to my next point…
2. Tassie is BEAUTIFUL in winter!
Living in Queensland means we don’t get to see much snow, and we were blessed during our day trip to Cradle Mountain with a fair few feet. Yes, the locals could tell we were from Queensland due to how rugged up and excited we were, but we LOVED every second of it!
3. It is easy to get around
When we were planning our trip to Tassie, my husband was worried we wouldn’t be able to drive on some roads due to snow. While this can be the case in certain areas (for example, the final stretch of road to Cradle Mountain was shut until about midday when we were there and the road to Mount Wellington is often shut during winter) and there are areas where you have to be careful of black ice, the majority of Tasmania is very easy to get around and we were able to get everywhere we planned to go.
4. There is still LOTS to do
Even though there are some things that will be closed or inaccessible due to the season and weather, there are still a lot of things to do in Tassie during winter. In fact, there are awesome things to do in winter that you can’t do any other time of the year, such as Dark Mofo, the Huon Valley Mid Winter Festival and… the snow!
While there are some downsides to travelling in Tasmania during the winter season, in my opinion, the pros far outweigh the cons.
The key to making the most of your trip is to be open-minded and flexible with your plans. The way we looked at it, the things we weren’t able to experience and do this trip just gives us an excuse to visit Tassie again in the warmer months, and we’ve already started planning our next trip!
For more information to help you plan your trip to Tassie in winter, check out my Instagram account to see what else I got up to. Or, if you’re into cider, beer, wine and whiskey, check out my blog on all things Tasmanian alcohol!