Sitting at the world’s edge, as far south as you can go before hitting Antarctica, lies a small but bountiful isle. Where lush rainforests intersect with white-sand beaches and snow-capped mountains meet platypus-inhabited rivers, Tasmania is quintessentially Australian—but with a twist. And though their winters are cool and crisp, the adventures here will certainly warm your soul.
Whether you’re escaping for a weekend or a week, Tasmania is compact enough to pack plenty into your itinerary. Glamping beneath star-filled skies, hiking cliff tops and sipping red wine at wineries won’t cost you too much annual leave, if any. Thanks to Tasmania, we’ve brought you the best short-haul mini-breaks to warm you up this winter.
A trip to Stanley is like stepping back in time. This tiny coastal town found on the north-west tip of Tasmania has perfectly preserved colonial buildings, cosy B&B cottages, and genteel cafes that make you feel like you’re in Europe. It’s most well known for The Nut, an imposing volcanic flat-top mountain rising 150 metres above the sea, and you can choose to hike or ride the chairlift to the top. There’s plenty of places to stay in the area but the carefully restored and modernised 1843 bluestone warehouse @VDL Stanley is unlike anything else. If you’re chasing more adventure to warm you up, the Tarkine wilderness is just an hour's drive away.
The trip: two to three days
Tasmanian World Heritage-listed wilderness and home to otherworldly beauty, you need to put Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park on your radar. Fly into Launceston, drive west for two hours and walk into your dream stay at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge. Here, surrounded by remote wilderness blanketed in snow, you’ll feel worlds away. During the day, hike the two-hour Dove Lake Circuit and wind around glacial waters and beneath the towering spires of Cradle Mountain. There’s a boardwalk for much of this 6-kilometre track making it the perfect winter-friendly trail. Once dusk falls, arm yourself with a cool-climate Tasmanian wine and step into the outdoor hot tub overlooking the surrounding wilderness. Just be sure to keep an eye out for wombats burrowing in the snow below.
The Trip: three days
This 70-kilometre estuary runs north of Launceston with 20 cellar doors lining either side of the gorgeous Tamar River. The western side is arguably the prettiest, though the eastern side is littered with the big name, must-visit wineries. Once you’ve skipped between vineyards, wrapped your hands around delicious local produce and sipped cult-status wines, it’s time to check into your idyllic farm stay. Nestled on 8-acres of rolling green pastures just ten minutes from Launceston is Woodridge Farm. This retreat is straight out of your favourite fairytale, with a heritage style home built out of centuries-old bricks and recycled materials to replicate a period home of the Georgian Era. It's a true farm to fork experience, so be sure to venture into the garden and pick fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit and collect fresh farm eggs, plus there's the local Evandale Market each Sunday if you're visiting over the weekend. If you’re seeking adventure between fireside wine tastings, Mount Arthur is just 40 minutes away and home to waterfall punctuated hikes.
The Trip: two to three days
Sitting just off the south coast of Tasmania, Bruny Island has long been touted as one of Australia’s most beautiful islands. It’s easy to get to, just drive 35 minutes from Hobart to Kettering, a small coastal town, and catch the 20-minute ferry across. Here, winter’s refreshingly cooler days are perfect for hiking and biking and the 12-kilometre Cape Queen Elizabeth day-walk is an absolute must. You’ll wind past ancient rock formations at Mars Bluff all the way to “The Neck”—where the north and south island meet to create a breathtaking view and ‘gram-worthy moment. Though the island boasts unspoilt wilderness and creates a sense of thrilling remoteness, there’s still plenty of watering holes and eateries to explore. Stop by Get Shucked for fresh oysters, House of Whisky for a cheeky tipple and Bruny Island Cheese Co. for the O.D.O cheese. For a place to rest your head, choose the romantic cottage at Adventure Bay Retreat with views of the forest and sea.
The Trip: day trip from Hobart or stay for the weekend
Bay of Fires
Best known for its orange-hued granite outcrops and snow white-sandy beaches, this bucket list-worthy destination is a must when road tripping Tasmania's Great Eastern Drive. Fly into Hobart and drive four hours north to Bay of Fires, taking your time to explore boozy cellar doors, secret sun-drenched beaches, and quaint coastal towns along the way. Stop into Craigie Knowe, the oldest vineyard on the east coast and arguably the most beautiful, and be sure to hike to the Wineglass Bay lookout. To truly connect with nature, make Bay of Fires Bush Retreat your base to explore. Here, you’ll sleep beneath the stars in stunning white bell tents fully decked out with all the luxury comforts in true glamping style. You'll find heaters, blankets and hot water bottles to keep you warm and cosy, plus a jar filled with marshmallows so you can toast them by the open fire. Co-owner and former head chef of two acclaimed Tasmanian restaurants, Thomas Dicker will prepare a culinary celebration of locally-sourced produce for breakfast and dinner. To avoid the heartbreak of missing out, order before arrival.
The Trip: three to four days
Bonus: fly into Launceston and fly out of Hobart Airport to maximise your time
The Tasman Peninsula is a beautiful 70-minute drive from Hobart, dotted with sea cliffs soaring 300 metres high, hidden caves, blowholes and even World Heritage-listed convict sites. There’s a lot to see here but the Tessellated Pavement in Eaglehawk Neck is a geological marvel that can’t be missed. Formed thousands of years ago, it looks like a checkerboard and is best witnessed at sunrise when the skies pink hues are reflected on its surface, or at night, when the Aurora and Milky Way fill the night sky. For the adventure-seekers, add the 48-kilometre Three Capes Track to your itinerary. This thrilling three-day trek will guide you over the highest cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere with awe-inspiring views over the Tasman Sea.
The Trip: two to three days, or longer if you’re tackling the Three Capes Walk
It’s time to pack your bags and fly south to this wintery paradise and let Tasmania’s surreal splendour warm your soul.
Image credits: Tourism Tasmania, Adam Gibson, Rob Burnett, Kathryn Leahy, Sarajayne Lada, Emilie Ristevki, Jason Charles Hill, Paul Fleming, Melissa Findley
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