Travel

10 Secret Winter Experiences You Need To Try

By Sophie Colvin - 08 Jun 2017


We’re convinced that winter is the season for adventures. It’s the perfect time to rug up, see stunning scenery and experience season-specific events that you just couldn’t get your mitts on in summer (see what we did there?) From snowy adventures to culinary delights, we’ve uncovered ten of the most incredible winter experiences that you need to try, pronto.

1. Snow Shoe The Overland Track

Nothing screams ‘winter adventure’ more than a trek through the snow, on one of the world’s best bush walking tracks. Tasmania’s Overland Track, which runs between Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair is a hive of activity during the warmer months, but offers a whole new sense of serenity and adventure in winter as mountain ranges receive a generous dusting of snow.

While it’s not for the faint hearted, experienced adventure tour company Tasmanian Expeditions run top-notch guided tours, complete with quality snow shoeing and camping gear. The guides really bring the finer details of the Overland Track to life.

2. Swim Nude In Public

Every year, hundreds of brave souls head to Long Beach on the banks of the Derwent River in Hobart on the morning after the longest night of the year. There they shed their clothes and inhibitions and run into the icy depths of the river. The Nude Solstice Swim has become a ritual event (and cheeky highlight) of the Dark Mofo calendar. It’s a free event, but you have to register beforehand.

3. Howl At Apple Trees

The Huon Valley Mid Winter Festival is Australia’s answer to Burning Man—but held on a smaller scale, and in significantly cooler conditions. A winter wonderland of visual treats, culinary delights and cultural experiences, the festival embraces the age-old tradition of wassailing. For the uninitiated, it's a ceremony to scare bad spirits and nasty mythical creatures out of the orchard’s cider trees to ensure an abundant and healthy autumn crop. Head to the festival, sing and dance by firelight and bang pots and pans in an eerie ceremony to do your bit for the local orchard’s coming season!

4. Sing Your Heart Out Around A HUGE Bonfire

Tassie’s Festival of Voices is, as you probably guessed, all about the celebration of voice. And MAN does it do an epic job of it. The festival peaks at the Big Sing Bonfire event, held in Hobart’s Salamanca Place. On Friday 7 July you’ll be able to join hundreds of choristers and some world-renowned artists to create one helluva sound. Gathered around a monster bonfire, the Big Sing Bonfire is for everyone to sing, whether you’re vocally gifted or not. Side note: we’re tone deaf and are going to be totally embracing this one.

5. Bathe In Red Wine

The Barnbougle Spa on Tassie’s north east coast offers up our dream spa-treatment—vinotherapy! As the name suggests, vinotherapy is a treatment that uses the residue of wine making. The pips and pulp are rubbed into the skin and are said to have excellent exfoliating and anti-aging qualities. Barnbougle’s treatment lasts three hours and includes vinotherapy, plus an all-over body polish and a thermal face lift with warm infusing mask. It’s all to maximise the penetration of essential vitamins and minerals deep into the skin. Basically, we take this as a red wine and facial beauty treatment. Heaven officially exists.

6. Take A Scenic Flight Over Snow-Dusted South West Tasmania

Keen to see the stunning World Heritage region in winter, but not busting to trek to do it? Yeah, we feel ya’. Par-Avion Wilderness Tours to the rescue! Taking off from Cambridge airport just outside Hobart, you'll fly over the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, past the mouth of the Huon River and head south west over the World Heritage Area at Tasmania’s most southern point. You'll then land at Melaleuca, where you'll jump on a boat and head into Bathurst Harbour to experience the wilderness from sea level. There will be plenty of time to explore and you're guaranteed to catch some world-class Insta ops. The flights are around 50 minutes each way and the whole adventure will take approximately five hours.

7. Go Truffle Hunting

Tassie is lucky enough to be the Australian home of black truffles. There’s a reason that the culinary world goes completely ga-ga for these nuggets of black gold—they’re world class luxury flavour bombs. But they’re not the easiest things to grow, and they’re even harder to harvest. Anything that requires the helping hand (paw?) of a specially trained doggo sounds right up our alley though.

Head to one of Tassie’s top truffle farms, nestled in the picturesque Mole Creek region at the base of the Great Western Tiers, where you’ll have the chance to go on a winter season truffle hunt. Meet the highly trained truffle hunting dogs, see them in action and pick up a few fresh truffles at the farm-gate shop. Winter season is in full swing and runs through until September. Don’t forget to rug up!

8. Whale Spotting At High Speed

Southern Tasmania’s coastline really is next-level wilderness. Home to the highest sea cliffs in the southern hemisphere, it’s a mesmerising sight, particularly in the ruggedly beautiful conditions of a Tassie winter. The best way to see the region is by boat. Pennicott Wilderness Journeys offer a range of tour options and have custom-built boats that are ideal for viewing the coastaline, which is all part of the Tasman National Park. The coastal area is also home to a huge variety of marine wildlife including hundreds of seals, migrating whales, and sea birds in their thousands.

Choose the Bruny Island Cruise or Tasman Island Cruise during whale migration (June to September); it’s one part eco cruise and two parts high-speed whale tracking adventure.

9. Wax And Seal Your Own Bottle Of Whisky

We all know that winter and whisky go together like cheese and wine, so we’re always going to be big advocates of anything remotely malt related. One of Tassie’s top distilleries, Hellyers Road, offers an intimate, behind-the-scenes insight into the process that goes into making their much-loved whisky. You’ll have the chance to smell the ingredients used, see the latest batch distilling, visit the bond store filled with American oak barrels and meet Henry Hellyer himself – the man behind brand.

You’ll also have the opportunity to pour and wax-seal your very own bottle of Hellyers Road. A fully-guided tour takes around half an hour and set you back just $17.50 per person. We recommend you visit during Tasmanian Whisky Week for the ultimate whisky lovers trip. From 4-13 August, distilleries across the island will be opening their doors to host special behind the scenes tours and events.

10. See The Museum Of Everything

Our favourite museum, Mona, is set to welcome a new and wondrous exhibition which has been selected and curated by The Museum of Everything—the world’s first wandering institution, aimed at exhibiting the untrained, unintentional, undiscovered and unclassifiable artists of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. The grand opening of The Museum Of Everything takes place on Saturday 10 June (to coincide with the start of Dark Mofo) and continues until Monday 2 April 2018.

Curious? To get amongst it and experience all Tassie has to offer this winter—start your story here

Editor’s note: This article is proudly sponsored by Tasmania - Go Behind the Scenery and endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy. 

Image Credit: Sean Fennessy, Mia Glastonbury, Graham Freeman, Mona, Rosie Hastie, Chris Bray, Rob Burnett,Natalie Mendham, bodhiimages and Samuel Shelley - all supplied by Tourism Tasmania.

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