Although it is traditionally the low season for tourism in Australia’s colder states, visitors flock to Tasmania from June to August to enjoy its famed winter festivals. We explore what’s happening in Hobart and surrounding cities this winter.
Arts and culture
Dark Mofo: Hosted by the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Dark Mofo is a large-scale winter festival featuring art, food, film, music and more. Highlights of the 12-day festival include the City of Hobart Dark Mofo Winter Feast and the Nude Solstice Swim, which sees hundreds of swimmers brave the cold for a swim at Sandy Bay’s Long Beach at sunrise on 21 June after the longest night of the year. Elsewhere, the Dark Park will host an array of public art installations, while the Odeon Theatre will see a number of international music acts.
When: 10 to 21 June 2016
Where: Various locations across Hobart
Festival of Voices: The Festival of Voices welcomes thousands of choristers and vocalists for a 10-day program of concerts, workshops and events. The 2016 event will include performances from comedic outfit Tripod, cabaret performer Meow Meow, and opera and comedy duo David Hobson and Collin Lane. The festival also features major workshops, held over five days, as well as short courses and the Bonfire and Big Sing at Salamanca Place.
When: 30 June to 17 July 2016
Where: Various locations across Hobart
Bay of Fires Winter Arts Festival: Held in St Helens, on the north-east coast of Tasmania, the Bay of Fires Winter Arts Festival celebrates art of all forms — from blacksmithing and glassblowing to sculpture and painting. The festival features a full program of events, including workshops, films, dance, exhibitions, live music and the announcement of the $20,000 Bay of Fires Arts Prize winner.
When: 10 to 13 June 2016
Where: St Helens
Chocolate Winterfest: Each August, chocolate lovers flock to the small town of Latrobe, just outside Devonport in northern Tasmania, for Chocolate Winterfest. Visitors can get involved in the festival by making a lantern for the lantern parade or designing a costume for the Chocolate Wonders of Wearable Art competition. The full program will be released on 7 July — World Chocolate Day.
When: 14 August 2016
Huon Valley Mid-winter Festival: Paying respect to Tasmania’s apple-picking history, the Huon Valley Mid-winter Festival sees visitors participate in the old tradition of wassailing (scaring evil spirits away to encourage a good Autumn harvest) while enjoying the region’s craft ciders, artisan cheeses, wines and other spoils. The festival takes place around 30 minutes from Hobart at The Apple Shed, the home of Willie Smith’s Cider.
When: 15 to 17 July 2016
Where: The Apple Shed, Huon Valley
Great Chefs Series: From April to October, TasTAFE hosts some of Australia’s top chefs, including Jacques Raymond, Donovan Cooke, Mark Best, Tetsuya Wakuda, Dan Hong and Michael Luo, as part of the Great Chefs Series. There is a different chef each month, offering a six-course degustation with matched wine. Tickets are $165 per person for dinner and $99 for lunch.
When: 13 May, 24 June, 29 July, 30 September, 2 October 2016
Where: TasTAFE Drysdale, Launceston
Sport and leisure
AFL in Tasmania: Two of the Melbourne-based AFL teams have scheduled home games in Tasmania during the 2016 season — Hawthorn, which plays in Launceston, and North Melbourne, which plays in Hobart. There are eight games in total, staggered throughout the season.
When: 14 May (Hawthorn v. Fremantle), 3 June (North Melbourne v. Richmond), 26 June (Hawthorn v. Gold Coast), 30 July (Hawthorn v. Carlton), 20 August (North Melbourne v. Sydney)
Where: Aurora Stadium (Launceston), Blundstone Arena (Hobart)
Launceston Ten: Part of the Tasmanian Running Festival, the Launceston Ten incorporates the State 10K Road Championships and Oceania 10K Championships in ‘Australia’s fastest 10-kilometre road race’. In addition to the main event, there are two-kilometre and five-kilometre races. Entry starts from $30 for the 10-kilometre event, $25 for five kilometres and $20 for two kilometres.
When: 12 June 2016
Where: Town Hall, Launceston