Taste of Tasmania, December–January
Dark MOFO, June
Australian Wooden Boat Festival, February
Evandale Village Fair, February
As New Year's Eve hangovers recede, the summer festival season kicks off with varied events in the north and south. It’s school-holiday time across Australia, so expect high demand for family-friendly motels and camping grounds.
Cygnet Folk Festival
More woolly sock than arena rock, the Cygnet Folk Festival, a day trip south of Hobart, is a three-day hippie fiesta with good vibes, low-key performances, discussions and workshops.
The Museum of Old & New Art (MONA) runs the Festival of Music & Art (FOMA), thus MONA FOMA aka MOFO. It’s as edgy, progressive and unexpected as the museum itself. Launceston is looking likely as the festival venue from 2019.
Festival of King Island
Way out in lonesome ol' Bass Strait, King Island gets its moment in the sun courtesy of this weekend festival, with visiting bands, surfing, food, and family fun times. Held in late January.
As a prelude to the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne later in January, the weeklong Hobart International women's tournament draws plenty of big-name players.
Apart from myriad Tassie brews, you can try hundreds of beers from around the world at the Hobart BeerFest, held in January on the Hobart waterfront. Beer-and-food-matching masterclasses are also held.
Two days of beery festivities on Launceston's Esplanade, with Tasmania's many excellent craft breweries strutting their stuff. The parallel event to the Hobart BeerFest down south.
Hobart’s maritime heritage comes to the fore on and off the sea (which is at its warmest – swimming!). Meanwhile, Launceston’s biggest party of the year is a chance to sip some Tamar Valley wines.
Launceston’s City Park hosts three days of eating, drinking, arts and entertainment at Festivale. It’s a chill-out-on-the-grass affair, with Tasmanian food, wine and beer, and plenty of live tunes.
Evandale Village Fair
The National Penny Farthing Championships happen south of Launceston at the annual Evandale Village Fair. In between wobbly bike races there are markets and musical interludes from pipe bands.
Australian Wooden Boat Festival
In odd-numbered years, the Australian Wooden Boat Festival brings a fleet of beautifully crafted yachts, dinghies and tall ships to Hobart’s waterfront, filling the harbour with heritage nautical vibes.
Royal Hobart Regatta
The three-day Royal Hobart Regatta sees the Derwent River bobbing with aquatic craft of all shapes and sizes. Don't miss Hobart’s resident tall ships, the Lady Nelson and Windeward Bound.
Summer’s warmth lingers into dusky evening – perfect for an island-wide arts celebration. March is also harvest time: grapevines blaze with colours and roadside stalls are crammed with fresh produce. Book ahead for Easter accommodation.
Ten Days on the Island
Towing a trad arts line, Ten Days on the Island is the state’s premier arts event, running for (you guessed it) 10 days biennially (odd-numbered years) in March. Theatre, music, visual arts, literature and film across the state.
Taste of the Huon
Ranelagh showgrounds near Huonville hosts the two-day Taste of the Huon, a showcase of the best Huon Valley produce. Apples, cherries, wine, salmon, mushrooms, honey, bread…no one goes home hungry. Bucolic splendour!
Autumn kicks in with cool days and cooler nights. Easter often falls in April: book ferry crossings, motels and camping grounds as far in advance as humanly possible. Oh, and football season gets started!
Biceps and tight shorts! Competing in the Australian Football League (AFL; www.afl.com.au), the North Melbourne Kangaroos play some home games at Hobart’s Blundstone Arena, while the Hawthorn Hawks play a few at Launceston's Aurora Stadium. Grab a beer and a meat pie and get into it.
Cool blue-sky days make May the perfect time for a Tassie sojourn. The low late-autumn light is stellar for photography, and accommodation owners sometimes offer off-peak discounts. Good driving weather too!
Held in late April or early May, Targa Tasmania is a statewide road rally for classic cars of all descriptions (but generally the fast ones). Crowds line the roadsides to ogle the magnificent speeding beasts.
Winter is here. Yes, it's colder than elsewhere in Australia, but crisp mornings and Hobart and Launceston's wood-smoky ridge lines are deeply atmospheric. With the coming of the winter solstice, Hobart gets its Gothic going.
In the still depths of the Hobart winter, MONA's Dark MOFO arrives. Skirting the frayed edges of Tasmania’s guilty conscience, this noir package delivers a taut, seductive and joyful series of happenings, installations and performances that will rattle your rusty cage.
As winter rolls on, hunker down for the indoor pleasures of choirs and chocolate. Outside of Hobart and Launceston, expect some accommodation to be closed, especially in coastal areas.
Chocolate! Don't deny it – you love it. And it's a tasty way to warm the heart in the depths of the Tasmanian winter. The Chocolate Winterfest in Latrobe hosts chocolate-inspired festivities, including the essential blindfolded chocolate-mousse-eating comp.
Festival of Voices
The quirky Festival of Voices turns Hobart into a singing city for three days. Gospel gangs, choirs and a cappella groups showcase the versatility of the human voice.
Winter snow dapples Tasmania's Central Highlands. Unless you're masochistic, it's probably best to leave the bushwalking to experienced hikers. Some tracks become impassable and, besides, hotel accommodation is at its cheapest around the state.
When winter blows in (roughly from July to September), snow bunnies and powder hounds dust off their skis and head for Ben Lomond National Park. Coverage can be unpredictable: check snow reports before you head for the mountain.
As winter packs itself away, spring heaths bloom in the Central Highlands and muddy tracks start to dry out. Time for a bushwalk? Accommodation is still affordable: treat yourself to a boutique hotel when you wander in from the wilderness.
Junction Arts Festival
Launceston's offbeat Junction Arts Festival is five days of live music, theatre, installations, street art, walking tours and dance. A real shot in the arm for the arts up north.
The spring is sprung, with (usually) more settled weather and two of Tasmania’s smallest (but loveliest) festivals. In Hobart and Launceston, the country-comes-to-town royal shows put pressure on accommodation: book ahead.
Bloomin' Tulips Festival
Celebrate spring with food, music, burgeoning blooms and maybe a bit of a dance at Table Cape's annual Bloomin' Tulips Festival. The Wynyard waterfront is where it's at.
Royal Hobart Show
Bruny Island Bird Festival
Twitchers, rejoice! The gloriously isolated landscapes and coastlines of Bruny Island host the annual three-day Bruny Island Bird Festival. Bring your patience and your binoculars.
Accommodation around the state is still reasonably priced before the peak tourist season arrives (mid-December to January). After the football and before the cricket, sports fans twiddle their thumbs.
Tasmanian Craft Fair
Running for four days before the first Monday in November, Deloraine’s Tasmanian Craft Fair lures 30,000 artsy bods from around Australia. Pottery, textiles, glassware and sculpture all get an airing.
Ring the bell, school’s out! Accommodation is at a premium, especially after Christmas and around New Year’s Eve, when Hobart really cranks up the festival schedule. Book accommodation well in advance. Happy days – it's summer!
Taste of Tasmania
Tassie’s big-ticket culinary event, Hobart's Taste of Tasmania is a frenzied waterfront food fest over a week around New Year’s Eve. It generates a huge buzz: grab a glass of something cold, a plate of something hot and tune in to some live bands.
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
The world’s most arduous open-ocean yacht race is the Sydney to Hobart, departing Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day. The winners sail into Hobart around 29 December…four days at sea is a good excuse for a party!
Tasmania’s biggest outdoor rock fest, the Falls Festival happens at Marion Bay south of Hobart around New Year’s Eve. Expect left-of-centre internationals and a slew of Australian talent (Fleet Foxes, Liam Gallagher, Angus & Julia Stone). BYO tent.
Cricket fans can catch Tasmania’s state team, the Tasmanian Tigers (www.crickettas.com.au/teams/tasmanian-tigers), cracking the willow over summer. In the quick-fire Big Bash League, the Hobart Hurricanes (www.hobarthurricanes.com.au) are good bang for your buck.