A lot of visitors to Tasmania think they need to visit in summer or risk freezing to death. But nothing could be further from the truth! Autumn is actually one of the best seasons to visit Tasmania with cool, dry days and crisp nights, eggshell-blue skies and the slow creep of red, gold and orange as the leaves start to turn.
A journey along Tasmania’s East Coast is an experience that includes 220 kilometres of stunning coastline, incredible national parks, world-famous beaches, award-winning walks, and views that will take your breath away. Add to this vibrant towns, lush vineyards, world-class mountain bike trails, fantastic food and fresh produce, and you have all the ingredients for the perfect autumn holiday.
For all of the reasons above (and many more), we’ve pinpointed 8 of the most glorious Autumn activities on the East Coast:
1. Taste your way along the East Coast Wine Trail
The vineyards are a-glow with colour at this time of year with the grape vines turning from glorious greens to vibrant oranges and yellows. The East Coast Wine trail is bustling with activity as vintage (harvesting wine grapes) gets underway, with the pickers picking fruit and the winemakers gathering the harvest, to commence the preparation of creating extraordinary cool-climate wine. Grape vines were first planted on Tasmania’s East Coast more than 180 years ago. Today, there are around 22 vineyards along the East Coast Wine Trail producing almost 100 unique wines across the region.
2. Get your camera geek on
With sunrise getting later and sunset getting earlier, the “magic light” times of day are definitely more civilised. Add to that the changing colours of the landscape and the softness of Autumn light (thanks to the changing angle of the sun) and you have yourself a festival of visual delight to help you get your creative buzz humming. You will be spoilt for choice – white sand beaches, crystal blue waters, abundant rainforests, waterfalls and natural bush, curious wildlife, towns rich in history and superb architecture just to name a few subjects. Autumn on the East Coast will ensure even the most amateur photographer has a gallery of insta-worthy shots.
3. Serpentine and scaly delights
The Serpentarium Wildlife Park in St Helens is definitely a crowd favourite and is lovingly described as East Coast’s 5-star hotel for reptiles. Here you will experience a world-class indoor display of exotic captive bred reptiles, and an all-weather adventure that will entertain both big and little kids alike. Be sure to say hello to the star tortoises and enjoy some interesting and surprising artefacts (you’ll also enjoy some of the security measures!). Get involved in the interactive and interpretive keeper presentation at 12 noon daily and enjoy a coffee and light lunch at Rio’s Cafe. Owners Matt and Jennifer’s passion for their work is so contagious, you will be hard pressed to walk away without a smile. Or if reptiles aren’t your thing, try something a little more furry at East Coast Natureworld at Bicheno.
4. Feasting on fresh produce
When you embark on the Great Eastern Drive, you’ll need to come with an appetite. This journey will lead you to many of Tasmania’s most delicious experiences in some of its most beautiful locations. Farm gates on the East Coast are about as diverse as you can imagine. The mild East Coast climate, clean ocean and fertile soils create an environment where Tasmania’s world-famous produce is grown in abundance – from fresh fruits and award-winning cheeses to premium seafood. Meet growers, farmers and makers to discover the stories behind the region’s sought-after produce and taste, buy and perhaps even cook your own fresh East Coast bounty. An Autumn experience like no other is our ECHO Festival – East Coast Harvest Odyssey, held in March each year set on the picturesque riverbanks in Cranbrook. ECHO Festival is an immersive weekend event, a coming together of community, culture, and culinary delights.
5. Take a step back in time
For all you history buffs, Tasmania’s East Coast is teeming with history and heritage. As the first municipality established in Australia after Hobart and Sydney, established in the 1820s as Waterloo Point, Swansea is one of Tasmania’s oldest townships. Leave the car behind and take a walk around town to admire the fine examples of colonial architecture along the self-guided walk through the town (taking time to browse the town’s shops and galleries along the way), or visit the East Coast Heritage Museum. Further north in St Helens, are two museums that we encourage you to explore Mainly Maritime and the St Helens History Room – perfect for those occasional cooler days. On Maria Island, the buildings of the Darlington Probation Station date back to the 1820s and are set in a beautiful natural environment.
6. Firelight fun
Who doesn’t love relaxing around a toasty fire? As the nights start getting cooler, the cosiness on the East Coast seeps in. Autumn is the perfect time to huddle around a fire, either indoor or out. There’s just something about enjoying good food, good wine and good company around an open fire. There are plenty of accommodation options that offer an open fire or fire pit for you to enjoy and get your “Tassie Festival” spirit on. And for those who love the great outdoors, there are a swag of camping options right along the East Coast – so get the marshmallows and guitar out around the campfire [be sure to check with Tasmania Parks and Wildlife for any restrictions around campfires].
6. Cruise the calm waters
With our warm afternoons and lessening sea breezes, Autumn is a perfect time to climb aboard and explore the East Coast by boat. Seeing our spectacular scenery from the water will take your East Coast experience to another level – it’s a must do! Our local wildlife is plentiful, and in late Autumn you will start seeing the whales migrating north with their babies. Freycinet Adventures is particularly spectacular in the Autumn months, but if you’d prefer a larger vessel, book with Wineglass Bay Cruises or Freycinet Sea Charters. In the north, near St Helens, explore with Bay of Fires Eco Tours. And in the south, experience Maria Island and Ile de Phoques with East Coast Cruises.
8. Take a walk
The days are usually still sunny and clear and the temperature in Autumn does tend to be a little lower, making it the perfect time of year for hiking. The headliner is always Wineglass Bay in the Freycinet National Park via the lookout or for the more experienced hikers, you might like to conquer Mount Amos for those iconic views. There is an abundance of choice when it comes to walking on the East Coast, with each town featuring local township walks for you to explore or experience any number of our Great Short Walks. Wander the convict trails around Orford, the loontitetermairrelehoiner in Swansea or Georges Bay in St Helens. Or go bigger and explore in style with a guided walk from Freycinet Experience Walk, Maria Island 4 Day Walk, or Wukalina Walk.
So whatever you have in mind for an Autumn adventure, it is a beautiful time of year to travel to the East Coast. See you soon!
Photo Credits: Puddlehub; Why Then How; The Serpentarium Wildlife Park; Tourism Australia