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What do you do on the East Coast in Winter?

Each year we try to think of another creative way to approach it, but we have to admit – it’s getting tougher to come up with anything other than the stone-cold truth…

We do exactly the same things in Winter as we do for the rest of the year! We are just doing it with less people, and more clothes, or a thicker wetsuit on.

Summer is fun with its long days and happy masses, but as the days shorten, the air freshens, and holiday makers disperse – the inclination to hibernate and rejuvenate is strong. Dinners are earlier, gatherings are more intimate, fires crackle and wine is red (or perhaps even “redder”).

What to do in Winter on the East Coast Tasmania

Fire, food and wine at Twamley Farm, Buckland. Credit: Michelle Crawford

Travellers arrive armed with books, paints, pencils, cameras and any number of creative tools, prepared for short bursts of activity and long sessions of disconnecting and unwinding. We welcome them with open arms.

They are a different breed of traveller, the winter adventurer. The cold weather champions. The “happy to be anywhere and do nothing and everything with anyone or no-one” type people. The off season people.

Things to do in Winter on East Coast Tasmania - Crusing

Cruising the winter waters, Wineglass Bay Cruises. Credit: Puddlehub

The temperature of the water may be less enticing, but the beaches are just as beautiful. We still walk on them most days, dip our toes in on the warmer afternoons, (surf or body board occasionally), we still search for treasures, explore rockpools, build sand castles, cleanse our minds and bodies by breathing in the salty goodness that is the sea air.

We still go fishing, surfing, bushwalking, bike riding, kayaking, 4 wheel motorbiking, animal visiting, wine tasting, cruising, exploring, and camping.

Things to do in Winter on East Coast Tasmania - Surfing

Surfing at Friendly Beaches. Credit: Puddlehub

And after adventuring in the fresh winter air, coming home to snuggle in and be warm and cosy is that much more satisfying. The lucky ones sip a glass of red, or perhaps a whisky by a fire. The rest of us settle for our hot toddies.

Here’s a few winter warmer suggestions for you:

  • Feel the cold. A friend casually surveyed his guests during a season a few years ago, particularly those from warmer climates, he wondered what bought them to Tasmania in Winter. More often than not, the answer was simply that they wanted to feel the cold. So inhale fresh, cool, salty air. Relish in the comfort of layers. Delight in that fact that your hairstyle has been reduced to “chuck on a beanie”. Laugh at each others noses when they turn pink. Feel the “rosy” return to your cheeks.
  • Go for a walk, there are a plethora to choose from. Wherever you are on the coast, whether it’s 10 minutes or 3 days. Walking is so much more enjoyable in a cooler climate. Or take an evening wildlife spotting stroll. You almost need to wait until midnight to manage this in summer, but the shorter days in Winter make it so much easier.
What to do in Winter on the East Coast Tasmania - HIking and walking. Mt Amos, Wineglass Bay

Hiking to Mt Amos, Wineglass Bay. Image: Puddlehub

  • Enjoy some art and history. There are galleries and museums scattered all the way up and down the East Coast. From the Spring Bay Studio and Gallery at Triabunna, through to Swansea and Bicheno, and then onto St Helens, with the Mainly Maritime Museum and home of The Bay of Fires Winter Arts Festival which happens annually on the long weekend in June.
  • Savour all the food, and all the drink. The cellar doors are toasty, a couple of them even have fireplaces. Eating your fish and chips in Bicheno, out doors, next to an open fire takes the flavour to the next level, or if cheese and hot chocolates are more your style, Pyengana Dairy Company has a cosy fireplace for cold winter days.  Oh, and keep your radar tuned for news on the Great Eastern Wine Week, 3-13 September 2021.
  • Fire-friendly camping. Often a no go in Summer, a lot more camping options are fire-friendly during the Winter months, Freycinet Paintball and Campground even provide the wood. Or watch the sun set next to a toasty fire at Cosy Corner.
Things to do in Winter on East Coast Tasmania - Campfires, camping, Cosy Corner beach

Camping at Cosy Corner Beach, Binalong Bay. Credit: Big Shed Studios

  • Stay somewhere with a fire pit, or a fire barrel, or just a fire. The Beach House at St Helens has a fire both inside and out; Picnic Island has a fire place suspended in mid-air, and all of Twamley Farm’s accommodation options have fire pots, and they offer complimentary dark chocolate buds and marshmallows so guests can enjoy luscious hot chocolates while toasting marshmallows by the fire.
  • Spot a whale or ten. Each year, between May and November, humpback and southern right whales can often been seen along the coast, during their annual migration. There are some great lookouts all along the East Coast including Cape Tourville Lighthouse, or jump board one of the local cruises to get up close and personal.
  • Go for a bike ride. Tasmania’s East Coast is a classic cycle-friendly destination. The region’s mild climate, gently curving roads and incredible views create a superb environment for bike touring. If hitting mountain bike tracks is more your thing, the sandy soil and mild climate on the coast is perfect for winter riding and also means that the St Helens MTB trails don’t need to close during Winter.
Things to do in Winter East Coast Tasmania - Mountain Bike Riding St Helens

Carving the tracks at St Helens Mountain Bike Trails, St Helens. Credit: Flow MTB

Speaking of which, we have some really great little cafes that make exceptionally fabulous hot chocolates. Tasting and debating hot chocolates along the coast has become one of our favourite office conversations…

There are probably a couple of winter practicalities to note:

  • Slow down, stay longer, allow more time in between destinations. You’ll thank us!
  • The weather is more changeable than you think. It’s possible to both freeze and get sunburnt on the same day, so layer up to layer down. Bring both a beanie and a sun hat. Locals are identifiable by their clothing alone;
    • Jackets will have pockets big enough to fit a beanie and a t-shirt or 2,
    • They will be wearing several light-weight tops instead of one big warm one and their winter boots will work with either pants, shorts or a skirt, (and they may be wearing all three at the start of the day)
    • Our climate is incredibly mild, but it can still slow things down. And if it doesn’t, don’t worry – you will not run out of things to do
    • To avoid disappointment, make a few calls or emails prior to travelling to make sure anything you really want to do is going to be available. Booking ahead is good.
    • Bring a camera. This place is breathtaking.
Things to do in Winter East Coast Tasmania - Coffee over looking the Hazards Freycinet National Park

Morning coffee overlooking the Hazards, Freycinet National Park. Credit: Why Then How

Things to do in Winter East Coast Tasmania - family fun at the Bay of Fires beach holiday

Family fun at the Bay of Fires. Credit: Why Then How

What to do in Winter on the East Coast Tasmania - taking in the scenery sunset

Sunrise, Cape Tourville Lighthouse.

 

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