We are planning our first trip to Australia, and right now we are limited to American summers. That translates, of course, to Australian winters. I understand that most people visit the northern areas in winter, and we plan to do so. Many of our friends have fallen in love with Tasmania, though. Would it be worth our while to travel to Tasmania in winter, or should we wait until we can go in another season? Besides just enjoying the beauty of Tasmania, we are particularly interested in wildlife spotting, and it doesn't seem that winter is the best season for this. Is it just the mountain peaks that are snow-covered, or is snow in the lowlands common also?
What do you think about a winter visit to Tasmania?
I love this website, by the way. Such a caring, mature, knowledgeable sharing of experiences!
I've emailed your question to a friend of mine who lives in Tasmania.
I'll let you know what he replies with.
"Well I’d definitely recommend visiting in winter provided the people in question aren’t expecting tropical temperatures.
It’s only the mountains and central highlands that get partial or full snow coverage. The lowest it snows in winter is maybe the 200m level at the most, with the odd snowfall at sea level once every 30 years or something crazy. It’s no different here in winter than it would be in Melbourne or Canberra.
Winter is a great time to stay at Cradle Mountain if they are looking for animals and snow, within a World Heritage Area. But anywhere in Tasmania has an abundance of wildlife. You only have to go walking on any bush track to hear and see wallabies and a range of other native animals. I wouldn’t even know where to start in terms of recommending places to go – they wouldn’t have any troubles put it that way."
Hope that helps.
I live in Tasmania and for the most part (unless you are extremely unlucky) it wont normally rain much (except on the West Coast)but it isn't normally any warmer than about 10-12C maximum in winter. It'll depend on the area you visit as to how bad the weather actually is. On the West Coast it rains a lot more than the rest of the state and is considerably colder (regularly reaches as low as -7C in a couple of places around that area). On the East Coast it is many degrees warmer and far less rain and little or no snow.
Like James' friend said their is heaps of wildlife to see and Cradle Mountain is great for snow in winter. Mount Wellington is also great in winter with a lot of nice walking tracks and also snow up high on the mountain. After a snow on Mount Wellington, you could normally drive as far up as the Springs which is approx 600metres above sea level, but if the mountain has any major amount of snow the gates will normally be closed across the road at the springs. On the west coast the snow often gets lower than in the south, but you have about as much chance of getting struck by lightening and surviving as you do of it snowing to sea level in Tasmania!
This year in the Hobart area we had two decent snows that settled about as low as 500m (and one of those happened to be approx a week ago), the rest of the time it just covered the top of Mount Wellington if any was there. We rarely even have more than a brief sprinkling of rain in winter (I haven't even had to use my rain coat once this year. It has rained a few times though). Bring a warm jacket, woollen gloves and maybe a beanie and that should keep you warm enough and of course bring a rain jacket incase you are unlucky.
[ Edit: Edited on Sep 8, 2007, at 3:35 AM by aharrold45 ]
Thank you so much for the good advice regarding visiting Tasmania in Winter. I was looking at Tasmania's latitude, and it is not so awfully different from mine in Northern California. Your descriptions of the weather and hours of darkness sound much the same, though maybe a little chillier. I don't mind wearing a jacket.
I'm definitely not interested in skiing. In fact, since we will be driving on the opposite side of the road, I'd prefer to avoid snow altogether. I don't need more than one challenge at a time! I was concerned, though, that the wildlife would be inactive and invisible during cold winter months.
Thanks again for your input. My husband and I will consider your comments as we plan our trip. The only time I look forward to retirement in a couple of years is when I find my travel schedule hindered by my school calendar. It's really getting in my way! ;-)