Planning Your Visit
When planning a trip to Tasmania from another state or country, it is important to remember that as Tasmania is Australia's smallest state, there is no destination in Tasmania that is more than 5 drive from Launceston, and in fact most take half that amount of time to get to. Scenery in Tasmania changes from one region to another, so it is possible to sample a variety of Tasmania's vistas and landscapes within the space of a day or two spent out of Launceston.
More than anywhere else in Australia, Tasmania enjoys four seasons, each with its own unique pleasures and appeal so there is no "best time" to visit. It all depends on what you want to see and experience.
Summer (December, January, February) is festival time Festivale in Launceston, Taste of Tasmania in Hobart, with small local fairs across the state. Being below the 40th parallel means Tasmania's summer evenings have long languid twilights.
Summer is the peak tourist season, so there is plenty to see and do, but there are also plenty of other people around on holidays seeking to do the same thing. Accommodation is at a premium and all travel and accommodation needs to be booked well in advance (six months before travel is not unreasonable) to avoid disappointment.
Autumn (March, April, May) is a mellow season with calm, sunny days, and the best time to sample some of the best, fresh Tasmanian produce at events like the Taste of the Huon and Agfest, or join in the excitement of Targa Tasmania.
Autumn is known for its rich harvest colours as 200 year-old oaks, elms, birches and Tasmania's own native beech turn from gold to red in preparation for winter. After easter, the big crowds diminish, there is plenty of accommodation available (and it's almost never booked out) with much of it at shoulder or off-peak rates. At this time, the airlines often offer cheap fares, so if you want to see Tasmania but on a budget, the months between Easter and the onset of Winter is ideal.
Winter (June, July, August) is the time to relax indoors by a log fire, or head out for an invigorating walk and then sit down to a delicious Tasmanian meal. You can join with the locals at the Longest Night Film Festival and Antarctica Mid-Winter Festival in June and be warmed by serenading voices at Hobart s Festival of the Voices, or indulge at the Chocolate Winterfest, in Latrobe, in July.
Because Tasmania sits in the Southern Ocean, which is the world's weather engine, the climate can vary greatly on any given day in winter. It can be sunny yet cool, and doesn't rain all the time, so your chances of some pleasant sightseeing are very high. The cold weather does bring snow to the highlands; Tasmania has a number of ski resorts where the snow falls are put to good use.
Be aware that some tour operators close down between June and September, so if you plan to visit Tasmania in winter, check to see whether any tours you are interested in are still operational before you make any bookings. An up side is that accommodation is often discounted and in plentious supply.
Spring (September, October, November) is the season of cool, fresh and green countryside, the sweet scent of gardens in bloom, the bite of fish on a lure. Blooming Tasmania begins with tulip festivals in the north and south and continues through until May.
Southern Tasmania's climate is mild and pleasant with four distinct seasons, each with its own special pleasures. Summer is mild and pleasant, with warm afternoons and long twilights. Autumn is calm, sunny and cool. Winter is brisk and bracing with snow dusting the high peaks and the air is crisp and clear. Spring is cool, fresh and green with daffodils and apple blossom brighten the countryside. Being in the southern hemisphere, summer is December to February. The weather is most stable from the end of summer to autumn (February to April).
Mean summer maximum temperature: 21.1°C
Mean summer minimum temperature: 11.9°C
Mean winter maximum temperature: 12.5°C
Mean winter minimum temperature: 5.4°C
Mean annual rainfall: 628mm
Wettest month on average: October, 63mm
Driest month on average: February, 40mm