It’s a winter wonderland in Tasmania, with a wild and fascinating range of experiences from artisanal food and small-batch whisky tours to the infamous Dark Mofo festival. Plan your mid-year visit with this calendar of events.

Dark Mofo

Perhaps one of the most interesting and avant garde festivals in the entire world, Dark Mofo is a celebration of the winter solstice in which Tasmania comes alive with artists, exhibitions, parades and much more. The exhibitions will shock and stun you as you enter this weird and wacky playground. Revolving around the famous Museum of Old and New Art, the festival also incorporates a public art playground at Dark Park, international musicians and artists performing around the city, and a costume ball. It is a heady three weeks of festivities, and highlights for travellers often include the annual City of Hobart Dark Mofo Winter Feast on Hobart’s waterside docks, the ogoh-ogoh parade in which giant intricate and ornate lanterns and floats are burnt on the solstice night, and the annual Nude Solstice Swim, where hundreds of brave souls plunge into the River Derwent at sunrise to welcome back the return of the light after the longest night.

Festival of Voices

Don’t worry, the festivities don’t come to an end after Dark Mofo – it’s immediately followed by the Festival of Voices. Australia’s premier celebration of voices attracts thousands of singers, choristers and music lovers from across Australia and overseas to perform in Tasmania’s concert halls, theatres and public spaces. For twelve years they have presented a remarkable program of performances and vocal workshops run by critically acclaimed artists, creating a festival experience like no other. The festival highlight is the City of Hobart Big Sing Bonfire: pack a warm jacket and gather around the huge bonfire for musical performances and communal singing on a magical winter’s evening.

Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival

If you’re looking for real local grub, the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Fest celebrates the best of Tasmanian produce. Based in Willie Smith’s Apple Shed, just south of Hobart, visitors can try craft ciders, artisan cheeses, local wines, Tassie-style BBQ and a range of sweet treats, while enjoying music and storytelling. The festival celebrates the region’s apple picking history, and wassailing is a big part of this festival. It’s an age-old tradition of scaring nasties out of apple trees (yes, it involves reciting incantations, banging pots and pans and singing through the orchard and giving gifts to the trees) to bring about a good harvest for the upcoming year. There are also prizes for the best pagan-style costumes, where fur and feathers are always winners.

Chocolate Winterfest

For those who have a sweet tooth, head to Latrobe in the northern part of Tasmania for the Chocolate Winterfest. The festival features local producers selling their delicious goods, alongside events such as chocolate bingo, a chocolate chilli competition, a chocolate brunch and a cake-decorating competition. This festival was inspired by the House of Anvers Chocolate Factory which was established in 1989 by Belgian immigrant, Igor Van Gerwin, who used Tasmanian cocoa beans and slave-free beans from Peru. You’ll sample some of the finest chocolates in the world in the form of cakes, fudge, truffles, pralines and, of course, delicious hot chocolate. If the cold hasn’t gotten to you, be brave and try the ice-cream.

Tasmanian Whisky Week

Warm your cockles at Tasmanian Whisky Week. The event showcases the finest local whiskies. Throughout this weeklong event, distilleries will open their doors to host behind-the-scene tours and give you access to unreleased whiskies in their special reserves. The festival also plays host to a whisky-pairing degustation dinner, a night of storytelling, a female distiller-focused night, multiple cocktail evenings, and their signature event, an exclusive weekend of luxury whisky immersion.

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