drinking red wine by fire pit

7 ways to beat the winter blues

Don’t sit at home pining for brighter days. This winter, embrace these cold-weather delights.

Not so many years ago, Tasmania all but hibernated through winter. Darkness set in, the blinds came down, and everybody yearned for summer. Today, the ways to embrace the Tasmanian winter are myriad.

Dig for truffle treasure

In winter, the truffle dogs are on the scent, and the truffles are ready to be dug at Australia’s first truffle farm. Guided by the dogs, you kneel and begin to pull at the soil, digging for rare black truffles. A Winter Warmer tour at The Truffle Farm, near Deloraine, takes you on a 90-minute hunt, unearthing these treasures of the earth with your own hands. Warm up after the hunt with a truffle tasting, a baked truffle brie and some red wine around the farm’s fire pit.

Light up dark history

In winter, darkness falls quickly over the ghosts of Sarah Island, and that’s when the tales of torment begin. This season, World Heritage Cruises is running evening sailings across Macquarie Harbour to the tiny island, where you step ashore with lanterns and into tales as dark as the night sky. The winter-only trip is guided by actors from Strahan’s long-running play The Ship That Never Was, bringing to life (or death) the stories of one of Australia’s most notorious convict settlements. The local whisky, gin and beer back aboard the boat will help chase away the chill.

Truffle dogs are on the scent
Sarah Island

Credit: @tlcsimply

Candles & Cider

Discover the dark side of cider, with a uniquely winter visit to Brady’s Lookout Cider. Set on a Rosevears farm growing more than 85 rare apple varieties, the cidery cellar door is situated inside a mill built into the slopes of a hill. An Embrace the Dark winter tour begins in faint candlelight, but all light is extinguished when you’re blindfolded for a tasting of aged ciders matched with Tasmanian chocolates – one sense shut off to heighten the sensitivity of another. The visit concludes with a tour of the cider mill.

Winter on wukalina

Wukalina Walk’s winter walk brings together much of the best of its longer summer trips. Spend time on Country with palawa guides and Elders on the two-night, three-day trip along the larapuna/Bay of Fires coastline. Staying in the lighthouse keeper’s cottage at Eddystone Point, the walk includes a climb of wukalina/ Mt William, and exploration of the important cultural sites and middens around Eddystone Point. There’s also a visit to the architect-designed krakani lumi camp for cultural activities such as shell stringing and kelp basket-making, with traditional foods such as muttonbird on the dinner menu.

Ripe and ready

Credit: ArtBoyMB

The cosy krakani lumi camp hut

Credit: Rob Burnett

It's a dog's life

Few activities evoke winter quite like dog sledding, and while Tasmania might not have the deep snow of the northern hemisphere, it does have the sled dogs. Dryland dogsledding with Huon Valley-based Sled Dog Adventures will put you on wheels behind a team of eight to 10 enthusiastic huskies for a spin around the River’s Edge Wilderness Campground. The longer Forest Adventure heads into the tall bush, following trails for an hour behind the dogs. The trips end around a campfire, in the company of your dogs.

What lurks beneath

Mole Creek Karst National Park is punctured with an array of caves that are fascinating in any season, but add a splash of water and they become wonderlands. Winter spelunking trips with Wild Caves Tours delve underground into two of Mole Creek’s caves that are undeveloped for tourism – wild chambers that burst into life after winter rains when waterfalls seep into the caves, pools reflect the cave magnificence around them, and fern gardens and moss are reinvigorated.

Enjoying a ride with Sled Dog Adventures

Credit: Sled Dog Adventures

Mole Creek's caves

Credit: @isabel_jewellery

Cook up a feast

Warm up from the inside out with a winter warmer masterclass at the Farmhouse Kitchen. With her Puglian background, cook Guiliana White leads her Huon Valley cooking school with the traditions of southern Italian cooking combined with fresh-from-the- ground Tasmanian produce. The masterclass brings together garden goodness to create an authentic minestrone, followed by a simple and delicious risotto and a couple of surprise Italian dishes. Delizioso.

Perfect winter food

Credit: haoliang