When planning a trip to Tasmania, one of the most important factors to consider is the time of year to visit. I have visited Tasmania multiple times, and I believe the best time to visit depends on your interests and preferences. The weather, crowds, and activities vary greatly throughout the year. In this article, I will provide insights into the best time to visit Tasmania based on my personal experience and research.
Weather in Tasmania
When planning a trip to Tasmania, the weather is an important factor to consider. If you imagined Australia was warm all year round, think again.
Tasmania has a temperate maritime climate, which means that the weather can vary greatly depending on the season and location. However, regardless of when you plan to visit Tasmania, you should be prepared for a range of weather conditions and pack accordingly, including warm and rainproof clothes, even if you’re going there in summer.
During the summer season from December to February, maximum temperatures in Tasmania average between 20°C to 24°C (approximately 68°F to 75°F) along the coast and valleys west of Hobart. The warmest locations can regularly rise above 25°C (77°F), but it can get cold at night, especially in places like Cradle Mountain where temperatures can drop to around 5°C (41°F) in the middle of summer with the altitude.
The cooler months of June to August bring cold temperatures that often get close to (0°C 32°F). And it of course drops below freezing in the mountain areas.
Rainfall is also an important consideration when planning a trip to Tasmania. The state has a reputation for being wet, but the amount of rainfall can vary greatly depending on the location and time of year. Generally, the summer months of December to February are drier, while the winter months of June to August are the wettest. The shoulder seasons of March to May and September to November can also bring a mix of sunny days and rainy weather.
Some places, like Cradle Mountain, have a high risk of rain throughout the year, but it’s relatively lower in summer.
Seasons in Tasmania
Tasmania has four distinct seasons, each with its own unique charm. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect during each season.
Summer in Tasmania
Summer in Tasmania, from December to February, is the most popular time to visit the island. The weather is warm and sunny, with average temperatures ranging from 20°C to 25°C (approximately 68°F to 77°F). It’s the perfect time for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and swimming in the beautiful waters of the island’s many beaches. You’ll also have the highest chance of seeing the iconic Cradle Mountain with a blue sky, and it’s a great time to spot little penguins.
However, it’s also the busiest time of year, so expect to see a lot of people at the most visited places in Tasmania and higher prices for accommodation and activities. It’s best to book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
Autumn in Tasmania
Autumn, from March to May, is a quieter time to visit Tasmania. The weather is mild, with average temperatures ranging from 12°C to 20°C (53°F to 68°F). The leaves on the trees turn vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow, making it a beautiful time to explore Tasmania’s forests and parks.
Autumn is also the season for food and wine lovers, with the ECHO (East Coast Harvest Odyssey) Festival celebrating Tasmania’s delicious local produce.
Winter in Tasmania
Winter, from June to August, is the coldest and wettest time of year in Tasmania. Average temperatures range from 3°C to 11°C (37°F to 52°F), and it’s not uncommon to experience snowfall and below-freezing temperatures in higher elevations. Outdoor activities will need to be planned carefully, and some road closures may occur.
If you’re hoping to see the Southern Lights, then this is the season to visit. However, it’s important to manage your expectations, as sightings of the Southern Lights are rare and not always easily visible to the naked eye, often leading to disappointment when compared to stunning photos.
Spring in Tasmania
Spring, from September to November, is a beautiful time to visit Tasmania. The weather is mild, with average temperatures ranging from 9°C to 18°C (48°F to 64°F). The island bursts into bloom with colourful wildflowers and cherry blossoms.
Why I believe summer is the best time to visit Tasmania
I believe the summer months, from December to February, are the best time to visit Tasmania, even if it’s the peak season with more tourists and higher prices. The weather is warmer, and the days are longer, making it perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking and camping, which are always a focus when I visit Tasmania. If you prefer to visit when there are fewer tourists, then consider visiting Tasmania in the shoulder seasons from March to May or September to November. During these months, you still have a chance of pleasant weather, and there are fewer tourists, making it easier to explore the attractions without the crowds.
When to avoid crowds in Tasmania
Although I believe the best time to visit this beautiful island is when the crowds are at their lowest, we once visited Tasmania in the heart of the peak season and still had an amazing time. Here are some tips to help you avoid crowds during your visit to Tasmania.
Australian School and Public Holidays
If you want to avoid the crowds, it’s best to avoid travelling to Tasmania during Australian school and public holidays, mostly around Easter and the Christmas break. During these times, the island is packed with tourists, and accommodation prices skyrocket.
Events and festivals in Tasmania
Tasmania is known for its many events and festivals throughout the year, which can attract crowds. Some of the most popular events include the Taste of Summer food festival in December and January, just after the Sydney to Hobart race arrival, the Festivale in February, the Dark Mofo winter festival in June, and the MONA FOMA music and arts festival in January. If you want quiet, it’s best to plan your visit outside of these event dates.
The cheapest time to visit Tasmania
Tasmania may not be the easiest destination for budget travel, but if you’re on a budget, the cheapest time to visit will depend on your travel style.
From a quick search, the winter months of June to August may appear to be the cheapest time to visit Tasmania. Prices for flights, accommodation, and activities are generally lower during this period. However, it’s important to consider that some trails and roads may be closed due to weather conditions, limiting your ability to experience everything Tasmania has to offer. Sure, Tasmania’s winter landscapes can be quite beautiful, with snow-capped mountains and frosty forests. But if you won’t have the opportunity to come back during the warmer months, then it’s not the best time to travel to Tasmania.
When I did my first lap of Tasmania on a budget, we travelled as a group with two vehicles: a car with people sleeping in tents and a very basic mini-van. We looked for free or cheap stops for the night, mostly in national parks. It significantly lowered our accommodation budget. This type of travel would absolutely not be possible during the colder and wetter winter months.
In my opinion, the shoulder seasons outside of school holidays offer a good balance of affordability and favourable weather conditions. These shoulder seasons, from March to May and September to November, have fewer tourists, making it easier to find affordable accommodation and explore the island without the crowds.