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Beerfests, Biennials, Bird Counts and a Bloomin’ Festival: What’s on in Tasmania This Spring

August 23, 2014 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

401344_num993040_600x600From the southern coast to the silver screen, Tassie promises a season of surprises this Spring. As artists unlock Launceston’s hidden spaces at the annual Junction Arts Festival, bird lovers are prepping to enter uncharted territory at the Bruny Island Bird Festival’s first ever 24-hour Twitchathon!

Meanwhile, Queenstown’s Heritage & Arts biennial invites the state to celebrate a very special centenary, and screen mavens nationwide are casting votes for the best new Devil shorts, set to debut at the Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival. Bicheno will be readying the catch for its annual Food and Wine Festival while Hobart’s waterfront transforms into a hub for tastebuds—from a 150-metre long beer garden to a vineyard tour without the road trip. And with Summer still around the corner, it’s the season to get excited about mud. Whether you’re meeting it face first in the Raw Challenge obstacle course, or toasting Tassie’s volcanic soil at Wynyard’s spectacular Bloomin’ Tulips Festival.


From bridges to boats, perfumeries to abandoned buildings, the Junction Arts Festival is set to pop up in hidden and unexpected spaces across Launceston this September. With a focus on performance and site-specific happenings, the festival invites audiences to experience art up close—and help to create it, too. The five-day program invites leading local, national and international artists to present new works that blur the boundaries between theatre, live performance, dance, visual and media art, music and literature. From a café-based crafternoon with the Rogue Tailor to an outdoor cinema costume contest, a ‘Walking Tour of Incidental Encounters’ and a live car-painting performance, Junction is all about inventing new ways to experience art and the city.

WHAT: A five-day celebration of contemporary and participatory art, music and performance401344_num993038_600x600

WHEN: 10–14 September 2014

WHERE: Hidden venues and spaces throughout Launceston

HOW: Free events as well as ticketed shows. For bookings and more information visit


Since the first gold discovery at Mount Lyell in 1881, Queenstown’s culture has been deeply linked to its industry—from the ore-hauling origins of the West Coast Wilderness Railway to the infamous all-gravel Queenstown footy oval. The biennial Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival invites artists to respond to this fascinating history, and 2014’s program will explore the theme ‘Power of Water’ as the state joins in to toast the centenary of Lake Margaret—Australia’s oldest operating hydroelectric power station. This year’s large-scale installations will include Undercurrents, a light and sound piece by South Australian studio Illuminart presenting the story of the Lake Margaret Power Station via a 3D animation projected onto the façade of Queenstown’s famous Empire Hotel.

WHAT: A biennial cultural festival celebrating Queenstown’s heritage and community

WHEN: 10–12 October 2014

WHERE: Venues throughout Queenstown

HOW: Program launches 30 August at the 2014 Gala Ball. For more information or to book tickets to the Gala Ball, visit


In late September, tulip season arrives in the North West coastal town of Wynyard, bringing with it a three-week celebration of bloomin’ colour. The 13-million-year-old volcanic plateau known as Table Cape shelters Wynyard from the strait, while providing one of the world’s ideal tulip-growing environments. In fact, bulbs grown here are even exported to the Netherlands. The community’s three-week Spring fling includes markets, dinners, film screenings and Table Cape Tulip Farm tours, culminating in the day-long Bloomin’ Tulips Festival on 11 October. Beginning with a Colour Run – in which white-clad racers are spattered with rainbows of colour every 500 metres, the festival features live music, carousel rides, a tulip-throwing competition, flower-shaped stilt walkers and a spectacular fireworks display over the Inglis River.

WHAT: Celebrating tulip season, and everything colourful about Wynyard in Spring

WHEN: 11 October 2014

WHERE: Wynyard

HOW: Entry is free. For more information about the day’s events,


One of the highlights on Tasmania’s tasting calendar, the annual White Wine Weekend brings the south’s best vignerons and winemakers to Hobart’s waterfront for two days of tastings in the Henry Jones Art Hotel. Glass and notebook in hand, visitors can sample their way through the region’s finest cool climate whites—from sauvignon blancs, sparklings and rieslings to chardonnays, schönburgers, pinot gris and rosés. Like a vineyard tour without the road trip, this annual event is a rare chance to experience the breadth of southern Tasmania’s world-renowned growing region and meet the makers along the way.

WHAT: Southern Tasmania’s best winemakers present a weekend of white-wine tastings

WHEN: 18–19 October 2014, 12–5pm each day

WHERE: Henry Jones Art Hotel, Hobart

HOW: Tickets include all tastings, a complete tasting booklet, a crystal Plumm glass, a pen and entry into a door prize. For more information,


Culminating in a 24-hour ‘Twitchathon’, the Bruny Island Bird Festival promises four days of feathered fun in Tasmania’s spectacular south-east wilderness. The third annual festival will feature bird surveys, exhibitions, poetry readings and a sculpture competition. Bird watchers are invited to join a trip to Partridge Island in an amphibious boat to help survey the area’s forty spotted pardalote colonies. Photographers can join renowned nature snapper Chris Tzaros on a workshop and bus tour, while the Inala Nature Reserve will welcome bird lovers of all stripes to explore its newly opened Nature Museum and Jurassic Garden. Or twitchers can pick up some tips on a guided walk around the Labillardiere Estate with swift parrot researcher Dejan Stojanovic. A perfect warm-up for the inaugural Twitchathon: a 24-hour competitive bird-counting event happening across the island.

WHAT: A four-day festival of cultural activities, walks and talks celebrating Bruny Island’s birdlife

WHEN: 23–26 October 2014

WHERE: Venues, gardens and national parks across Bruny Island

HOW: Includes both free and ticketed events. Visit to view the full program, plan an itinerary and book tickets.


With its natural amphitheatre setting, the legendary Baskerville Raceway in Hobart’s northern suburbs might just be the perfect location for a Raw Challenge. The open-entry obstacle race promises “fitness, fun and friends”. And mud. Lots of mud. The 8-kilometre course is open to anyone and everyone who wants to test their strength, stamina and agility (and, afterwards, their laundry detergent) on more than 30 obstacles including dirt mounds, monkey bars, trapezes, rope mazes and water pits. There are family-friendly festivities throughout the day and plenty of race start times, including a special competition for kids aged 7 to 12. Once they’ve braved the course, all competitors collect a ‘Conquered’ dog tag to adorn their proudly mud-stained outfits.

WHAT: An epic outdoor obstacle course for anyone who wants to have fun and get dirty

WHEN: 25 October 2014, first challenge 8.30am

WHERE: Baskerville Raceway, Old Beach (25 minutes from Hobart)

HOW: Tickets start at $59. For bookings and more information,


With its volcanic soils and cool temperate climate, Tasmania is an incredible sight in Sspring—and the grounds of Stanley’s historic Highfield House are no exception. Backdropped by an epic Bass Strait view, the estate will host a day-long gardening celebration featuring speakers, plant stalls, creative floral installations and an appearance by Tino Carnavale of Gardening Australia. A new event for the North West, the Garden Spectacular will also showcase the region’s best food and wine, inviting four local chefs to man the wood-fired ovens and create a changing menu throughout the day. Even the Tasmanian Royal Botanic Gardens will be in on the action, bringing a crop of their famous heritage tomato plants grown especially for sale on the day.

WHAT: A showcase of the North West Coast’s best plants and produce, set in the stunning grounds of Highfield House

WHEN: 25 October 2014, 9am–5pm

WHERE: Highfield Historic Site, Stanley

HOW: Entry is $10 for adults and free for children under 16.


It’s all hands on deck in Deloraine each Spring when the picturesque town plays host to the largest working craft fair in the southern hemisphere. Thousands of visitors watch, wander and even taste their way through more than 220 stalls, as artisans and producers demonstrate their handiwork—from aluminium moulding, wood-turning and black-smithing to fudge-making, pickling and preserving. This year’s feature exhibits include an installation by conceptual artist and Tasmanian Senior Australian of the Year Christina Henri, who will draw from her collection of over 23 000 convict bonnets to tell stories from Tassie’s colonial past. Meanwhile, local acoustic timbers will be put to fascinating use (as ukuleles, lap-steel guitars and bouzoukis) in a showcase of the state’s best instrument makers. A four-day event, the fair comes to life across 12 venues in Deloraine, giving craft fans plenty of time to explore, and enjoy some gourmet pit stops along the way.

WHAT: Australia’s largest showcase of hand-produced arts and crafts

WHEN: 31 October to 3 November 2014

WHERE: Twelve venues across Deloraine

HOW: Tickets from $10 for adults and $7 for children, available at any one of the gates during the event. A free shuttle bus departs each venue every half hour. Full program and map will be available at closer to the event.


As Sspring breezes in, Launceston’s Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival (BOFA) invites artists, musicians, filmmakers and digital storytellers to help celebrate the world’s best screen-based works. Tasmania’s largest film festival is unique in scope, embracing the new ways we all discover and experience moving images—whether they’re stories made for cinema, television or the internet. Alongside a program of documentaries and feature films, the festival presents workshops, debates and the annual BOFA Devil short film award. This year, the winning short film will be chosen by a national panel of film lovers recruited through a crowd-sourcing promotion ‘You Be the Short Film Judge’. Audiences will see the top thirty at the festival, screened across the four-day program in and around Inveresk.

WHAT: A four-day film program of fascinating stories and fresh perspectives that inspire positive social change

WHEN: 6–9 November 2014

WHERE: Inveresk Precinct, Launceston

HOW: Single and multi-pass tickets available now at or in-store at Neil Pitt’s Menswear, 76 Brisbane Street, Launceston. Opening Night film and after-party tickets $65.


Is Tassie top of the hops? Thousands of visitors like judging for themselves each year when the Tasmanian International Beerfest descends on Hobart’s waterfront. Attracting local, mainland and international breweries, the festival offers a friendly chance to meet the makers, taste the product, and pit Australian craft beers against the world’s best. But Beerfest doesn’t stop at beer. This year the event promises master classes, live music, a showcase of craft ciders, and a 150-metre-long waterfront beer garden. How long? Well, according to the organisers, “You could line-up 2500 stubbies along the water’s edge and still have room for a chair or two to sit on and enjoy your favourite lager!” A palate-altering experience for craft beer lovers of all persuasions.

WHAT: Australia’s biggest beer festival celebrates the best local and international craft beer

WHEN: 14–15 November 2014

WHERE: Princes Wharf No. 1, Hobart

HOW: Single-day tickets $35, two-day tickets $50, non-drinkers $10. Each ticket includes ten tasting tokens and a tasting glass. to book.


Tasmania’s East Coast might be renowned for its pristine beaches and photogenic wilderness, but the locals will tell you it tastes as good as it looks. Bringing producers, chefs and food lovers together for a day-long celebration, the annual Bicheno Food and Wine Festival returns this November with a packed program of tastings, demonstrations, music and treats. Held on the waterfront in Lions Park, the festival invites visitors to nibble their way through the region’s world-famous mussels, oysters and crayfish. Or, for those after sweeter treats, a pop-up café dedicated entirely to chocolate cake. With some of Tasmania’s best blues and roots musicians on the stage and everything from face painting to a vintage surfboard exhibit happening in the park, there’s a lot to see in a single day. But those who haven’t succumbed to a digestive nap by late afternoon will witness history: the trophy presentation for Bicheno’s inaugural Home Brew competition, sponsored by the East Coast’s own Ironhouse Brewery.

WHAT: An annual celebration of food, wine, art and music on Tassie’s east coast

WHEN: 22 November 2014

WHERE: Lions Park, Bicheno

HOW: Entry is $10 for adults and $5 for under-18s. Children under 4 enter for free. Full program available soon, visit for more information.

For a full and up-to-date listing of Tasmanian events, and information on travelling to Tasmania, visit the Discover Tasmania
Twitter and Instagram @tasmania

Travel to Tasmania

Travellers can fly to Tasmania on Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Qantas, Qantaslink, Tigerair, Sharp Airlines or Rex Airlines, or take the Spirit of Tasmania ferry from Port Melbourne (VIC) to Devonport (TAS).

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