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Feasting, Finish Lines, Festivals and Penny Farthings: What’s On in Tassie This Summer

October 24, 2013 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

From waterfront to wilderness, Tasmania welcomes visitors with a unique array of festivals, fairs, markets and sporting events this summer.

545714As New Year’s Eve approaches, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race hits Sullivans Cove, where Australia’s most famous finish-line celebrations coincide with the Hobart’s largest food and wine event – The Taste of Tasmania Festival. Further north, visitors can munch their way through “Tasmania’s food bowl” and meet the state’s leading producers at Launceston’s Festivale. Music fans make a destination of Tassie in summer whether they’re visiting for Falls Festival at Marion Bay, the international folk festival in Cygnet or the avant-garde line-up at MONA FOMA. Meanwhile, beating them all for bravery and costuming, the tiny town of Evandale presents its 32nd annual Penny Farthing Championships – the most competitive race of its kind in the world. 


Renowned as one of the world’s most prestigious and difficult sailing competitions, the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race enters its 69th year in 2013. More than 80 local and international entrants are expected to join the race, which begins on Boxing Day in Sydney Harbour and covers 628 nautical miles of open water, including the treacherous swells of Bass Strait. Once they’ve skirted Tasmania’s east coast, competitors vie for honours at the Derwent River finish line off Hobart’s historic Battery Point. The boat to beat in 2013 will be Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI – current race record holder and last year’s overall winner – but competition remains fierce. Thousands will gather on the foreshore to cheer the yachts and their crews over the finish line, kicking off festivities that coincide with Hobart’s annual Taste of Tasmania Festival and extend well into the New Year.

What: The iconic Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

When: 26 December 2013 to 1 January 2014

Where: Hobart’s waterfront

How: Free event. Spectators are invited to come down to Hobart’s waterfront to take in the action. For more information visit



Set on the waterfront at Marion Bay, the Tassie arm of the Falls Music & Arts Festival has become an annual destination for those who love a New Year’s Eve of music, dancing and camping in a spectacular natural setting. Featuring some of the best touring acts from Australia and around the globe, the 2014 line-up includes Grizzly Bear, Chet Faker, The Roots, Solange, Neil Finn and MGMT. Recognised as a world-leader in sustainability, Falls Festival is a welcome guest in the pristine east coast setting, and presents arts workshops, dance classes, even a spot of yoga instruction alongside the main music program.

What: The annual Falls Music & Arts Festival

When: 29 December 2013 to 1 January 2014

Where: Marion Bay, Tasmania

How: A multi-day camping event. Tickets and full line-up details are now available at

Tasmania 2013 ©Adrian CookTHE TASTE OF TASMANIA FESTIVAL – 28 DECEMBER 2013 TO 3 JANUARY 2014

For those whose tastebuds have led them to Tasmania, the seven event-filled days and nights of The Taste of Tasmania Festival offer the ultimate tour. Set in the historic Sullivans Cove precinct and the recently renovated Prince Wharf Shed No 1, the state’s largest annual celebration features stalls by more than 70 boutique, artisan and established brewers, distillers, winemakers and producers. Apart from sampling the best locally produced food, beer, cider, whisky and cool-climate wines, visitors can enjoy views along the harbour waterfront, live music, roving entertainers, kids activities and twilight open-air cinema screenings. Ticketed events include tastings, tours and the annual New Year’s Eve party, where revellers score an up-close view of the Sydney to Hobart yachts newly docked in the harbour.

What: Hobart’s largest gourmand event, The Taste of Tasmania Festival

When: 28 December 2013 to 3 January 2014

Where: Sullivans Cove, Hobart

How: Entry is free. Tickets for the New Year’s Eve party are expected to go on sale at the beginning of November. For more information visit


The small town of Cygnet hosts its annual folk festival over three days every January, providing a welcoming village setting for visiting musicians and fans, both local and international. The town’s population – usually 1000 – swells to five times its size during the festival, which presents its 32nd program in 2014. Feature acts will include prize-winning Danish band Afenginn (whose music has been called “Bastard-etno with a melancholic Nordic sigh and a dash of ecstatic madness”) and the 1920s blues man vocal cords of Richard Perso (and his personal stash of three digeridoos and four acoustic guitars). For those who like a hands-on experience, the festival hosts workshops in folk, ethno, world, roots and acoustic music as well as dance and poetry.

What: An international folk festival on the streets of Cygnet

When: 10-12 January 2014

Where: Cygnet, Tasmania

How: Full program information will be released in late October. A range of ticket options are available and early bird prices are on offer until 30 November. On-site camping facilities are available. To purchase tickets and for more information visit

MONA FOMA – 15-19 JANUARY 2014

MONA FOMA (Museum of Old and New Art, Festival of Music and Art) descends on Hobart again this January, unleashing a five-day carnival of culture on bars, galleries and warehouses citywide. Curated by former Violent Femmes bassist Brian Ritchie, the program spans music, theatre, dance, installation art and parties – in some cases, all of these at once. MOFO’s line-ups are renowned for presenting the infamous next to the unheard-of, encouraging unique and surprising collaborations. Previous headliners have included Nick Cave, Philip Glass, Elvis Costello, David Byrne, PJ Harvey and Bickram Ghosh, one of the world’s greatest Indian Tabla players. The 2014 program will be unveiled on October 25. Special event tickets go on sale from 28 October, but the festival also includes free events for MOFOs of all persuasions.

What: MONA presents Tasmania’s most unique summer arts and music festival

When: 15-19 January 2014

Where: Various venues around Hobart

How: Includes free events as well as ticketed shows. The full program will be announced on 25 October and tickets go on sale at 10am on 28 October. Find more information at


For three days in February, Festivale transforms Launceston’s historic City Park into a destination for music, merriment, masterclasses and exceptional regional produce. Starting out in 1988 as a celebration of the city’s rich multi-cultural community, the event has grown into an exciting gourmet fixture, showcasing some of Tasmania’s finest producers. Roving performers and live bands create a party atmosphere for the thousands of visitors browsing more than 70 food stalls and tasting along the way. The 2014 program will include masterclasses with leading Tasmanian winemakers and brewers as well as the open-entry Festivale Photography Prize and the Harvest Launceston Farmers Market’s second birthday celebrations.

What: Launceston’s main celebration of Tasmanian food, wine and beer

When: 7-9 February 2014

Where: City Park, Tamar Street, Launceston

How: Running on Friday 7 February from 5:30pm until 10:45pm, Saturday 8 February from 11am until 10:45pm and Sunday 9 February from 10am until 4pm. Tickets will go on sale in late December 2013. Children under 14 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Find more information at


Once a year in February antique bike enthusiasts flock from around the globe to attend Evandale’s penny farthing race day, the most competitive event of its kind in the world. Beginning in the small town of Tunbridge during the 1970s, the ride moved to Evandale in 1983, where the historical main street provides an ideal circuit for the tweed-garbed competitors atop their brakeless, 1.5-metre-high bicycles. It may be fun to watch but it’s also a highly competitive event, culminating in the break-neck National Penny Farthing Championship race. Away from the track visitors can browse stalls at the Evandale Village Fair, partake in the Penny Farthing Food Fest in Pioneer Park or enjoy a traditional pub meal in the leafy beer garden of the Clarendon Arms Hotel.

What: The world’s most competitive penny farthing race day

When: Saturday 22 February 2014, 10am-4pm

Where: The streets of Evandale, Tasmania

How: Admission costs $12 per adult, children under 16 are free. For more information visit

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

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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