From food festivals and musical treats to sporting pursuits at rapid speeds,Tasmania really knows how to turn it on in summer.
The big draw-cards like the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Mofo, Falls Festival and the Cygnet Folk Festival are back, one of our quirkier claims to fame, the National Penny Farthing Championship and new favourites like FOKI (Festival of King Island)
and Targa Hellyer Gorge add to our increasingly awesome line-up. It’s going to be a big one, so get inspired and get down here.
KFC T20 Big Bash
The bats and balls are back this summer at Blundstone Arena for the KFC T20 Big Bash – cricket’s 20 over, fast-paced, night of fun. Watch the Hobart Hurricanes open their home game season as they take on the Brisbane Heat on 22 December. The match against Sydney Thunder on New Years Day promises to be a cracker, as well as the Melbourne Renegades (4 January) and the Perth Scorchers (10 January). Kids tickets start at $8 and adults from $23. Check out the details and book at www.bigbash.com.au/fixtures.
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
It’s adventurous, prestigious and difficult – the iconic Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is the annual test for hardened sailors and initiation for new off-shore racers. From 26 December to 1 January, the race boats will filter in to Hobart’s Sullivans Cove, where visitors can get up close to all the sensational super-maxis, competitive middle classes and of course, the quirky small boats. Unpredictable weather, especially down the Tasmanian end of the race, makes this one of the wildest races in the world. Join in the festivities on the finish line to watch the sailors roll in to an incredible reception and a big Tassie welcome. www.rolexsydneyhobart.com
The Taste of Tasmania
One of Australia’s most popular food festivals, The Taste of Tasmania checks into the Hobart waterfront from 28 December until 3 January. It’s a who’s who of Tasmanian food and drinks (and we all know how good they are!), with an entertainment program to match. Serious foodies can take a food tour or a seat at the Tasting Table to learn directly from the producers, kids will love the activities cooked up just for them, and the epic New Year’s Eve party promises to be like no other before it. Get a waterfront seat for the best view of the Sydney to Hobart yachts victoriously crossing the finishing line to a warm Tassie “pip, pip” from the crowd. This year the festival is going cashless, and with free entry and headline entertainment, it’s the hub of all things Hobart over the holiday period. www.thetasteoftasmania.com.au
The Falls Music & Arts Festival 2015
Australia’s much loved music and arts festival The Falls, returns to picture perfect Marion Bay from 29 December to 1 January. So the musical line up is awesome – Bloc Party, Foals, Disclosure, Gary Clark Jr and Tasmania’s own Courtney Barnett are just some of the headliners – but it’s what’s happening away from the stages that takes this festival into otherworldly amazingness. The Village, an event within an event really, hosts morning yoga sessions, samba classes and circus workshops, and the Falls Fiesta on NYE featuring a crafternoon and massive parade. All while looking out over stunning Marion Bay. Ah, festival perfection! Tickets start at $235. Book at marionbay.fallsfestival.com.au.
Cygnet Folk Festival
Just south of Hobart lies Cygnet, a small town of a thousand people and home of the highly regarded Cygnet Folk Festival, from 8 to 10 January. As a community run event in its 34th year, the festival attracts musicians from all over the world, with stiff competition to get on the final bill. Hear the best folk, ethno, world, singer-songwriter, roots and acoustic music going around, as well as dance and poetry performances and workshops from local, national and international artists. Adult day tickets from $80, children from $10. www.cygnetfolkfestival.org
The Basin Concert – Launceston
On Saturday 9 January, the natural amphitheatre of Launceston’s scenic Cataract Gorge hosts The Basin Concert. Featuring awesome acts like Jebediah, The Beautiful Girls, Phil Jamieson (from Grinspoon) and The Embers, The Basin Concert rocks this iconic venue like no other. Feeling special? Grab a VIP ticket for $145 to include gourmet food, private toilets and the best view in the house. Tickets from $65, and children under 12 are free with an adult ticket holder. www.facebook.com/TheBasinConcert
Blistering summer tennis action heads to Tassie for the Hobart International, the hardcourt women’s singles and doubles tournament graced by many international favourites over the years. From 10 t0 16 January, the Domain Tennis Centre plays host to big names and rising stars in the lead up tournament to the summer’s first grand slam in Melbourne later in the month.
Tickets from Ticketek. www.hobartinternational.com.au
Mofo 2016, the Festival of Music and Art, curated by Brian Ritchie (from a small band called the Violent Femmes, you might have heard of them?) runs from 13 to 18 January taking on a new format with bespoke events in venues around the city of Hobart as well as ‘Mofo at Mona’ weekend with the festival in the grounds and inside Mona. Featuring a mouth-watering and diverse line up with The Flaming Lips (USA), DJ Krush (Japan), Evelyn Glennie (UK) Kate Miller-Heidke with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and artists, musicians and performers from far afield as Ethiopia, Norway, Japan and Belgium. The Three Day Mona pass covers all the fun from the 15 to 17 January (adults $179), with loads of other gigs and free events happening throughout the festival too. www.mofo.net.au
Peroni Barnbougle Polo
The rolling fairways of Tasmania’s world-class Barnbougle golf course are playing host to a game of a different kind over summer. Swapping putters for mallets, the inaugural Peroni Barnbougle Polo on 23 January will see Australian Polo stars descend on the course, ready to show horse enthusiasts and social butterflies a thing or two about polo. General admission tickets start from just $30, through to a coveted all-inclusive ticket in the Peroni Marquee ($180) or car boot picnic parking ($150 per car) – there’s something for everyone. Barnbougle is an easy drive from Launceston, near a handful of fine wineries, Bridestowe Lavender Estate and a range of accommodation options. To
book, visit www.barnbougle.com.au/contact/whats-on/barnbougle-polo
Festival Of King Island (FOKI)
First there was the cheese, then there was the beef, now King Island brings you the Festival of King Island (FOKI). From 29 to 31 January, the island is welcoming an awesome line up of acts for a weekend of music and surf, food and fun. Get into the spirit at the local King Island races, then the festival kicks off with the pie-eating contest, waterslide and heaps of other fun activities. Musicians are being hosted by locals at home, and blow-ins can stay anywhere from hotels and cosy bed and breakfasts to holiday cottages, farm stays and cabins. Fly or sail to the island to get among the fun. www.foki.com.au
Furneaux Islands Festival
The Furneaux Islands Festival (FIF) is a lively three-day event from 29 to 31 January celebrating the 52 islands of the ‘Furneaux Group’ in Bass Strait. Local islanders invite visitors to join them to explore the unique music, food, arts and culture of the breathtakingly beautiful region with strong Aboriginal ties. Taking the stage will be Tasmanian singer-songwriter Dewayne Everettsmith, back by popular demand is local legend Ronnie Summers who will again delight audiences with his blend of traditional Cape Barren music, Cajun, Blues, Country and Folk and kids can get involved with fun dance-comedy workshops. The festival culminates in a free all-day concert and traditional Aboriginal earth-oven barbeque (a ‘Kup-Murri’) feast on Sunday 31 January, showcasing traditional ways of cooking the islands’ famous local produce like salt-grass lamb, wallaby, seafood, native pepper berry, lemon myrtle and bush tomato. More information at www.fifestival.com.au
Targa Hellyer Gorge
Start your engines! On 6 and 7 February, Hellyer Gorge outside Burnie on the North West Coast is hosting a slick warm up event to Targa Tasmania (held in April). Competitors will burn around the challenging roads of the Gorge six times over a few hours, where skills and vehicles are fine-tuned. It’s the perfect environment to practice for the big event later in the year and spots are limited due to the tightness of the course. More information at www.targa.com.au/tc/page_standard.asp?asset_id=21684
Blue Dragon MTB Challenge
Imagine a weekend of mountain bike (MTB) trails showcasing the very best adventure riding Tassie has to offer. Well imagine no more, it exists! The Blue Dragon MTB Challenge pulls together two days of racing on the 8 and 9 February, in a format that’s perfect for riding buddies to jump on. It’s a challenging weekend starting in Derby, in the state’s North East and into the surrounding alpine hills of the Blue Tier and deep into the rainforest valleys. There’s loads of different terrain to cover, including the Blue Derby trails. At the end of it all, there are bbq’s and beverages to be enjoyed, as well as a shorter option for riders not quite up to the full distance. Earlybird tickets are $440 for a two person team in the Blue Dragon, or $360 in the shorter, Huff n Puff Dragon race. www.bluedragonmtb.com.au
Who doesn’t love a food festival? Festivale returns to Launceston from 12 to 14 February to present the best Tasmanian food, wine, beer, arts and entertainment to feast on. The pretty City Park is the venue for this three-day celebration and tasting session – try our cool climate wines, Cooking in the Conservatory, and enjoy the entertainment program from under the cool elm trees. While you’rein Launceston, jump on the Tamar Valley Wine Route for one of the special Festivale experiences. Tickets can be pre-purchased at the Launceston Travel and Information Centre or at the gate. www.festivale.com.au
Evandale Village Fair and National Penny Farthing Championships
One of our quirkier claims to fame, the National Penny Farthing Championship, rolls into Evandale on 20 February, full of drama and dapperness. Step back to the turn of the century and take in the slow race (last over the line wins), obstacle courses, biathlons and of course, the Championship Race. Evandale, a historic town outside Launceston, really turns it on for a fantastic day of entertainment for everyone. www.evandalevillagefair.com
AFL NAB Challenge Hawthorn v Carlton
After delivering the “threepeat”, three grand final wins in a row, Hawthorn return to Aurora Stadium on Thursday 18 February to battle it out with Carlton in the opening game of the AFL NAB Challenge. Always putting on a good show, the game promises to be a cracking affair as both teams attempt to lay down a good foundation for the year ahead. More information and tickets at www.afl.com.au/fixture/nab-challenge
For a full and up-to-date listing of Tasmanian events, and information on travelling to Tasmania, visit the Discover Tasmania website www.discovertasmania.com.au
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).