Autumn is one of the best times to visit Tasmania. The weather is still pleasant – warm and dry in the daytime, with clear blue skies above – but you’ll encounter fewer crowds than in the summer, and enjoy even more opportunities to experience our sights and scenery.
The light in Tasmania always has a magical quality, but never more so than in the autumn months, which run from March through to May. With the sun lower in the sky, the whole island is lit with a beautiful soft glow, and the beaches, forests and granite mountains surrounding Freycinet Resort will provide a spectacular backdrop to your visit.
At night, the darker autumn skies mean there is a chance for you to spot the Aurora Australis, or southern lights. Whether you’re a professional photographer or just an enthusiastic amateur, don’t forget to bring your camera!
Visiting Tasmania’s Beaches in Autumn
Tasmania’s East Coast is famous for its stunning beaches, and at this time of year it’s not unusual to step onto an expanse of white sand and realise you’ve got the whole place to yourself. There’s no better way to unwind and relax than take a long, quiet walk with only the seabirds for company.
There is 10km of pristine white sand at Friendly Beaches, just at the north end of the Freycinet Peninsula, and a few kilometres south of Swansea you’ll find the hidden gem that is Cressy Beach, part of a small coastal reserve with impressive views of the Freycinet coastline.
Autumn also brings some of the best surf conditions to Tasmania.In early Autumn the water will be warmer, but hang on until late Autumn if you’re looking for larger swells. On the East Coast, Scamander, Bicheno and Beaumaris are all popular surf spots.
Exploring Tasmania’s National Parks in Autumn
Freycinet Resort is ideally situated for visiting Freycinet National Park. The park’s attractions, which include the world-famous Wineglass Bay, are much quieter in autumn than they are in the summer months and you should be able to enjoy a leisurely walk to the Wineglass Bay Lookout without encountering any big crowds.
There are several other National Parks within easy drive of Freycinet, including Douglas Apsley to the north, and Maria Island to the south. Maria Island is a natural sanctuary where only walking and cycling is permitted, so you’ll have to leave your car in Triabunna and hop on the ferry.
Take at least a day on Maria Island to wander the ruins of Darlington convict penitentiary and admire the island’s wildlife, which includes wombats, pademelons, Forester Kangaroos and Bennetts Wallabies. At Fossil Cliffs, you’ll have the chance to examine the ancient fossils embedded in the limestone, before checking out the beautiful rock formations and patterns in the sandstone at Painted Cliffs.
The cooler autumn weather does little to slow down Tasmania’s amazing native wildlife, with wombats, pademelons and many endemic bird species still commonly seen.
May is also one of the best times to see humpback whales as they migrate north to breeding grounds off the coast of Queensland and Western Australia. The migration path takes the whales up the East Coast of Tasmania, so if you’re visiting at this time of year it’s highly recommended to book a boat trip. Wineglass Bay Cruises offer day tours leaving from Coles Bay.
Tasmania is home to the fagus tree, or Nothofagusgunnii, a deciduous beech species found only here. At just a couple of metres high, the fagus puts on a spectacular display every autumn as it turns from rust red through to brilliant gold. Mount Field and Cradle Mountain are two of the best places to see the turning of the fagus from late April to May.
Seasonal food and drink
Tasmania is famous for its quality food and beverages. While there are plenty of places to eat out along the East Coast, the cooler autumn nights also provide the opportunity to relax in your room and enjoy some of the produce that you’ve picked up at the vineyards and cellar doors along the Great Eastern Drive.
This is a great time of year to be sampling nuts and honey, new season apples, forest mushrooms, and locally caught crayfish – accompanied, of course, by a glass of one of Tasmania’s highly regarded cool climate wines.
Autumn events and festivals in Tasmania
The East Coast of Tasmania is a hive of activity during the autumn – with everything from farmers markets to festivals – and the local tourism body has a monthly calendar of events where you can see what’s on.
Just half an hour from Freycinet Resort, you’ll find the award-winning, architecturally designed Devil’s Corner Cellar Door. As well as a place to enjoy wine tastings, wood fired pizza and fresh seafood, Devil’s Corner holds regular live music sessions. Check out their website for the latest line-up.
In early April, The ECHO Festival, or East Coast Harvest Odyssey, takes place. This is a food-filled, harvest-inspired festival held on the banks of the Swan River in Cranbrook. You can expect an abundance of local food, live music and storytelling, and a communal barefoot ‘grape stomping’ in collaboration with Spring Vale wines.
Elsewhere in the state, you’ll find dozens of other festivals and major events taking place during the autumn. These include the Flinders Island Wild Weekend and Spiegeltent Hobart in March, King Island Long Table Event in April, and AgFest near Launceston in early May. Keep an eye on Discover Tasmania’s website for more as they’re announced.
– Ruth Dawkins ( commissioned by Freycinet Resort)