Blazing Colours of Autumn in Tasmania
Published on Feb 14, 2014 10:18 AM
Autumn is a perfect time to visit Tasmania. The summer crowds have departed and the weather remains calm and cool.
In the country the glassy waters of rivers and estuaries reflects the gold and red of oaks, elms and chestnuts. By alpine lakes, deciduous native beech blazes with colour as it transforms from green through red to a spectacular gold. The deciduous beech, is found nowhere else in Australia and only in Tasmania at two locations – Cradle Mountain and Mt Field.
Tasmania experiences a delightful changing of the seasons unmatched by other Australian states. Gardens such as St David’s Park in Hobart, the Port Arthur historic site in the south-east, and Launceston's Cataract Gorge Reserve are transformed into landscapes glowing in a palette of ambers, reds and yellows.
Autumn is also the season of ripeness. The summer sun has worked its magic and fruit trees and vines hang heavy with lush produce. Apple pickers are busy in the Huon Valley and in the vineyards grape picking can be a social event, with picnics, music, laughter and a glass of last year’s vintage to celebrate the harvest. Savour the tastes at one of the many farmers’ markets scattered around the state, where stalls overflow with new season apples and pears. If the freshest of fruit doesn’t whet your appetite, indulge in a meal of renowned Tasmanian scallops – an autumn speciality.
As the burnished colours of autumn give way to the cooler tones of a southern winter, Tasmania beckons to those in need of a well-earned escape from the mid-year grind.
Make the most of the chill by enjoying Tasmania’s abundance of open fireplaces, hearty food and soul-warming landscape that defies all notion of a dreary winter.
Glistening snow ices age-old mountains that fall away into deep green valleys and forests. Misty mornings give way to the bluest of skies. Clear, crisp days are perfect for a drive through the country or perhaps a bracing walk in exquisite wilderness in the cleanest air to be breathed anywhere in the world.
Mt Field National Park – Follow the Derwent River from Hobart calling in to the Salmon Ponds near New Norfolk and onto Mt Field National Park. Around Mt Field a deciduous beech (Nothofagus gunnii) is Australia's only winter-deciduous tree. You will find it nowhere else in the world except Tasmania. And its autumn display is superb. This humble tree, it is often less than two metres, turns a spectacular range of colours, from rust red through to brilliant gold, during late April and May, depending on temperatures, and can be easily found on ventures about Mt Field.
Tasman Peninsula – Just 90 minutes from Hobart is the famous Port Arthur Historic Site, once a penal colony, now a significant historic site which will be ablaze of autumn colours. On the way visit the historic village of Richmond and feed the ducks at the river beside Australia’s oldest bridge and Catholic Church – you wont find a more tranquil spot.
Huon Valley – the district around Cygnet is a fruit and wine-growing area, and home to many artisans, craft shops, antique shops and tea rooms. Within the town boundaries is the Flora Fashion Gardens and Nursery, a rare flower and foliage nursery and display gardens covering six hectares, with a strong emphasis on autumn foliage.
Cradle Mountain – the winding drive from Mole Creek to Sheffield on the way to Cradle Mountain showcases Tasmania’s mountain scenery and in Autumn it comes to life with yellow, red and gold.
Produce in season in autumn includes blackberries, apples, pears, strawberries and raspberries. Walnuts and olives can also be found. There is no shortage of seafood either: oysters, crayfish and abalone are also in season.
Apples - From March until June the apples are crisp and crunchy – ripe for picking. Drive to the Huon Valley and stop at a produce stall on the side of the road. Most offer an honesty box for you to pay.
Grapes – pickers are busy in the vineyards harvesting the ripe grapes to make the very best of wine.
Scallops – Tasmanian scallops come onto the market in May when they are plump and tender.
Salmon - Tasmania has a distinct quality advantage in growing salmon, due to its pristine unpolluted farming waters, lack of major diseases, and excellent all year round farming conditions. Try some Tasmanian salmon today.
Salamanca Market (Saturday, weekly)
Food; music; art and craft; clothing’ antiques; collectables; books; bric-a-brac and jewellery. Enjoy the sights, sounds, flavours, action and colour of one of Australia's best outdoor markets. Set between graceful plane trees and the mellow sandstone facades of historic warehouses, Hobart's famous market at Salamanca Place attracts thousands of locals and visitors, every Saturday of the year.
Salamanca market highlights fine Tasmanian art and craft hand-worked glass, innovative design in Tasmanian timbers, stylish clothing and bold ceramics.
Tasmazia International Mural Fest (20 – 26 April)
Be captivated by this truly unique art competition and exhibition held annually in Sheffield, "The Town of Murals" in Tasmania. Mural Artists from around the world will once again be vying for the Judges Choice Award, the People’s Choice Award the Visitors Award. You will see nine artist finalists engaged in a paint-off to complete a mural in just six and half days. Each artist must complete a 2100mm-high x 4800mm-wide mural, using the same poem as their mural’s central theme and inspiration.
Each year a new poem is selected, meaning no two Mural Fests are ever the same. The competition is conducted in Mural Park Sheffield’s very own outdoor art gallery. Visitors are encouraged to visit Mural Fest throughout the week to cheer on their favourite artist, and cast a vote for the People's Choice Award.
Turning of the fagus (20 April – 10 May)
Every autumn, Tasmanians follow the tradition of flocking to locations where the Fagus tree can be found, to witness its spectacular range of autumn colours from rust red through to brilliant gold. Called 'The Turning of the Fagus', this stunning sight can only be seen in Tasmania and nowhere else in the world.
Savour Tasmania 21-25 May
Savour Tasmania is an epicurean festival showcasing the highest quality Tasmanian produce. Over four consecutive days, leading Australian and international guest chefs will display their skills at lunches, dinners and master classes in Hobart, Launceston and Burnie.
Tastings at the top 23 – 24 May
Join us at Cradle Mountain Lodge, one of Tasmania’s iconic wilderness experiences, as we celebrate the 19th year of Tasmania’s premier culinary event ‘Tastings at the Top’. A gourmet extravaganza rated among the country’s best food and wine experiences; a 3-day festival celebrating the finer things in life – a chance to celebrate the very best in Tasmanian produce.
From degustation dinners to cooking demonstrations, fresh produce markets to wine and cheese tastings and decadent spa treatments at the famous Waldheim Alpine Spa, Tastings at the Top encompasses the very best Tasmania has to offer.
For more information visit www.discovertasmania.com