Freshly picked as one of Lonely Planet’s 10 best destinations for 2015, Tasmania is one Australian state that has plenty to be proud of. There are so many things to do in Tasmania, from fascinating historic sites to picturesque wine regions; from the wild and beautiful north of Tasmania to the tranquil south of Tasmania. The small state punches way above its weight when it comes to festivals. In Tassie, there’s a festival for everyone and a festival every month. It’s a great idea to combine your trip with a festival or two. Here are four festivals that will surely add some zing to your holiday.
1Australian Wooden Boat festival
The MyState Australian Wooden Boat festival is Tasmania’s most anticipated summer festival on the water. It’s celebrated every two years and 2015 is going to be extra special year as it’s the event’s 20th birthday celebrations.
The festival is a celebration of Tasmania’s maritime culture and boat making artistry. Many of the boats are works of historic creativity.
Hundreds of spectators flock to see the flotilla of water craft, from tall ships to rowing boats. Some of the historic ships and replicas on display are the Australian National Maritime Museum’s Bark Endeavour, the ship that James Cook sailed in to charter Australia and New Zealand, and the original James Craig, the 19th-century cargo ship.
The festival offers an opportunity for owners of wooden boats to show off their craft and for trade exhibitors to showcase products. But you don’t have to be a die-hard fan of boats to enjoy the festivities.
The entertainment program includes shipwright demonstrations and fun races. There’s a maritime marketplace, where you might find rare tools used by traditional Tasmanian craftsmen, and the International Wooden Boat Symposium. And there’re plenty of local food, wine and music.
The MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival is the largest wooden boat festival in the Southern Hemisphere. This festival takes up four days and Hobart’s waterfront at Sullivan’s Cove, from Hunter to Princess Wharf and Castray Esplanade. One of the best things about it is admission is free.
Where: Sullivan’s Cove, Hobart
Festivale celebrates the earth’s bounty in three-day merrymaking at Launceston’s City Park. It’s a showcase of food, wine and Tasmanian entertainment shared by around 35,000 people each year. It’s amazing to think that the festival has evolved from a street party in 1988 to become one of Tasmania’s biggest events. It’s certainly a celebration that the locals in Launceston can be proud of.
Look forward to a decadent line-up of top Tasmanian produce, beer, cider, whisky and wine. Taste delicious food prepared by chefs from all over Tasmania while the stages rock with live bands and entertainers. Think Mental as Anything, The Eurogliders and Grace Knight. Of course, there will also be strolling minstrels and an atmosphere that’s great for families.
There are small-group tasting sessions that can be pre-booked on the Festivale website as well as dining and cooking events. Join a Masterclass and learn from winemakers, wine writers, sommeliers and chefs. Each year there’s a celebrity chef and this year’s drawcard is award-winning chef, restaurateur, food writer and TV presenter, Peter Kuruvita (of Sydney’s Flying Fish Restaurant & Bar), who will share his secrets at the Festivale Lunch held in Stillwater.
Where: Launceston City Park, Launceston
3Tasmanian International Arts Festival
Cabaret, circus and comedy are some of the things to look forward to at the Tasmanian International Arts Festival (formerly known as 10 Days on the Island). It’s one of the best times of the year to catch the festive fever while going on a road trip around Tasmania.
The Tasmanian International Arts Festival is a showcase of international, national and Tasmanian artists as well as a celebration of island culture. Many of the exhibitions have a creative bent, with intriguing titles like Landscape is a Conversation, Mad Women in the Attic and Alzheimer Symphony.
The three main destinations to set up base in are Burnie, Launceston and Hobart. From there, you can drive around the island and enjoy a variety of artistic performances while enjoying thebeauty of Tasmania. And while you’re there, this is the chance to tick of your list of things to do in Tasmania.
The festival kicks off in Hobart with La Soiree at the Spiegeltent while Launceston’s opening night show is an elaborate puppet show depicting tales from the Bible. The Spiegeltent is a travelling salon that is sure to delight with a programme of circus, cabaret, comedy, music and family entertainment. Burnie’s Maker’s Workshop offers the opportunity to get hands on and try the art of paper making, which is Burnie’s signature craft.
Where: All around Tasmania, including Burnie, Hobart, Launceston and lots of other towns. Tour Tasmania in a campervan or escape to the country and stay in a charming B&B.
4Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Festival (BOFA)
Lights, camera, action! Launceston goes to Hollywood with glamorous red carpet events. The Tasmanian Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival (better known as BOFA) is not your usual mainstream film festival. It’s a platform for discussions about social change and an avenue for independent filmmakers to showcase their film-making ability.
Many of the films shown at the festival are inspiring documentaries about people who have faced challenges and overcome fears. That’s why it’s called Breath of Fresh Air Festival. The style of the movies and documentaries are exactly that, a breath of fresh air. Innovative filmmakers and digital artists bring fresh perspectives to the screen.
So expect to be inspired. The films will challenge you to achieve goals, do more for your community and to be a better person. Last year’s highlights were Winter Sleep, the winner of the Cannes Palme d’Or and Two Days One Night, the winner of the Sydney Film Festival Prize.
Of course, besides watching fine films, there’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy fine food and wine. After all, this is Tasmania.
When: 5 to 9 November, 2015