Mona Foma and other Tasmania festivals

Mona Foma and other Tasmania festivals

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Falls Music and Arts Festival. Photo: Catherine Forge

I’m a fan of festivals. They are colourful, exciting and vibrant. The variety of exciting things that happen at a festival allows me to capture special slices of time with my camera. It’s no secret Tasmania is one destination high on my bucket list to visit. I’m even more excited to find out that Tasmania is a festival state. From Hobart to Launceston and beyond, there’s something going on around the great southern isle of Tasmania each month. There are so many festivals to choose from I can’t decide which to choose or when to go. So help me make up my mind. Which month do you think would be the best month for me and my camera to visit Tasmania?

Mona Foma

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Mona Foma. Photo: courtesy of MONA/Remi Chauvin

A Tasmania festival of music and art, food and drink, Mona Foma is a cultural celebration packed with exhibitions, cinema, tours and tastings.

Activities are held in and around Hobart, Tasmania’s historical capital and each year there’s a festival hub. In 2015, the central point is Hobart’s historic Princess Wharf 1. In the 1800s, the wharf was the busiest port in the Southern Hemisphere.

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Mona Foma. Photo: courtesy of MONA/Remi Chauvin

I’d love to experience the magical mix of past and present history. Music acts cover a wide genre and two that caught my eye were Jim Moginie’s Electric Guitar Orchestra and Paul Kelly.

However, if I was down this way for the 2015 festival, Architects of Air would be on the top of my list! It’s a large inflatable sculpture that you can walk through and looks so very cool.

National Penny Farthing Championships

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Photo: Ray Joyce

Lycra and penny farthings? It looks like a hoot! Held in the village of Evandale, in northern Tasmania, this annual event has been running since 1983 attracting riders from around Australia and the world.

During the National Penny Farthing Championships, this peaceful village swells with market stalls and assorted entertainment complimenting the penny farthing rides.

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Photo: Michael Walters Photography

It’s not easy riding a Penny Farthing and this keeps alive an old practice based around fun and more fun. There’s even a slow race, Miss ‘n Out, obstacle (count me out on this one) and races for children.

The feature race is the National Penny Farthing Championship which has the fastest eight riders from the heats in the final.

They ride these amazing bikes a total distance of one mile. I wonder if there is a betting ring for your favourite rider and bike?

Cricket World Cup

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Photo: Tourism Tasmania

Hobart was founded in 1804. The city draws visitors for its history and culture. It’s the doorway to World Heritage-listed areas, lovely country drives and is the finish line of many heroic yacht races.

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Now it’s the turn for Hobart to shine on the world’s cricket stage. The Bellervie Oval in Hobart will host the Cricket World Cup in 2015. Teams from Sri Lanka, Scotland, Ireland and Zimbabwe along with our Aussie boys will contest bat to ball.

Bellerive Oval is a 10-minute drive from Hobarts city centre. There’s plenty to see and do at the oval, which adds more reasons to go to my list!

Turning of the fagus

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Tarn Shelf, Mt Field National Park. Photo: Chris Crerar

Do you know what a fagus is? I confess I had to look this one up! Tasmania in autumn is the time to see the deciduous beech Nothofagus gunnii, the only deciduous native tree in Tasmania, turn from green to red to orange and gold.

This is the only place in the world you can see this event, which is appropriately called “turning of the fagus”.

This remarkable tree is one of the oldest genera of flowering plants listed in the world. Its history stretches back over 80 million years.

There’s a good reason Tasmanians celebrate this natural event. They say that the colours of autumn are awe-inspiring, like nowhere else in the world.

The leaves turn from late April through to early May and the best locations to see this rare tree include Mount Field National Park and Cradle Mountain National Park.

Targa Tasmania

Photo: Tim Jones

It’s the world’s largest, longest and hardest tarmac rally event, a genuine “red-blooded” sporting event that almost anyone can join.

Targa Tasmania is a six-day festival of motoring starts in the scenic city of Launceston and finishes in Tasmania’s capital, Hobart.

Each leg is short and allows visitors ample time to enjoy the scenery as the cars make their way through some of the most picturesque countryside in Australia. This is one for those that like their motors running hot!


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DARK MOFO. Photo: Nick Moles

It may be winter but the celebrations of Dark MOFO will warm any soul visiting Australia’s southernmost capital.

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DARK MOFO. Photo: Nick Moles

Dark MOFO is interactive, entertaining and it’s a fabulous reason to explore the streets and enjoy performances as Hobart embraces winter.

Take a scarf, warm jacket and revel in the festivities.

One of the highlights this year is Articulated Intersect, where you can control 18 lights that have been designed to illuminate Hobart’s night sky above Sullivans Cove from dusk through to dawn. How cool is this?

Festival of Voices

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Photo: Tourism Tasmania
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Huon Valley Mid-winter Fest. Photo: credit Kate Berry

In July each year, Hobart welcomes over a thousand choristers and vocalists who sing their hearts out in venues such as concert halls, churches, pubs, along street corners and within many historic buildings that dot the city.

Festival of Voices is a perfect festival to tag onto a trip to Tasmania’s snowfields, especially as Ben Lomand National Park is so close to Hobart.

There are workshops and a top musical program. 2015 is the 11th year of this festival and more than 17 choirs will be travelling to Hobart. No wonder Hobart is starting to be known as the ‘singing city’.

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July is also a good time to sing to an apple tree and bang pots and pans by candlelight. The medieval tradition of wassailing is alive and well at the Huon Valley Mid-winter Fest.

Willie Smith’s Apple Shed is the venue for cider, feasting and scaring the nasties out of the orchard’s cider trees. It sounds like great fun to me!

Chocolate Winter Fest

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Photo: Image courtesy of Chocolate Winter Fest

Chocolate lovers take note; this may well deliver you to heaven! Held in the town of Latrobe, a 10-minute drive from the Spirit of Tasmania, and nestled alongside a protected seaside inlet, Chocolate Winter Fest is a wicked retreat offering an indulgent experience filled with chocolate.

Cocoa trees have been growing for over three millennium and chocolate was first invented around 1100BC. Chocolate has survived the times and so many of us still love it today in all its many forms.

For a break from chocolate, there are plenty of other things to do too, such as visiting Warrawee Forest Reserve to spot platypus, taste wines at Ghost Rock Vineyard and indulge in more chocolate at the House of Anvers.

Junction Arts Festival

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Junction Arts Festival. Photo: Tourism Tasmania

In spring, Tasmania rejoices with a festival of playful live art and music in Launceston, the second largest city in Tasmania.

During Junction Arts Festival, the streets and venues of the city come alive for five days with song, comedy, dance, literature and visual arts.

The atmosphere is intriguing and exciting. Workshops are also on offer for anyone who wants to learn from national and international artists.

While this festival is young, it appears to be attracting a diversity of participants. I can see why as Tasmania in spring is meant to be absolutely divine.

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Junction Arts Festival. Photo: Chris Crerar

Bloomin’ Tulips Festival

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Table Cape Tulip farm and Table Cape Lighthouse. Photo: Tony Crehan

I have to say I love tulips! What’s there not to love about them? They’re colourful, beautiful and delicate.

Held in the small town of Wynyard on the north-west coast of Tasmania, the event is calledColours of Wynyard.

The festival celebrates the spring flowering of tulips at Van Diemen Quality Bulb Farm on Table Cape. This farm sends flowers around the world every year for special occasions such as weddings.

Tip: Visit the Bloomin’ Tulips Foreshore Market held on the first and third Sunday throughout the event.

Channel Cheese Chuck at Grandvewe Cheesery

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Photo: Tourism Tasmania

How far can you chuck a cheese? It’s a question I’ve never asked myself until I decided I should go to Tasmania.

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Photo: Ryan Hartshorn

The Channel Cheese Chuck for Charity is a relatively new event on the Tasmanian festival calendar.

The hill looks mighty impressive and I reckon I could get my cheese a few yards down it with that incline.

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Photo: Ryan Hartshorn

There are loads of other things to do while there and it looks like a great family event with sheep milking demonstrations, wine and sheep cheese tasting among other quirky activities.

There’s something for the whole family and plenty of fun for teams to chuck a cheese for their nominated charity. I’m in!

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Photo: Ryan Hartshorn

Taste of Tasmania

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As I love food, Taste of Tasmania is another festival I have marked down on my list of possibilities. Fare from around the world is presented from stall holders and event sponsors across the seven days of this event.

There’s entertainment on two stages, street performances and a Taste Tasmania Theatre each day (where local and nationally renowned chefs demonstrate cooking with fine Tasmanian produce).

To me, it all adds up to a brilliant way to see in a New Year!

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The timing of the event works in well with the iconic Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

Someone I know went to the yacht race this year and their images on Instagram have been more than appetising! What can I say but it looks like a delicious event.

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For more ideas on what to do in Tasmania see Best of Tasmania and Discover Tasmania.

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