Whoever said it never gets that cold during an Australian winter has clearly never been to Tasmania. But they should, don't let the single digit temperatures deter you. In fact, Tasmania is at its best when the mercury drops. While other cities shut up shop, Hobart peels open and the town is awash in red. There's Dark Mofo, the everpresent peak of kunanyi, a walkable trail of restaurants and galleries, and the beloved Mona Museum to explore. You can bet in the 24 hours I was there, I did my best to dash them all off. Here's what transpired when I went down for air.
With more time up your sleeve, an off-grid cabin or secluded cottage set in the mountains sounds like heaven. However, I am a city girl at heart and there is only one bed for me, which happens to be a deliriously comfy king-sized number at The Tasman in Hobart. Located amongst all the action, a short distance from Salamanca Market and Sullivans Cove, The Tasman marries heritage with modernity. I found myself ensconced by sandstone walls, Georgian ceilings and a warming fireplace (which was essential considering what came next). More importantly, my room came equipped with a bath, which I sunk into with a book, a beer and a pack of crisps after an evening prowling the city.
Are you familiar with Wim Hof, AKA The Iceman? I wasn't, but that changed approximately an hour before plunging into an icy creek on kunanyi. I followed a trail on the side of the mountain for 2km, drinking in the electric green undergrowth and trying my best to not look at the snow-capped peak – where the same water would be filling the pool before me. Piet, my instructor who was coached by Mr Hof himself, taught me his eponymous breathing method while I sat near the river drinking lemon verbena tea. Then it was time to strip off to my swimsuit, and before I knew it I was tip-toeing into the crystalline pool. For the 120 seconds I was submerged in the six degree water, my brain was having a very loud conversation (full of expletives) with the Danish athlete. However, the Wim Hof method is no joke. On the walk back, my breathing was easy and open, which is a big deal for a person with a permanently blocked nose.
After, I returned to The Tasman, showered, dressed and walked to neighbouring bar, Society Salamanca, where myself and a handful of other guests would gather to celebrate the Off Cuts collection from Noah Johnson of One Of One Archive in collaboration with Tourism Tasmania. It was delightful to finally experience the clothes in the flesh after hearing Johnson speak about them. My favourite piece was a reversible Eisenhower jacket, upcycled from old tropical shirts. We sat down to a meal from fermentation king, Adam James, comprising of black lip abalone, pickled shiitake, Angasi oysters, Bruny Island wakame and a series of savoury, acidic ferments. Wine flowed, and before turning in, I strolled to Sonny for a nightcap and prosciutto toast.
The next morning, after some reading in bed, I went to Peppina for a buffet breakfast (or breakfasts, if you count the multiple plates filled) and later, sussed out the coffee at Sunbear, as per a recommendation from our production editor, Cassandra. Soon it was time to catch my flight and say goodbye to Hobart, until next time.
It feels counterintuitive to pack both bikini and winter layers, but that is the magic and mystery of Tasmania in the Off Season! In my humble Muji carry-on I packed this wool shirt jacket from Friends with Frank which I had altered so the hem is straight to better suit my short ass, along with my second-hand Ann Demeulemeester boots, a thrifted skirt, stockings, a cardigan, jeans and a vintage blue bandana to ward off plane hair. Hand cream is essential; I carried the new Basil Hand Pomade from Le Labo, as well as a book.
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