Where to go to the snow in Hobart

28/06/17 – Where to go to the snow in Hobart

With the arrival of Winter (and sometimes every other season) in Tasmania comes the arrival of snow.

When cold air pumps up to Tasmania from the great Southern Ocean and beyond and there’s some precipitation to go with it we will often get a good dump of the white stuff in various parts of the state. As a general rule if the wind is from the south to west quadrant and the seal level temperature daily maximum forecast is 15 degrees or below there will be some snowfall somewhere in Tasmania. Although this is often only on the highest peaks in remote wilderness and not going to be easily accessible for many people.

It’s when the daytime maximum temperature drops to the likes of 10 or 11 or even single digits that there’s likely to be a lot of snow and more importantly, easily (enough) accessible snow.

Locals and tourists alike generally have quite a fascination with this form of frozen water, especially the younger generations! So… If you’re in Hobart where are the best places to go for a romp around in frozen, fluffy water?

There are many options but the deciding factor is going to be how low down the snowfall is and what access roads are open. The most obvious place to go is up Mount Wellington (Kunanyi) as it towers 1271m over Hobart and regularly shows off a white glistening head dress. Sometimes this is just a dusting as though it were a giant muffin with a sprinkle of icing sugar and occasionally it has enough snow for people to ski down the main face (if you feel like walking up and braving what is definitely a black diamond run)!

When there is a lot of snow on Mt Wellington the road will be closed by Council. Often this is about halfway up at “The Springs”. However, when there has been a decent snow dump The Springs can be a great place to go for a play. There is quite a lot of parking, it is the start to many trails that lead both up and down the mountain or you can walk up the road in the snow or until you reach it. Many moons ago in near blizzard conditions one afternoon the author once parked here with a friend and kitted out in gumboots, raincoats and warm clothes, scaled the main face to the summit and back down via road; about a 5 hour round trip in heavy snow.

A day or two after a good snow event council will generally have the road cleared and open to the summit once again and snow will often stay at the summit for several weeks during winter usually with many top ups in between.

Other Options – It is not uncommon to have several “Low Level” snow events each winter (and often early spring) where snow will settle to 300m or occasionally below. On the 08/08/2015 Hobart experienced its lowest and biggest snow event for 30 years when snow settled to sea level and suburbs like Mt Nelson, West Hobart, Kingston and more got a cover suitable for tobogganing! However, this event was dwarfed by the 1986 fall where the Hobart CBD was well covered and people skied across the Tasman bridge.

To take advantage of these “Low Snow” events there are several options. Often it means getting in while the snow is falling or soon afterwards as it can melt as fast as it can settle. Mt Wellington is often totally closed during this event too and may not be an option until the road is cleared.

  • Fern Tree – The small town at the base of Mt Wellington will get a good covering, has plenty of parking and is easy to access via Huon Road from South Hobart
  • Snug Tiers via Margate – Head south of Hobart and turn at Van Morey Road. Note, this road rapidly becomes 4WD only and is quite narrow. If you get up here during a snow event there is limited parking (but usually limited people too). It’s a bush setting and is quite beautiful with a good cover. A great spot for a snowball fight or to build a snowman with the kids.
  • Glenlusk / Collinsvale – Access is via Glenlusk Road, Rosetta in Hobarts Northern suburbs. In a good low snow event you don’t need to go far before finding small opportunities for tobogganing and snow play. Or, if you have more time continue on through Collinsvale, head up Collins Cap road and start (or finish if you have time and the fitness) the walk up Collins Cap. This forest setting is particularly beautiful in the snow.
  • Further afield – If you have the time, right vehicle and inclination then why not make a day of it and head to the Mt Field national park 1 hour North west of Hobart via New Norfolk. The Mountain at the top even has a few rope tows that occasionally operate. Or take a drive to the Central Highlands up the Lyell Highway. Two hours from Hobart is Tarraleah (home of Australia’s most elevated golf course) which regularly sees snow or continue further still to higher and snowier ground.
  • Other parts of Tasmania – Of course there are several other parts of Tasmania that see their fair share of snowfalls. Most notably is the West Coast region around Queenstown, Zeehan and Roseberry. The craggy mountain peaks around these towns are truly spectacular at the best of times and even more so when covered with snow. Right through the Central Highlands towards the back of the North West, A few mountains towards the North especially Ben Lomond (home of Tasmania’s main ski field with 8 rope tows) and of course the Far South and South West also see plenty of snow.

And for the record, Tasmania’s highest peak is Mt Ossa at the top of the Central Highlands in the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park. It stands at 1617m above sea level and can see snow any day of the year in the right conditions.

And don’t forget, a big bowl of salad smothered with your favourite Red Kelly’s dressing is just as healthy in Winter as Summer!












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