Aurora Australis from Strahan, TAS © Dietmar Kahles

Things to do in Tasmania at night

Dark Mofo winter feast, Hobart, TAS © Tourism Tasmania

Experience Dark Mofo

Heating up the chill of Tasmania’s winter is Dark Mofo. Hobart’s captivating mid-winter festival explores centuries-old winter solstice rituals, giving the entire event a playfully dark and sinister vibe. Run in conjunction with Hobart’s iconic Museum of Old and New Art (Mona), the annual festival celebrates the winter darkness with large-scale public art and musical performances around the city. Foodies will enjoy events like rowdy Medieval-style banquets, while the brave can participate in one of the festival’s most popular drawcards: the annual Nude Solstice Swim, which sees hundreds of nude swimmers plunge into the chilly River Derwent at sunrise. Dark Mofo takes place annually in June, with a new program of exciting events and installations introduced each year.  

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Ghost Tour - Port Arthur Historic Site © Alastair Bett

Get spooked on a ghost tour

Tasmania is known for its vast wilderness and incredible scenery, but an hour and a half drive from Hobart across a narrow stretch of land will show you the state’s haunted side. World-heritage listed Port Arthur has a fascinating history of convicts, prisons and peculiar happenings. As the sun sets, come out to the dark grounds of the Port Arthur Historic Site for a 90-minute Ghost Tour. Follow your expert guide and your glowing lantern through some of Port Arthur’s more infamous buildings and ruins, and hear vivid stories of unexplained events that have baffled and alarmed convicts, free settlers, soldiers and visitors. Bring along a warm jacket, comfortable walking shoes - and steady nerves. For an even spookier tour, embark on the adult-only Paranormal Investigation experience, which involves not only ghost stories but also ghost hunting.

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Aurora Australis over Cradle Mountain © Pierre Destribats

Spend a night stargazing

Tasmania’s blue skies are stunning during the day, but the night sky comes alive after dark. With little artificial light and some of the world’s cleanest air, Tasmania is ideal for gazing up at the millions of sparkling stars. The Cradle Mountain region, a two-hour drive from Launceston, is one of the best places to spot the Southern Cross constellation, only visible in the Southern Hemisphere. The Southern Lights (Aurora Australis), which illuminate the sky with flickering shades of green, blue, purple and pink can sometimes be seen when looking southwards. Head to Bruny Island, home to seal colonies and clifftop trails, for a magnificently starry sky. Just 30 minutes from Hobart by car, Bruny Island is free from light and city pollution, making it the perfect place to enjoy a memorable night under the Milky Way. While the aurora and the stars are a sight to be seen, you’ll need a quality camera to capture the sky ablaze.

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Little penguins (Eudyptula minor), TAS © Chi Kueng Renault Wong

Spot Little penguins at night

Getting up close to Australia’s unique wildlife is one of the most exciting ways to experience any destination, and Tasmania is home to a number of truly special creatures. From quolls and pademelons to the infamous Tasmanian devil, an opportunity to see native wildlife is around every corner. Just a 30-minute drive north of Freycinet National Park is Bicheno, a quiet beach town that is home to a colony of Little penguins. See these adorable birds come ashore on an evening tour with Bicheno Penguin Tours. Depending on the time of year, you can see up to 600 of them waddle to their burrows after a day out fishing. With a continuing presence year round, this is an experience you can have no matter what time of year you are visiting.

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