You’ve never made a snowball, and you’re feeling left out! Sun, sand, surf, Australia has plenty of all these but we are a little short on snow, except this place, where it’s even been known to snow on Christmas Day. Best of all, it’s only 30 minutes from a capital mainland city. Fulfil that childhood fantasy right now. Here’s how … head to Kunanyi / Mount Wellington in Tasmania for the easiest place to see snow in Australia. It’s just a short drive from Hobart.
The easiest way to experience snow in Australia
In a land full of long white beaches and inland deserts, snow is a rare commodity. Finding it can require quite a drive from most capital cities, except when you are in Tasmania.
Mount Wellington in Wellington National Park is just a 40-minute drive from the heart of Hobart, so you can be throwing snowballs in an hour after you land at the airport. It also offers a wonderful vantage point to see the city and beyond. While most snow in Australia is limited to the cold months, Tasmanian weather conditions mean that it doesn’t have to be the middle of winter to find snow on Mount Wellington. I remember reports of snow here on Christmas Day while the rest of Australia was sweltering. This could even be an opportunity to enjoy a white Christmas! Check out the mountaintop snow cam here.
Wellington National Park is large, covering 18,250 hectares, and the top of Mount Wellington is 1270 metres above sea level. It’s a spectacular place with a wide variety of landscapes. You can spend days exploring the park or just a couple of hours driving up and back, jumping out and exploring.
Stepping out onto the summit of Mount Wellington, Hobart
It’s cold on Mount Wellington, so cold there are drifts of white fluffy snow on the ground and a chill in the air. Even hardy Tasmanians, who seem to have a different dress code for cold weather, are rugged up when I visit in early September. The drive to the top takes around 40 minutes from Hobart. Dropping our bags at Mayfield Lodge, the Victorian mansion that is our hotel accommodation for two nights, we take a drive straight from the airport. It’s a narrow windy track that is closed when the weather is unfriendly. I would not want to be driving here when the roads were slippery with ice because it’s a long way down.
Stop for a coffee halfway
Halfway up the mountain, there is a cute café stop at The Springs. Lost Freight is the place to grab a cup of coffee and something to eat because there is no café at the top. It looks like a smartly repurposed shipping container and serves excellent coffee and some great biscuits. There are toilets here too but also toilets at the summit. Maps on the walls here show the more than 40 walking tracks on the mountain which start at 15 minutes long. You can also pick up a map at the café.
From the café onward the Pinnacle Road may be closed due to ice or snow at any time of the year. You can check if the road is closed here.
The easiest place to experience snow in Australia
Wow, that’s a view. It makes every inch of the car sick-inducing drive worth it. This is definitely the easiest place to see snow in Australia unless you really fancy a long drive to Thredbo, Mt Kosciusko, the Blue Mountains, Mount Buller or Mount Stirling.
Charles Darwin (yes, that Darwin) wasn’t much impressed by Mount Wellington, according to the voyage record of HMS Beagle. He called it ‘a mountain of little picturesque beauty’, which just goes to show that he didn’t always get it right. That doesn’t mean he was wrong with his theories on evolution. Strangely, he still spent two days trying to climb it in February, which would have been a pretty hot walk.
You can share this moment with the world straight away using free Wi-Fi if your teeth aren’t chattering too much to talk. Do it at the top because the reception along the way is woeful.
What about the wind?
Hold on to your hat and everything else when you reach the summit of Mount Wellington because the winds can be fierce. Storm force winds often blast the top, which means even opening the door on your car needs extra care to avoid damage to yourself (ouch, fingers) or the door (damn, dents).
The other kicker is that your car’s auto-locking device may be affected by the television and radio transmitter towers. If you see someone crouching around their car, pointing their key under the front wheel arches or door, they are not felons. It’s just someone locked out of their vehicle.
Need to know
It’s kinda hard to miss Mount Wellington in Wellington Park from Hobart because it is big, but also, the snow spots are a dead giveaway. Wellington Park is open all day, every day, and there is no entry fee. More reasons why this is the easiest place to see snow in Australia. There is plenty of information available about the park, but no information centre at the park! You can download several maps and publications. You can also travel to the summit on a two-hour loop or hop-on hop-off small bus tour.
Where to stay in Hobart
Disclaimer: Eat drink and be Kerry travelled with the assistance of Tourism Tasmania.