Festivale is Tasmania’s Iconic Food and Wine Festival
With the cleanest air, the best soil, and the purest water on Earth, Tasmania produces the freshest ingredients for world-class wines, spirits, and seafood.
Every year Tasmanians gather to celebrate their exceptional produce at Festivale, a three-day event showcasing the very best of Tasmania’s food, wine and entertainment. It’s the perfect opportunity to meet winemakers, distillers, cheese makers, truffle growers and other artisan producers from across the state and enjoy the fruits of their talents.
Held during the first weekend of February in Launceston’s iconic City Park, it’s Tasmania’s premium summer event. Festivale’s ability to present gourmet Tasmanian produce, exquisite wines, beers and entertainment beneath the glorious elms of historic City Park rates it as one of the best food and wine festivals in Australia.
A History of Festivale
Festivale first began in 1988 as a small street party of local multicultural foods, such as Italian, Greek and Indian. As an island abundant in passionate producers, the festival naturally became a showcase of Tasmania’s exceptional food and drink, attracting wine makers, chefs, and anyone with an adventurous palate.
The event now hosts over 80 vendors featuring Australian household names to local food trucks making a splash in the scene.
Taste Gourmet Tasmanian Food
As Tasmania is one of the world’s major suppliers of seafood, lamb and beef, Festivale offers a taste of the freshest food imaginable from Tasmania’s premium food and wine producing regions.
Try freshly shucked oysters sourced directly from local fishermen. Savor braised pork belly from Coal Valley paired with matching wine, or delight in local cured meats from Tamar Valley.
For something a little more hearty, vendors grilling up wallaby hamburgers often make an appearance. Keep your hands as free as possible with a classic Tassie meat pie or fried calamari in a cone.
Favorites from previous years include bespoke bites from caterers Hubert + Dan, blending together innovative flavors of smoked duck breast, quince gel and herb creams.
Highlights of Festivale also include cooking demonstrations and master classes.
Local and celebrity guest chefs demonstrate how to handle ingredients to prepare mouth-watering dishes – all Tassie-sourced, of course. Past demonstrations include how to use fresh wasabi, and creating a dish of ocean trout with whipped goats cheese and baby beets.
Master classes such as wine and chocolate pairing, and beer and cheese tasting are also held within Festivale.
Sample Tasmanian Wine, Beer & Cider
With a rotation of over 20 wine producers featured in Festivale, this is the perfect opportunity to sample premium vinos.
Wines from Tamar Valley vineyards are always a highlight, producing award-winning sparklings, riesling and pinot noir. Big Tasmanian names to try include Jansz and Josef Chromy Wines, the latter awarded Australia’s Best Pinot Noir in 2017.
Don’t forget to stop by the stalls of smaller, boutique wineries for a taste for experimental wines with intriguing flavors.
While wine is a staple of Festivale, Tassie spirits, cider and beer are also on tap. You’ll see anything from your regular lagers and whiskeys to roasty coffee stouts and botanical gins.
Festivale is also the perfect place for brewers and distillers to offer something creative for the crowd to try. Brews on tap range from blueberry cider and ‘perry,’ – pear cider – to raspberry cheesecake beer and gin created with roasted dandelion root and native Tasmanian mountain pepperberry.
Enjoy a Show at Festivale
Performers roam the festival throughout the day, delighting crowds with their unique talents. Sword swallowing, live statue performances and dancing are just a few of the acts on display.
Stay until the evening to listen and watch local musicians plus headline acts live on stage. Festivale often features Australian legends that draw a crowd exciting to behold – and undeniably fun to be a part of. Besides, what better way to end your day of exceptional food and wine than with a show?
Things to Do in Tasmania on a Vacation to Festivale
After sampling wines and food from Tasmania’s top producing regions, venture out on a tasting expedition of your own! Set near spectacular wilderness landscapes, you won’t want to miss out on exploring national parks and landmarks along the way.
- Tamar Valley
With the Tamar Valley wine region right at its doorstep, Launceston’s love of sensational food and wine makes it the perfect destination for Festivale. Wine tours from Launceston make it easy to visit the vineyards and sample the artisan produce of Tamar Valley.
- Cataract Gorge
While visiting Launceston for Festivale, stop by Cataract Gorge , a natural river gorge surrounded by scenic bushland, gardens and cliffs. Take a ride on the chairlift over the Gorge, the largest single-span chairlift in the world, or explore the landscaped Victorian garden on the northern Cliff Grounds of the Gorge. The gorgeous summer Festivale days are perfect for a dip in the public swimming pool on the southern side of the Gorge.
- North West Wine Trail
Tasmania’s North West is a burgeoning wine region with some of the state’s most pristine natural beauty. Take the classic coastal route through seaside towns and stop by countryside wineries for a wine-paired lunch. As the gateway to Cradle Mountain, this trail perfectly blends exceptional food and wine with incredible landscapes.
- Cradle Mountain
Just under two hours away from Launceston lies Cradle Mountain, a World Heritage-listed national park with stunning alpine and rainforest scenery. Explore walking trails and mirrored lakes surrounding the rugged mountains. Keep an eye out for wallabies, wombats and echidnas along the way.
- East Coast Wine Trail
Make your way down Tasmania’s east coast through outstanding wineries, cheese producers and berry farms. Stop to taste cool-climate wines at Devil’s Corner Cellar Door and Lookout, or skip straight to Freycinet National Park.
- Freycinet National Park
White sand beaches and sparkling turquoise bays are surrounded in pink granite cliffs and untouched bushland at Freycinet, one of Tasmania’s most iconic national parks. Home to world-famous Wineglass Bay, the trek to the lookout may prove a challenge but it’s well worth the amazing views.
Plan for Festivale on Your Tasmania Vacation
As a growing food and wine destination, Festivale lays out the best of what Tasmania has to offer in three unforgettable days. Visit Launceston in February for an indulgent Tasmania vacation.
Looking for more ideas of what to do on a trip to Tasmania? Plan your vacation with our Destination Experts to create your perfect trip itinerary with all the Tasmania highlights.
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