The coldest place in Australia: Tasmania’s Great Lake

A picturesque spring day with a Porsche Macan in Australia’s coldest permanently inhabited place.

The Australian continent is the driest livable continent on planet earth. From to the vast outback that covers over 70% of the entire subcontinent to the rainforests of tropical North Queensland, Australia is known for heat. The national average maximum is held by the summer of 2019’s documented 40.9°C, and the hottest day on record has seen temperatures soar above 50°C.

It’s to no surprise then, that talk about the cold is often left out when Australia is brought into the conversation. But for those unfamiliar with the nation we call home, the climate doesn’t always stand for stagnant heat. For those wanting to escape the summers of the Australian mainland, a good ole’ trip to Tassie is always on the cards.

Our vibrant island state of Tasmania stretches around 320 kilometres from any given diameter measurement, making it the smallest state in Australia by a considerable margin. Averaging a year-round temperature of 13.1°C – it’s capital city of Hobart is the coldest major city in Australia, and just a two hour drive away sits the town of Liawenee – Australia’s coldest permanently inhabited place.

So, the month is September. Fresh out of Winter and into Spring, the snow’s retreating and the days are getting warmer. With the roads opened and clear, it’s the perfect time to take a trip up to Tasmania’s Highland Lakes before frigid turns fine. A plateau in warmer months, winter in Liawenee renders as close resemblance to an Antarctic research station as you’ll probably find in Australia – the asphalt around resembling its runway.

During peak winter on the 7th of August, Liawenee reached a record low of -14.2°C, measured at the weather station just west of Tasmania’s largest inland lake which (if you allow us to move on) is given the official name ‘Great Lake’. Stretching twenty-two kilometres in length and eleven kilometres in width, it is pretty great, and we’d forgive you if you mistook it for the ocean.

Although the road to Liawenee is sealed, our advice is to take an all-wheel drive with reasonable ground clearance at minimum if you want to head off the beaten track. There are many, many tracks to explore that branch off the main roads – so without a suitable vehicle, a passing motorist could easily miss out on some of the most phenomenal sights – like this one, right on the coastline of Great Lake.

That’s where the Porsche Macan comes in.

A 2014 S model with a 3.0L twin-turbo petrol V6, the Macan sends power to all four wheels through a seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) dual-clutch gearbox. With a revised crossover platform based on the first-generation Audi Q5, Porsche engineers heavily modified the chassis, giving it a new engine, suspension, transfer case, and of course – a signature Stuttgart design.

The result – an SUV that handles like a hatchback. It’s really the best of both worlds.

250kW (335hp) of power and 460Nm of turbocharged torque can be exerted onto the tarmac, with lightning fast shift speeds via the steering-wheel mounted paddles – perfect for the road in. There’s no doubt in saying that sports cars and hot hatchbacks take the edge over the Macan’s 1865kg kerb weight on sealed surfaces, but on a rural state like Tasmania where the majority of roads remain unsealed, a flick of a switch into OFF-ROAD mode means the Macan can drive on comfortably and without an issue.

Again, the best of both worlds.

For those with a sense of winter adventure, it’s an unlikely recommendation, but if you’ve just boarded the ferry from Melbourne bound for a holiday in the island state, perhaps consider taking the Highland Lakes road to Hobart as opposed to the highway. If its cold season and you’ve got a Porsche Macan, provided the road remains open – take a drive through Liawenee and the Highland Lakes. You won’t be disappointed by what you see.

AutoNews Australia

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