Huon Trail and Bruny Island drive - 3 days

The Huon Trail is the touring route south of Hobart through the Huon Valley and D'Entrecasteuax Channel region. It follows quiet country roads that wind their way through valleys and alongside the waterways of D'Entrecasteuax Channel and the Huon River, passing peaceful farmland dotted with interesting little towns. This drive also includes an overnight stay on Bruny Island. Distance: 485 km

Location

From Hobart, travelling south to the Huon Valley, D'Entrecasteaux Channel and Bruny Island

Length

485 km. Three day drive, overnight at Bruny Island and Huonville

Features and Attractions

Richmond; Kempton; Bothwell; Taralleah; Queenstown; Strahan; Macquarie Harbour; Zeehan; Hamilton

Day 1

Leave Hobart via Davey Street east, take the Southern Outlet (A6) to Kingston and pass through the suburb to join the Channel Highway (B68). A detour at Kingston leads to Piersons Point, where an old colonial fort stands guard over the northern entrance to D'Entrecasteux Channel. Excellent view down and the channel and across to Bruny Island. Coninue on to Margate - Inverawe Native Gardens has many kilometres of pathways, thousands of native plants and expansive channel views. Nearby is the Margate Train Complex - Tasmania's last passenger train, which houses a licensed pancake restaurant and cafe, bookshop, barber, remedial masseuse and gifts - and the first of a number of wineries on this coast; Riesling and Pinot Noir and the local specialities. The next town is Kettering, the home port of the Bruny Island car ferry. Catch the ferry to Bruny Island, exiting near Apollo Bay.

Take Lennon Rd to the T-juction, and turn left towards the settlements of Barnes Bay, Killora and Dennes Point on North Bruny. Travel south on Bruny Island Main Rd past Great Bay and across the Neck which joins North and South Bruny Island. A lookout on the neck offers views in all directions. Continue south, following the signs to Adventure Bay, where Lieut James Cook came ashore to take on water in 1777 with William Bligh as sailing master. Captain Bligh of Mutiny-on-the-Bounty fame revisited Adventure Bay in 1788 and planted a number of fruit trees on the east side of the bay. When he returned in 1792 he found that one of them - Tasmania' first apple tree - was still growing. The Bligh Museum tells the story of these visits and more.

As you leave Adventure Bay, follow the road up and across Mt Mangana to Lunawanna. Drive south to Cape Bruny, enjoying the picture-postcard coastal scenery on the way. Return to Lunawanna and proceed to either Adventure Bay or Allonah for the night. 165 km

Day 2

Return across the Narrow Neck isthmus and catch the car ferry back to Kettering. Take Channel Highway south along the shores of D'Entrecasteaux Channel through the towns of Woodbridge, Birchs Bay, Flowerpot, Middleton and Gordon. There are a number of arts and crafts galleries, orchards, boutique wineries and cafes along the way to tempt your taste buds, with forest walks and a sculpture trail at Birchs Bay. Continue south along Channel Highway to the entrance to the Huon River near Verona Sands.

The scenery changes considerably as you begin to head north towards Deep Bay and Gardners Bay, the home of Hartzview Vineyard, and the Talune Wildlife Park. Drive north to the town of Cygnet, known for its berry orchards. Cygnet Folk Festival, held in January, highlights the range of folk music and entertainment the Valley has to offer. Around Cygnet are a number of good places to fossick for gemstones. From Cygnet, follow the eastern shore of Huon River via Lymington to Petcheys Bay. Nestled in the bush land is Welcome Swallow Cyderworks which produce fine cyder made from organic apples grown in the region. Head north through Wattle Grove, Cradoc and Woodstock to Huonville, for an overnight stay. 110 km

Day 3

From Huonville, follow Huon Highway south through Franklin. The Franklin Wooden Boat School demonstrates how Tasmania's fine timbers are turned into boats; the school is open to the public. Continue through the historic orchard town of Castle Forbes Bay and the scenic Shipwrights Point to Geeveston. Bush walkers are able to enjoy numerous walks near Geeveston including a tree top walk at Tahune Airwalk. Timber lovers can visit the Geeveston Forest and Heritage Centre to discover the history of forestry in the region. Nearby Hartz Mountains National Park (24 km) is a window into the south-west wilderness, offering views of remote mountain ranges as far as the southern coast. Short strolls lead to the glacial lakes and waterfalls in the area. The last 10.5 km of the road in is unsealed and can sometimes be closed by snow, so check the local road conditions at Geeveston first if in doubt.

If you plan to visit Hartz Mountains National Park, you will need to add another day to your itenerary, and insert it here. Proceed south to Surges Bay and Dover. From Dover, continue driving south to Southport (the most southerly town in Australia). The numerous in this area waterways provide the setting for kayaking, sailing or cruising and for the more adventurous white water rafting or jet boat rides. Head north out of Southport via Huon Highway, taking a left turn towards Hastings, Lune River and Ida Bay. The dolomite caves at Lune River and Hastings are spectacular, the Thermal Pools at Hastings are naturally heated to 28c. There is a narrow-gauge bush railway at Ida Bay that treks through the bush to Southport Bay and return that provides an interesting break from driving. You can take the train journey now or later on your return trip through the area.

Continue south to Recherche Bay, an historic site where French explorer Bruni D'Entrcasteaux camped to study and explore ther area in 1792. At the end of the road is the locality of Cockle Creek, which is the furtherest point south that one can drive to in Australia and set-off point for the South Coast Walking Track and the southern tip of Australia. Return via Cockle Creek Rd and Huon Hwy to Hobart via Geeveston and Huonville. At Grove, you will pass Huon Apple and Heritage museum, which tells all about Tasmania's apple industry. 210 km

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