No trip to Hobart and Southern Tasmania is complete without a drive through the Huon Valley along The Huon Trail. Taking in the the fruit growing district of the Huon River valley, Port Huon, Bruny Island and the vast expanse of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, the Huon Trail incorporates busy towns and sleepy villages, serene boutique farms and World Heritage Wilderness areas accessed by roads that wind through a world of extensive and beautiful valleys and waterways.
The Huon Valley and the coasts of Port Huon and the D’Entrecasteaux Channel are places of natural beauty, perfect for a relaxing holiday, a short break or even a day trip from Hobart. Rich in maritime and rural heritage and populated friendly creative people, the region is known as much for its gorgeous scenery as it huon pine, apple orchards and boutique wineries and gourmet specialities. By big city standards, the roads are always quiet and there is something different around every corner.
The orchard country is now, of course, highly cultivated, but it was once a swamp and densely wooded. The terrain was so difficult that the first settlement was not established until 1845 although it was only 37 km from Hobart. Huon pine has been exported to London as early as 1829. The river and peninsula were named after Admiral Bruny D’Entrecasteaux for his second in command when he surveyed the channel between the mainland and Bruny Island in 1792.
The district is now traversed by the Huon Highway with a branch road serving the peninsula and linking with the Channel Highway to the east. The country is beautiful and attracts many visitors from Hobart, particularly during the summer school holidays and the apple harvest festival at Cygnet, a small town on the left bank of the river.
The area to the south of Surveyors Bay and Huon Point forms the western shore of the lower reaches of D’Entrecasteaux Channel. It is from here that the South West wilderness areas of the state is accessed. The townships here are the southernmost, both inTasmania and the whole of Australia. Where the road finishes – at Cockle Bay – is the southernmost point one can drive a motor vehicle in Australia. On the way one can take a ride on a quaint narrow gauge bush railway, dip in a thermal pool, explore caves, walk to the southernmost top of Australia, visit the site where, in 1792, a French expedition led by Bruni D’Entrecasteaux set up camp and planted a vegetable garden, or simply take in the views across D’Entrecasteaux Channel to South Bruny Island.
How To Get There:
Leave Hobart, either via via Sandy Bay Road and Channel Highway, passing through Sandy Bay (Wrest Point Casino), Taroona (historic shot tower) and Kingston, or drive direct to Kingston via The Freeway.
The Best Time To Visit:
November to April is the peak season in Tasmania. Summer brings warm days and mild evenings from December to February, while winter can be stormy with snow on the mountain peaks between July and August. The weather is most stable from the end of summer to autumn (February to April).
Southern Tasmania’s climate is mild and pleasant with four distinct seasons, each with its own special pleasures. Summer is mild and pleasant, with warm afternoons and long twilights. Autumn is calm, sunny and cool. Winter is brisk and bracing with snow dusting the high peaks and the air is crisp and clear. Spring is cool, fresh and green with daffodils and apple blossom brighten the countryside.