Appreciate Tasmania’s slow pace of life and celebrate the good things – the hand-picked, the homemade and the heart-felt – at a cluster of Huon Valley towns.
Day 1: Franklin to Geeveston
The historic river town of Franklin is neatly wedged between rolling green hills and the mighty Huon River, yet only a 40min drive south of Hobart. Start the day with a bulgur bowl, paper-baked eggs or simit at the Tassie-Turkish café Cinnamon and Cherry.
The magical Tahune Airwalk is a 600m canopy walk that hangs high above the forest floor, with a final cantilevered section positioned 50m above the Huon River. Take in views to its confluence with the Picton River and beyond to the peaks of the Wilderness World Heritage Area. A day pass includes access to all the forest walks on site, including a couple of swinging bridges. Have lunch in the on-site cafe, surrounded by forest.
There’s more adventure in store, this time at river level. From Tahune, the Twin Rivers Adventure is a 3hr 30min rafting or kayaking excursion bouncing down rapids and drifting along quiet sections of the Picton River. Spot Huon pines and towering mountain ash.
Find acclaimed Japanese fare by the “surfing sushi chef” Masaaki Koyama in Geeveston, where Masaaki’s Sushi occupies a restored church. Think Tasmanian wasabi and wakame, inari tofu pockets with sesame seeds and toasted almonds, and southern Tasmanian seafood.
Day 2: Geeveston and Hartz Mountains National Park
For today’s walk, assemble a packed lunch at the Old Bank of Geeveston, known for its baked goods and fresh pasta, and the picklery cafe Harvest & Light.
Elusive platypus can sometimes be spotted along the short Platypus Walk through the town’s Heritage Park.
Pack that lunch, pull on the boots and pick a walk in Hartz Mountains National Park. Ancient glaciers carved this rugged landscape of peaks, waterfalls and lakes, part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. It’s surprisingly accessible, though – walks to the likes of Arve Falls, Lake Osborne and Waratah Lookout (named for the blazing red endemic flower that dots the landscape in summer) are easy and take less than an hour return.
Dinner options include the Kermandie, with a restaurant and bar overlooking the marina at Port Huon and hand-made pasta at Franklin’s old riverside courthouse, Osteria at Petty Sessions.
Stay at the boutique accommodation on site, or relax overnight at Geeveston.
Day 3: Geeveston and Franklin
Chief among the maritime treasures in Franklin is the Wooden Boat Centre, the last remaining school in Australia teaching traditional wooden-boat construction. On a guided tour of the centre and its busy workshop, smell the woody fragrance of Huon, celery top and King Billy pine, and watch shipwrights at work.
Inspired by what you’ve seen, embark on a “calm water” sailing on the mighty Huon River with Sail Kerrawyn or Huon River Cruises.
Continue the nautical theme with lunchtime fish and chips or a fisherman’s basket at Aqua Grill Cafe.
Spend the afternoon pottering around the valley. Drop by family-owned Frank’s Ciderhouse and Café for tastings and an insight into the proud tradition of orchard keeping in the Huon. While away an afternoon at the cellar door and restaurant at serene Home Hill Winery. Or settle in at Willie Smith’s Apple Shed, a bustling barn, for cider and apple-spirit tastings, a menu based on local produce, and a self-guided tour of its apple museum for insight into the rise, fall and recovery of the Apple Isle’s rosy industry.
Day 4: Huon Valley to Hobart
In the valley’s flagship town of Huonville, fossick for secondhand treasures and source baked goods and your morning coffee – and maybe a few homewares – at Reba Sear. Book ahead for cooking classes with Puglian leanings at the Farmhouse Kitchen.
After a spot of bargain-hunting, prepare for white-water thrills aboard Huon River Jet Boats.
In neighbouring Ranelagh, refuel at Summer Kitchen Bakery, known for superior sweet treats, pies and wood-fired bread.
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