3 days in the far south
Life, nature, the universe
Tasmania’s far south is a portal to one of the last great wild places on Earth. There’s no better place to explore, feed your sense of adventure and contemplate life’s big questions.
- From our Huon Valley itinerary, continue driving south or set out from Hobart for the 80-minute drive to Dover.
- Leave plenty of time for frequent foraging detours to fill a hamper – the fertile Huon Valley is dotted with cideries and cellar doors, markets and roadside stalls.
- The pretty fishing village of Dover sits on Esperance Bay, overlooking the islands of Faith, Hope and Charity. Its cottages and English trees give the town a lost-in-time charm.
- Take a leisurely cruise around the bay with Peninsula Cruising and learn about the history of Port Esperance and the region’s aquaculture industry. Or charter longer excursions into Australia’s southernmost waters.
- Bread and liquor are made side by side at the century-old Dover Bakehouse Distillery. Call ahead for wood-fired sourdough and for tastings of Evoke, a unique spirit made from the endemic Tasmanian southern (or blackheart) sassafras and native botanicals.
- At dusk, stroll along the Dover waterfront or head to the local jetty, a popular spot to drop a fishing line. No bites? Head to Post Office 6985 for seafood and regional fare for dinner, or the Dover RSL.
- Overnight at Dover, where options include Ashdowns of Dover and Driftwood Cottages.
- Stock up on supplies in town, ready for a self-catering night far from the shops.
- It’s time to head underground. Hastings Caves State Reserve has a network of spectacular caves, thermal springs (currently closed for bathing) and forest walks. Take a tour of Newdegate Cave, the jewel in the crown. It’s one of the few dolomite caves in Australia, full of flowstones and stalactites, columns and helictites. Linger for lunch - the reserve has barbecue facilities and picnic spots.
- Nearby, in the remnants of an early Jurassic forest at Lune River, Lunaris Gemstones is an Aladdin’s cave of rare fossils, crystallised minerals, gemstones and curiosities. Marvel at the delicate fossilised ferns.
- Keep driving south another 40 minutes or so to reach the end of the road at Cockle Creek – the southernmost point you can drive in Australia. This is the access to Southwest National Park and the trailhead for the challenging 85-kilometre South Coast Track. For a taste of solitude, the much-shorter South Cape Bay Track takes about four hours return and has clifftop views of the Southern Ocean and Maatsuyker Island. Or take the short beach walk from the carpark to the bronze whale sculpture (during the 1830s there were four whaling stations here), then on to Fishers Point Navigation Light and Pilot Station ruins.
- Pitch a tent at the Cockle Creek campground and spend the evening stargazing – if you’re lucky, you might witness the elusive Southern Lights. Or overnight at Southport, about 90 minutes’ drive, where options include the Jetty House Southport and Seaview Southport.
- From river to ocean, get paddling on a morning kayak tour of Lune River with Esperance Adventures. Beneath Adamsons Peak and the Southern Ranges, glide along the tannin-dark river, spot birds, learn about the region’s history and end on a white sandy beach at Southport.
- The return drive to Hobart takes only 90 minutes, but slow down instead and dawdle in towns with character such as Port Huon, Huonville , Geeveston and Franklin. Plan a stop or two at a cidery or a cellar door, such as Kate Hill Wines in Huonville.
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