The Huon Trail is a journey of discovery through a region of waterways and wilderness, art and craft, forests and fishing boats, orchards and vineyards. Rich in pioneer heritage, the region is noted for its exceptional variety of landscapes, from the still waters of the tranquil Huon River to the magnificent forests of the Hartz Mountains National Park.
With unbelievably fresh produce, beautiful countryside, wilderness and waterways, a drive down the Huon Valley makes for a great day's entertainment. If you can, it's worth staying overnight in one of the many small townships in the valley, but if time is short and you only have a few hours to spare consider a day drive and enjoy a taste of the Huon.
Hobart to Geeveston
The beautiful Huon Valley makes for one of the best drives in the state and it's just 30 minutes from Hobart. Leaving the city and passing behind the Wellington Range, you'll soon find yourself at Huonville and the start of the Huon Valley where the highway meets the mighty Huon River.
Before Huonville, stop at the Apple Shed Museum, Cider House and Providore at Grove and discover the traditions behind the once flourishing apple orchards of the region along with contemporary techniques for making organic cider.
If you are looking for lunch, you can't miss Home Hill Winery and Restaurant, for a feast of delicious Tasmanian delicacies, gourmet recipes made from good fresh country ingredients together with award winning wines.
From Huonville the road follows the Huon River, once the lifeblood of the region, for some 20 kilometres south to Port Huon and then Geeveston where the river broadens before joining the sea.
At Franklin, visit the fascinating Wooden Boat Centre and Boat Building School where shipwrights impart traditional skills to students from around the world. Over the road is Village Antiques of Franklin where you can wander through two stories of rooms filled with olden-day gems and ponder the lives of the people who once owned them.
Continue on to Port Huon. The stretch between Franklin and Port Huon is one of the best you’ll find in Tasmania. If the weather is calm, the reflections in the Huon River are unsurpassed. Keep your eye out for roadside stalls on the way.
Call into the Kermandie Hotel for lunch or afternoon tea. Better still check-in for a night. It's a hidden gem.
At the far end of the valley past Port Huon is Geeveston and the nearby Hartz Mountains National Park.
At Geeveston, the Forest and Heritage Centre is a must for anyone interested in the state's forests. This is also the place to buy tickets to the Tahune Forest AirWalk, one of Tasmania's most popular attractions and a great way to experience Tasmania's wilderness.
Also nearby is the Hastings Caves Reserve where you can relax in the warm waters of a thermal springs pool, walk in the forests of the reserve and enjoy the unique experience of exploring Newdegate Cave, the largest tourist cave in Australia.
Huonville to Hobart along the coast route
Return to Huonville then turn off for an alternative route back to Hobart along the meandering shoreline of the D'Entrecasteux Channel past the picturesque small townships scattered among the hills, including Cygnet (see below).
Don't miss the hamlet of Woodbridge with its waterside restaurant, Peppermint Bay, featuring local produce served in a beautiful setting.
Next door is Grandvewe Cheeses where you can watch sheep being milked in preparation for the production of their fine organic cheeses, all of which can be sampled in their tasting room.
And at Taroona, just before you reach Hobart, climb to the top of the Shot Tower (1870) for terrific views of the Derwent River estuary and a fascinating insight into the art of making lead gunshot. It's right beside the highway - you can't miss it.
The small hamlet of Cygnet lies between the beautiful D'Entrecasteaux Channel on one side and the majestic Huon River on the other. The town is the centre of the fruit growing Huon Valley where apple, cherry and berry orchards line the hills.
Popular among artists, musicians and those looking for alternative lifestyles, Cygnet includes several craft shops, art studios and galleries. You can see their works firsthand in a meet the maker experience on the Cygnet Art Trail.
There's also an award-winning winery, Hartzview Vineyard at Gardners Bay. As well as great wine, their Heritage Pickers Hut Village will let you experience the home of orchard workers and their families, and Italian prisoners of war in the early 1900s. Cygnet is a 50-min drive (55 km) south of Hobart.
Known for its quirky creativity and home to potters, painters, writers, photographers plus the Cygnet Folk Festival (January every year) and the annual French Festival, Le Weekend (coming in April 2017) Cygnet is now something of a magnet.
From "Australia" (as opposed to Tasmania) and from just about everywhere else on earth, people who are interested in good food, cool climate wines and glorious scenery visit the region in increasing numbers.People will tell you that less than 800 people live in Cygnet, but no-one's counted for a while; what's for sure is that weekends are particularly busy and vibrant, especially when the bi-weekly farmer's market is on (1st & 3rd Sunday of each month.) You'll find the market announced by hand-written signs stuck on trees and fences just a few days ahead. Very informal, Cygnet, but that's the spirit of the place.
From the village itself, pretty roads wander off in all directions, and tucked away you'll come upon bays, perfect unspoiled beaches, vineyards, organic farms - often with seasonal farm-gate sales - and friendly locals (though the wallabies, Tasmanian devils, bettongs, spotted quolls and potoroos can be a bit shy; they wake up when you go to sleep.)
Check-out Frenchman's River for somewhere exceptional to stay.