Brooke Saward journeys from Hobart to the Huon Valley – the perfect day trip destination for cafés, cideries, vineyards and chocolate.
With so much on offer in Tasmania it can often be overwhelming to make a choice on where to go and what to see. For many visitors Hobart is the starting point to a great Tasmanian adventure, with the Huon Valley being the perfect day trip destination or onwards region to discover when travelling further south. To help you plan your Huon Valley experience, here’s a guide on where to eat, play and stay in the Huon Valley for both a day trip adventure and a longer journey through Tasmania’s southern region.
Checking In: Where to Stay in the Huon Valley
The relatively small size of Tasmania is commonly viewed as a luxury for mainland and international visitors to the Apple Isle, with reasonable travel times between major cities and the regions lying beyond them.
From Hobart, the Huon Valley is just a 46-kilometre (40 minute) drive. If you’re short on time, the Huon Valley is a plausible day trip, though the real beauty lies in taking the time to kick back, relax, and take in the beautiful scenery in Tasmania.
If you choose to stay in the Huon Valley, Shanleys is an idyllic boutique luxury accommodation set amidst the rolling hills and with a strong focus on hosting romantic couples stays.
Should you prefer to base yourself in the capital city, Hobart, I can personally recommend both the Henry Jones Art Hotel for modern, refined and unique accommodation, Lenna of Hobart for a great four-star hotel located in the sleepy suburb of Battery Point but still just a two minute walk from Salamanca, or the Islington Hotel for an uber-luxe experience in an old restored mansion.
Another viable idea is to visit the Huon Valley for a day between two popular spots: Hobart and Bruny Island. For this I would recommend an early departure from Hobart whilst the sun is rising, catching the morning light as you drive through the valley, stopping in for lunch at Cygnet, and making your way through to Kettering to check in to The Cove Kettering.
Eats & Drinks
It is no secret Tasmania is full of fresh produce but what remains an insider’s secret is the location of unassuming little cafes where you will be able to find a glimpse into Tasmania’s eats scene.
A great little café to discover in the area lies in the small town of Cygnet. Known as the Lotus Eaters Café, this little gem serves up fresh local (and organic!!) produce with a range of vegetarian options on the menu. Lunch is often busy on weekends especially but this creates quite a nice community vibe as you soon notice locals mixing with visitors on the communal outdoor tables.
Later in the afternoon a great pit stop is to call in to Willie Smith’s Apple Shed and taste test their renowned organic apple ciders. However should you not wish to head back toward Hobart just yet, you’ll find these ciders on offer throughout the region and elsewhere in Tasmania, so be sure to place them on your taste list!
Hartzview Vineyard is another great point of call for the wine enthusiasts, with cellar door access available between 10am-5pm daily and incredible share platters to drool over!
If you’re looking for a more romantic setting and a three course affair, the Huon Manor Bistro have the perfect set menu to enjoy in their gorgeous, humble surrounds. Wine and produce are sourced locally where possible, resulting in reasonable prices and great value for money.
Brunch has become somewhat of a staple meal over the past few years and if you’re itching to fill the void on vacation, be sure to make your way over to ‘The Local’ Foodstore & Café for what I’m sure would have to be the best brunch in the Huon Valley. All the classics are on the menu and if anyone knows how to do a hollandaise sauce, its these guys!
Chocolate lovers (myself included) rest assured you will be well catered for in all corners of Tasmania, but especially so in this hidden gem in the Huon: The Cat’s Tongue Chocolatiers. Not only do they offer a tempting case of takeaway chocolates to eat throughout your Tasmanian road trip (trust me, no matter how good your intentions, they won’t make it all the way home with you!), but they also offer a great range of eat in plates with inventive and indulgent creations on the menu.
Fun things to do in the area
Now for the fun stuff! There’s plenty to see and do in the area for nature lovers, so be sure to pack your active wear and be prepared to take on any climate in Tassie – especially as you enter the rainforest!
Without doubt the most popular activity in the area is to visit the famous Tahune Airwalk – a 620-metre footbridge that sits high above the stunning Huon River, nestled amongst the birdlife. Be sure to arrive early at opening time (10:00am daily) if you prefer a quieter experience, as the crowds begin to form around 11:00am and last throughout the day until close (4:00pm).
Nature lovers will rejoice at the ample activities on offer in the area, with Duckhole being a fantastic short hike to enjoy the local scenery firsthand. The hike starting point is located south of Dover and is free to enjoy the 2.1 kilometre hike, though you may wish to visit the nearby thermal pool and caves at Hastings Caves State Reserve for a small fee.
A completely different experience near the water is to visit Peppermint Bay, one of Tasmania’s true hidden gems and home to a plethora of culinary delights at the Peppermint Bay bar, dining and terrace (overlooking the bay, no less!)