Hobart tours! Who would have thought the article called Tour Tasmania: a Day Trip on Steroids would be so popular? While I still prefer a more relaxed approach, I’ve bowed to the will of the people and devised another day trip option from Hobart. This time, heading south.
Hurry: Hobart Tours
First, we need to set the alarm clock and bound out of bed early in Hobart. Tours could head in any direction from the capital of Tasmania, but today I thought we’d give the Huon Valley the focus of our attention. To get a reasonable amount of driving done while we’re still fresh, let’s make just a brief stop at Franklin.
While Huonville is the larger, service hub of the region, Franklin is a tiny village on the banks of the Huon River, 45km south-west of the city. It’s the perfect place for us to buy a first-class coffee. And maybe a biscuit, too! And now we’ll have enough energy to tackle our first major attraction.
You won’t be surprised to learn that Tahune AirWalk near Geeveston is featured on this day-trip plan. It’s a highlight on practically all Hobart tours to the Huon Valley. We could spend almost a whole day wandering around Tahune Forest Reserve and nearby attractions like Eagle Hang Gliding, Hartz Mountains National Park and Arve Falls. But to keep on schedule, today we only have time for a quick gallop around the tree-top canopy walkway. We must take in the swinging bridges, though. They’re awesome!
Far South to Southport
Because we set the alarm early, and we’ve sprinted around Tahune, I’ve included a substantial detour to Southport. With so many attractions on the Huon Trail, you might be tempted to skip this beauty in the far south. But the lovely bay surrounding the town faces south-east to the Great Southern Ocean; and the drive to the region (via Dover) also has wonderful views.
Like Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula, the Tasmanian history books show that Southport also had a convict station. Originally a busy port for timber and whaling industries, the town now has a much smaller population. Shack owners and visitors take advantage of the recreational fishing waters and surrounding beaches.
Even if we skip the Southport detour, the next stop on today’s south-of Hobart tour is scheduled for Cygnet. The tag of alternative lifestyle is often applied to the residents here, but who gets to decide: what’s normal and what’s alternative? It seems perfectly reasonable to make a living from arts and crafts, hobby farms and orchards to me.
Regardless of the name applied to the town, Cygnet has a lovely marina and is a great Tasmanian town to visit, quirky or not. Although I can’t personally confirm this, I’ve read the town is home to one of the best restaurants going around. Might have to investigate that in more detail next time.
Now we’re homeward bound, heading back to our house or holiday accommodation in Hobart. Tours can sometimes take longer than you think when travelling in Tasmania due to the winding roads. But if you aren’t sick of driving yet, I would strongly recommend taking the long way around via Middleton and Birchs Bay. The road runs very close to the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and the scenery is magic.
Kettle or Keg: Kettering
Back through Kettering we go, home of the vehicle ferry to Bruny Island. And to continue today’s theme of boats and beautiful waterways, we might stop and take in a bevvy at the local hotel. There’s an outside deck overlooking the yachts in the marina, with a very relaxing ambiance. Perfect for sampling a drop of the local wine. Lemon squash for the driver, of course.
With the Kettering stop-over option (even if we bypass Snug) we’ll probably arrive too late to buy lollies at Margate Train. Aside from sweets, shop owners at the site offer books, pancakes and bric-a-brac. But from memory the carriages close their doors at 4:00pm. There’s a big shed at the back housing antiques and second-hand goods, and a carpet store that may keep longer hours. At one stage the Margate Train Market was held onsite on Sundays. Can’t currently confirm that one either, sorry.
Galloping Through: Kingston Town
Leaving Margate, we’ll travel through Kingston, the heart of the Kingborough municipality and only 15km south of Hobart. Tours sometimes rudely ignore this residential seaside suburb, but there is a lovely sheltered swimming beach. The popular Kingston Beach Golf Course has a great reputation with golfers from all around Australia. And for another walk before returning to base, we could take a stroll along the Alum Cliffs.
By this stage though, we might be ready to just drive on home. We can take the multi-lane carriageway for a speedy finish. Or we could take the scenic route via Taroona; past the historic Shot Tower overlooking the River Derwent towards South Arm Peninsula. But surely everyone would be sick of the never-ending fabulous vistas on these Hobart tours by now?
Hobart Tours: Blink and Miss It
Hopefully everyone reading this will realise: if you take the fly-by option on Hobart tours, there’s things you’re going to miss. The Huon Valley is such a gorgeous region. You could visit many, many times and still experience new and interesting places. I’ve briefly mentioned only some of the towns and hardly any of the actual attractions, places to eat or things to do. What a pity there’s not a better, more relaxed way to enjoy this touring around Tasmania. Motorhome anyone?