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Huon Valley & the d’Entrecasteaux Channel Coast

Picton River

Picton River. Credit: Tourism Tasmania & Nick Osborne

The Huon Trail is the perfect touring route to take you around the area to the south of Hobart. In just a 20-minute drive, you will find a world of extensive and serene waterways, wild coastlines, quiet farmlands, boutique vineyards, and rugged but accessible World Heritage wilderness. The Huon Trail leads you to ideal places for a relaxing holiday or short break, offering an inspiring mix of outdoor adventures, accommodation to suit all budgets, delicious food – especially cheeses, cherries, stone fruits, berries, meats and the freshest of seafood, top class cool-climate wines, a rich maritime, forest and rural heritage, and friendly, creative people.

There are four areas along The Huon Trail: the Huon Valley, the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, Bruny Island and the remote and wild Far South. Each of these areas offers unique experiences and attractions ranging from towering sea cliffs, dramatic mountain peaks, ancient forests, wondrous underground caves, pristine waterways, native flora and fauna and truly sensational landscapes.

Why not relax and spend a few days with us in Southern Tasmania’s Huon Trail region.

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Bruny Island

Wild seascapes, towering dolerite seacliffs and sweeping surf beaches, wonderful coastal walks, birdlife and wildflowers, tall forests and an historic lighthouse are all features of Bruny Island off the southeast corner of Tasmania. It is about the size of Singapore but has a population of around 500 people.  Access is a 20-minute crossing by vehicular ferry from Kettering, 35 minutes’ drive south of Hobart. It appears to be two separate islands but it is joined by the Neck (the isthmus connecting North and South Bruny Island).  Adventure Bay, South Bruny, is where Capt William Bligh came ashore for water and provisions before heading off for his ill-fated mutiny in the South Pacific.  Walks include the coastal track to Penguin Island and Fluted Cape, from Adventure Bay; beach walks on Cloudy Bay; or the full-day circuit of the Labillardiere Peninsula. A narrow gravel road links Lunawanna and Adventure Bay, giving wide, stunning south-westerly views. As you walk look out for Bennetts wallabies, pademelons, echidna and wombats. From November to April each year the short-tailed shearwaters arrive to mate and breed along the shore before heading out on their heroic journey to the northern hemisphere. The lighthouse at Cape Bruny was built between 1836 and 1838 with convict labour. The Bruny Island Ferry Service runs seven days a week and you can check the timetable at (03) 6273 6725.

Kettering

Kettering is a small town in a peaceful, idyllic setting on the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, about 30 minutes’ drive or 37 kilometres south of Hobart.

The area was first explored by French navigator Bruni D’Entrecasteaux in 1792 and by the early 1800s whalers, sealers and timber cutters had settled in the region. The area around Kettering continued to develop due to its suitability for timber, and berry and fruit farming.  The scallop industry was also a boom in the first half of the 1800s.
Kettering now has a thriving community involved in many artistic and maritime pursuits. Yachts, fishing boats, salmon farmers in their runabouts, and sea kayaks are all regular sights in the sheltered waterways.  There are two major marinas, as well as many smaller, privately owned jetties, and over 600 boats that call Kettering home.  It also serves as an important service hub for local farmers and producers. Vineyards and colourful orchards of berries, cherries and apples surround the general area.

The Bruny Island Ferry, Mirambeena, is a vehicular ferry which runs a return trip numerous times a day from Kettering to Bruny Island. At the ferry terminal there is a comprehensive visitor centre also housing a gift shop and a waterfront cafe, which specialises in local produce and seafood.

Kettering is also home to a distinctive 1930s built hotel, which boasts superb views across to Bruny Island.  The hotel houses a restaurant and offers bar meals.  A Turkish cafe also serves as the local deli, and don’t miss the speciality hand-made chocolates available from the local chocolatier. Great pizzas and coffee can be found at a small cafe opposite the oval.

There are a number of accommodation options in the area, including charming self-contained cottages, beautifully appointed bed and breakfast options and luxurious suites overlooking the marina.  The hotel also offers rooms upstairs.
For a great view out across the D’Entrecasteaux Channel toward Bruny Island, take the short 10 minute walk through she-oak trees to Kettering Point.  Hiring kayaks or experiencing a local kayaking tour is another great way to experience the beauty of Kettering.

Huonville

The township of Huonville is just a 30 minute drive south of the central Hobart, travelling along the A6 highway in the heart of the Huon Valley.   You will be captivated by the beautiful scenery during the journey, descending from the surrounding hills into a valley of surprises, with views of the majestic South West as its backdrop.

Situated on the banks of the stunning Huon River, Huonville offers a multitude of experiences, from breathtaking bushwalks to a riverside stroll, a picnic by the river to a fine dining experience and everything in between.  Pick some fruit or taste the fruits of somebody else’s hard labour at a nearby cellar door; throw a line in the river or get out on it in a variety of ways; something to suit everybody’s taste in adventure.

With a rich and complex maritime history and rural heritage, delicious food and beverages, health and wellness retreats, picturesque coastline dotted with beautiful beaches, landscaped gardens and friendly artists and crafts people; many selling their wares at various weekend markets around the region. It is an area where you can totally immerse yourself and create your own personal adventure…

A variety of accommodation options are covered including self-contained cabins/cottages, quality B&Bs, farm stays, caravan parks, hotel-style rooms and backpackers hostels.

Geeveston

Geeveston is the administrative centre for the timber industries and apple growers of south eastern Tasmania.  It is 62 kilometres (39 miles) south west of Hobart on Highway A6, and is the gateway to the Arve River forests and Hartz Mountains National Park.

In the town centre you will find the Geeveston Forest and Heritage Centre, which tells the story of the area and the surrounding forests.  Further west along Arve Road Forest Drive (Highway C631) is the Tahune Forest Reserve and the Tahune Airwalk.  The area’s rivers are home to brown trout and you can visit the Geeveston Highlands Salmon and Trout Fishery to learn the skill of flyfishing.

In the lush green valleys nearby, apple orchards pattern the hillsides and during the soft autumn days you can buy buckets of Pink Lady, Crofton, Red Delicious, Granny Smith and Fuji apples from roadside stalls.  Geeveston has bed and breakfast, lodge and backpacker accommodation and is a good base to stay while exploring the forests, national park and Picton and Huon rivers.

The area was explored during the first days of the colony but not settled until the mid 1800s.  Even before the English settled Tasmania, the French explorer Admiral Bruny D’Entrecasteaux (1792) marvelled at the height and girth of the trees covering the landscape.  One of the first families to settle the area was the Geeves, who moved to Lightwood Bottom in 1850.  The town’s name was changed to Geeves Town in 1861, and eventually became Geeveston.
To reach Geeveston from Hobart, take the Highway A6 to Huonville and continue through Franklin, home of the Wooden Boat School, to Geeveston.

Geeveston’s location in the southern forests dictate its weather pattern.  It may be slightly cooler at any time of the year, so always make sure you have a warm jacket and wet weather gear, particularly if you plan to explore the wonderful mountains of the Hartz Mountains National Park.

Dover

Dover is not quite the southernmost town in Australia but it is close.  The pretty, quiet fishing village sits at the head of Esperance Bay overlooking the islands of Faith, Hope and Charity, about 80 minutes’ drive south along the A6 Highway (83 kilometres/51 miles) from Hobart.

Dover is the ideal spot for exploring the southwest World Heritage wilderness areas and the Hartz Mountain National Park.

The town has a population of about 500 and the major industries are forestry and fishing; particularly Atlantic salmon, abalone and cray fishing, and nearby are apple orchards.
One of the most popular attractions is the Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs further south and west on the Southport road.

There a number of good bed and breakfasts, a caravan park, hotel/motel and backpacker accommodation.
The town was originally named Port Esperance by the French explorer, Admiral Bruni D’Entrecasteaux, who charted the area in 1792. When the British arrived in 1804 they planned to use it as a penal probation station; today, the Commandant’s cottage (privately owned) near the caravan park on Beach Road is all that remains of this early plan.

After the convict settlement the town developed as an important port shipping Huon pine to the world.
Tasmania’s southwest often faces Antarctic winds but Dover’s position on the D’Entrecasteaux Channel protects it.  No matter what time of year you visit, bring a warm jacket and all weather gear.

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