In Strine, Australian slang, a Tasmanian is called an Apple Eater. This is because of the enormous amounts of apples traditionally produced in the island’s fertile soils.
The Huon Valley, in the south of Tasmania, is still a major apple-growing region but it’s also one of the island’s premier tourist regions. Why not hire a car, make the drive south from Hobart and find out why?
Driving around in the Huon Valley, you only need to look at the orchards and farmland all around you to know that this is foodie heaven. Apart from apples, the region is a major producer of berries, dairy, wine and fish.
Sunday is market day in the region, and browsing the stalls will give you an idea of what local produce is on offer. Huonville Market is held on the first and third Sunday of every month, as is Cygnet Market. The second Sunday of the month sees the Judbury Market, the Geeveston Country Market and the Kingston Beach Handmade Market.
Once you’ve had a taste of what the Huon Valley has to offer, how about going straight to the source? Many of the farms and wineries in the region are open to visitors and you may even find the opportunity to pick your own. Glen Huon is home to Huon Valley Mushrooms, while Bruny Island Berry Farm gives you the opportunity to pick your own berries, stock up on berry products like jams and then simply cross the road to have a picnic on the beach.
Fancy a tipple?
The Huon Region has no shortage of wineries either. They include Elsewhere Vineyard near Cygnet, Nondroya Vineyard at Margate, Hartzview Vineyard overlooking the Hartz Mountains at Gardners Bay and Grandview Vineyard near Birchs Bay.
The Huon Valley is not only about eating and drinking, though. The first Europeans started settling the area in the early to mid 19th century. In Gardners Bay, right next to the Hartzview Vineyard, walk back in time to the early 20th century at the Hartzview Vineyard Heritage Pickers Hut Village, and see how grape pickers and their families lived all those years ago.
Long before the Europeans, though, the region was inhabited by Aboriginal people. Find out more about their traditional way of life at the Living History Museum of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in Cygnet.
The Huong Region is also home to several galleries, artist’s studios and crafts workshops. Do you want something quirky to take home? Then head to the Tasmanian Appleheads and Model Village in Glen Huon. Appleheads are heads carved out of apples. These apples have then been dehydrated to give the faces an aged, caricature-like appearance.
Tired of driving? Why not take the train for a change? Head to Lune River to take a trip on the Ida Bay Railway, the southernmost narrow gauge trackway in Australia. The locomotives date from the 1940s and the train travels through coastal heath and bushland to Deep Hole Bay. From here, take a walk up to the King George III monument which commemorates the 134 people who died when a convict ship sank near here in 1835. Then go for a dip in the ocean or spend some time on the sandy beach before catching the train back.
There are many walking and biking trails throughout the Huon region, as well as several golf courses if you want to work on your handicap.
Naturally the region offers a variety of water-based activities too. Go trout fishing or try and catch a big one out on the ocean. Take a ride in a powerboat along the wider parts of the Huong River or go for a quiet paddle along the coast instead.
One of the most popular attractions in the area is the Tahune Forest AirWalk near Geeveston. Go hiking or mountain-biking along one of the trails here and after an active day, go underground by visiting the Hastings Caves near Lune River. Finish up by have a relaxing soak in the adjacent thermal springs’ pool.
When to go
The Huon Region has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons, which explains why it’s such a great area for farming. Unlike most other destinations in Australia, summers here are pleasantly cool with average highs of about 21 degrees, so bring something warm for the evenings. If you love apples, arrive in autumn. Winters are cold and quite wet, and often snow covers the Hertz Mountains. Things warm up a little again in spring. Even though it’s the rainiest time of year, it’s also one of the most beautiful, with the orchards covered in fragrant blossoms.[/fusion_text]