Guides

Stargazing And Grazing In The Huon Valley: A Perfect Weekend Getaway Near Hobart

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Tasmania’s Huon Valley has a fabulous food scene and more craft cider makers, breweries, and wineries than you can raise a glass to.

On one side of our car, the Huon River shimmers in the afternoon sunshine. On the other, there are orchards dotted with bright red apples and rolling green hills where well-fed sheep and cows raise their heads to watch us drive past. The only thing that stops me from pulling over to take photos at every turn is the narrow country roads and the fact we can’t wait to get to Villa Talia.

Where To Stay

Perched high on a hill overlooking the Huon River and distant mountains, our stylish two-bedroom cottage in Villa Talia is straight from the pages of a designer homes magazine. Decked out with French and Italian furnishings, multiple fireplaces, a large telescope for stargazing, designer toiletries, and soft-as-a-cloud beds, it promises the ultimate long weekend getaway.

The fridge is filled with berries from a nearby orchard and breakfast goodies from local providores, there is a bottle of Tassie bubbly and a cheese platter waiting on the kitchen bench. A steak and salad greens waits for us in the fridge.

And then, there is the bathtub.

Positioned on a raised wooden platform to make the most of the view, the huge outdoor tub beckons us to fill it with water and jump in. We turn the hot tap on full, fill our champagne flutes and take them outside along with the cheese platter and begin making plans to tear ourselves away from our luxurious digs and explore the region tomorrow.

Where To Visit

 

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The Huon Valley is a collection of small towns scattered across the countryside less than an hour’s drive from Hobart.

Huonville is the ‘big smoke’ and the best spot to stock up on essentials. Cuter small towns include Cygnet, Franklin, and Geeveston where Rosehaven, the series starring comedian Luke McGregor, is filmed. With most villages located a 10-minute drive from each other, you can cram plenty into a long weekend.

Add a few extra days if you want to head further south to go hiking in Hartz Mountains National Park.

Where To Eat

A shimmering rainbow created a colourful bridge across the river as we cooked up locally smoked bacon, free-range eggs, and smashed avocado on sourdough in our gourmet kitchen at the cabin. Weekends bring a rolling feast of local produce markets to explore which makes it tempting to self-cater the whole time, but we were keen to visit a few of the top dining spots as well.

On the drive from Hobart, we had dropped into Willie Smith’s Apple Shed which has a small museum showcasing the region’s apple growing history together with a cider house, restaurant and distillery housed in an old apple packing shed. It’s a great stop for cider tasting and a bite to eat on your way to or from the Huon Valley. Matthew Evans, star of the locally filmed SBS series ‘Gourmet Farmer’, strolled through the door while we were eating, but we were more interested in our slow-cooked lamb farmed in nearby Cygnet.

Down the road in the tiny town of Ranelagh, award-winning Home Hill Winery Restaurant dishes up the best of the region overlooking a vineyard and paddocks filled with cows and alpacas. Cellar door tastings in the Huon Valley are friendly rather than fusty. We arrived early and swirled, sniffed, and tasted some of Tasmania’s famous pinot noir before lunch.

The following day we had to wait for a table at Cinnamon And Cherry, a cute café serving Turkish cuisine with a contemporary twist, but it was worth it. The colourful pilav bowl topped with shredded paprika lamb, pimento and cinnamon pilav, and colourful flowers and micro herbs tasted as good as it looked. The takeaway Turkish dips and freshly baked bread we picked up made for a delicious dinner in front of the fire that night.

Things To Do

One of the best things about the Huon Valley is its low key charm. On our first morning, we followed a literal rainbow across the river to Franklin and the tiny wooden church which houses Frank’s Cider. Named after a third-generation orchardist and run by the same family since the early 1800s, you’re unlikely to walk out of this cute cider house empty-handed. Don’t miss the sparkling bright red raspberry pear cider which goes down easy but packs a punch.

Across the road at the Wooden Boat Centre Tasmania, the smell of freshly cut Huon Pine tickles my nose as a guide shows us around a small museum and invites us inside the workshop where people of all ages are learning how to make wooden kayaks, dinghies, and boats using traditional methods. Tours on a traditional wooden sailing ketch depart Friday to Sunday from the jetty outside. Book early or, like us, you could miss out.

For something more exciting, jump in the Huon Jet in Huonville and go for a spin on the Huon River. Or you could drive south and stroll high above the forest canopy and out over the sparkling Huon River on the cantilevered Tahune AirWalk.

It’s also a popular area for bike trails — like St Helens and Geeveston — if getting your heart pumping is on the agenda after eating all the amazing food.

Your biggest challenge in the Huon Valley isn’t finding things to do. It’s tearing yourself away from your divine accommodation and squeezing everything into a long weekend.


The writer travelled with assistance from Tourism Tasmania.

(Lead image: Tahune Adventures Tasmania via Tourism Tasmania)