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Hideaway In The Huon Valley

The apple industry thrives in the valley
The apple industry thrives in the valley
South of Hobart is a land evocative of old English countryside, full of myths and fairy folk. The fields are full of fruit trees, apples and cherries. When people talk of Tasmania being 'the Apple Isle', it is this fragrant and fertile landscape that they are thinking of. This storybook setting is framed by mountains and alpine meadows. Welcome to the Huon Valley.

The Huon Valley is just a 40 minute drive from Hobart; which is where you will find a campervan to hire. There is no reason not to take a drive around this region of verdant fruitfulness, particularly as the Huon Valley has held on to the charm of its past. First stop along the Huon Highway is Grove and The Huon Apple and Heritage Museum. Here you will be transported back to the early days of apple production with its displays of working machines and other artefacts and photographs. A former packing shed, there are also over 500 different varieties of apple on display there.

If you keep following the Huon Highway, the first town you will encounter is Huonville. Apples and timber are the chief incomes here and thick forests and fruit plantations line the road for much of the way. Take a wander along the main street and Wilmot Road and find shops that sell a range of first and second-hand treasures from old books to fresh-baked cakes and craft. Head down the Glen Huon Road to the fantasyland of the Tasmanian Appleheads and Model Village, where you will see caricature heads of men and women carved from real apples and dehydrated to age them!

The next little town is Franklin, not to be confused with the Franklin-Gordon wilderness. In Franklin is the Wooden Boat Centre. Here you can watch craftsmen constructing boats from local timbers, like Huon pine.

Geeveston has managed to retain the quaint heritage of the early days of its settlement and is a charming place to base your campervan holiday. In Geeveston you can also become better acquainted with the timber industry and its past with a visit to the Forest and Heritage Centre. Hartz Mountains National Park can be accessed from Geeveston, and offers a wide variety of bushwalks where the views of the surrounding landscapes will blow you away. In winter, the summits are snow-capped and when the warmer months come and the snow melts it cascades down the mountain sides in impressive waterfalls. Camping is permitted throughout the park. Geeveston also is the gateway to the Tahune Forest Reserve, where you can experience a hike with a difference over the Tahune Airwalk. This is a 600 metre long platform elevated 20 metres above the ground with a cantilever in the middle that rises to 48 metres in height. The views of the forest and the junction of the Picton and Huon Rivers are well worth the climb. It is also the best place to see the Huon Pines growing in their natural environment.

Just an 80min drive from Hobart, the charming towns of Dover and Southport sit at the head of Esperance Bay. Nearby are the Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs, just a little further along Southport Road. Go on a tour through these cavernous chambers that started their formation over 40 million years ago. Outside, you can take advantage of the therapeutic qualities of the natural thermal springs, after which you can make use of the barbecue and picnic facilities. The Ida Bay Railway is the last operating bush "tramway" in Tasmania and makes a lovely day trip.

Some parts of southern Tasmania are inaccessible, they are simply too wild and rugged. This does not detract anything from its beauty, which you can still enjoy from afar at various lookout points. The rocky headlands that protrude into the sea are punctuated by pristine white beaches. One of the most unforgettable of these is Cockle Creek, which also marks the farthest point south you can drive in Australia. Its sapphire-blue waters are a great spot for fishing.

Any time of the year is a good time to visit the Huon Valley and the south of Tasmania. March is a popular time to visit, because of the Taste of the Huon Festival, which is a celebration of the fresh produce this fertile region is famous for. June holds the Huon Valley Folk Festival, which celebrates the spirit of the apple tree and cider. So bear those events in mind when you plan your holiday to the Huon. You can't get a more memorable holiday than a Huon Valley tour.

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