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Hugging the banks of the tranquil Huon River, just a short hop southwest of Hobart, Huonville is an ideal base for exploring the picturesque Huon Valley and Tasmania’s far south beyond. Surrounded by fruit orchards, verdant farmlands, and the dramatic peaks of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Huonville is a small but buzzy town. The last “major” town before heading into Tasmania’s south, it has a good selection of supermarkets, cafes, and restaurants, as well as a Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service office on Main Street. Producing apple cider, salmon, fine wine, and cherries, among other offerings, the Huon Valley’s farm-gate stalls and cellar doors are top stops for most visitors.
Huonville is also perfectly located for exploring nearby Hartz Mountains National Park. With an elevated walkway, zipline, and paddling tours, the nearby adventure park is another popular local attraction. From Huonville it’s about a two-hour drive to the southernmost point of Australia’s public road network, Cockle Creek, where you’ll meet the wild Southwest National Park.
Set low in the Huon Valley, Huonville lies 38 kilometres (or a 40-minute drive) south of Hobart Airport (HBA). Well connected to Tasmania’s capital by bus, Huonville makes for an easy day trip from the city. With most local dining options clustered around the intersection of Main Street and Wilmot Road at the centre of town, Huonville is easy to get around on foot if you’re staying somewhere central. However with plenty of wineries, farm gates, and other attractions to explore in the region, it’s convenient to have a car, with rentals best arranged in Hobart or at the airport. Huon River kayaking tours are also available downriver at Franklin.
With different food-based draws in every season, Huonville is a year-round destination. The region’s foodie festivities kick off in March with A Taste of the Huon, a two-day event in Ranelagh which brings together local producers and more than 20,000 visitors for a celebration of local produce, with live entertainment and exhibitions. In July, the region’s apple-picking history is celebrated at the quirky Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival based around a wassail: the age-old tradition of scaring evil spirits out of the orchard to ensure a bumper crop. Note that snow can close the road to Hartz Mountains National Park in the winter. Local farm-gate stalls are particularly well stocked during the summer months, with apples and pears abundant in winter before strawberries arrive in spring.
The Huon Valley’s high sunshine hours and cool climate make it an ideal region for the production of complex, high-quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay-based wines in particular. With two well-regarded wineries located within five kilometres of Huonville — each with a cellar door — Huonville makes a convenient base for winery exploring.
Some of Tasmania’s finest produce is grown and harvested in the Huon Valley, which you can sample and purchase at a number of farm gates around the region. Look out for the roadside signs as you explore the valley, and remember to keep plenty of small change on you to feed into honesty boxes.
Part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Hartz Mountains National Park lies just 45 minutes’ drive southwest of Huonville. There are a multitude of walking tracks in the park, which lead through a variety of ecosystems up to lakes and waterfalls on the higher plains. Waratah Lookout, Lake Osborne, and Arve Falls are all gentle walks that can be easily done in under an hour.