boats in the Huon valley

Top 15 Best Things to do in the Huon Valley: Day Trip Guide

Looking for things to do in the Huon Valley? This guide has you sorted with 13 attractions, activities and events and something for everyone. 

The Huon Valley, just south of Hobart, often gets missed off the tourist route in favour of the National Parks further north and east. However, the Huon Valley is foodie heaven and is one of the most picturesque parts of Tasmania. It’s a great place to escape the crowds and chill out with a pint of local cider.

The Huon Valley wasn’t even on our original Tasmania road trip itinerary, but with the weather forcing us to cancel other plans, we managed to fit in a day in this beautiful region. 

While I won’t claim that the Huon Valley is on the same level as Freycinet or Cradle Mountain (although to some people it might be), it’s a place you won’t regret visiting if you have the time.

A day trip from Hobart is the most popular way to see the Huon Valley, although I would recommend overnighting in the area so you can see more (and eat more).

Things to do in the Huon Valley

1. Tahune Adventures

Tahune Adventures is probably the number one attraction in the Huon Valley. This company, which operates deep within the forest near the Hartz Mountains National Park, offers three awesome ways to explore the parkland, the Airwalk 50 metres above the forest floor, the Hanglider across the Huon River and the Twin Rivers kayaking Adventure

While the kayaks are best enjoyed in summer, so you don’t freeze, the Airwalk and Eagle glide are available year-round (subject to weather conditions). You’ll need to book ahead though as Tahune is super popular and tour groups can fill up the available bookings.

ahune Airwalk, Tahune Adventures activity Huon valley
Tahune Airwalk Source: Tourism Tasmania

2. Apple Cider

The Apple Isle (as Tasmania is called) produces some of the best cider in Australia and much of it is made in the Huon Valley. Willie Smith is the most well-known brand in Tasmania, and you can visit their cellar door in the Huon Valley for a tasting or a slice of apple pie. Other cider cellar doors in the area are Frank’s and Pagan Cider.

As well as traditional apple cider, pear, cherry and other more unusual varieties are available.

Pagan Cider Cellar Door
Pagan Cider Cellar Door Source: Tourism Tasmania

3. Cygnet Cannery

The Port Cygnet Cannery started as a cooperative between local farmers and has grown into the Huon Valley’s foodie hub. As well as a fine dining restaurant, the Cannery is expanding to coffee roasting and biltong making (coming soon). The venue is pretty enough that it’s also used as a wedding venue.

Farm tours of the 140-acre property are also available on request if you’re interested in a true paddock-to-plate experience or just want to show your kids the chickens. 

Try and plan your visit for one of their weekend feasts for the ultimate foodie experience, just make sure to book ahead. 

4. Jet Boat

The Huon Valley is the only place you can go white water jetboating in Australia which is pretty cool. The 35-minute jet boat rides with Huon Jet feature rapids, spins and tricks as well as awesome scenery as you fly along the Huon River.

The jet boat goes out three times daily and costs $90 per adult. You do get wet on the way so make sure to wrap up warm.

Klook.com

5. Fat Pig Farm

Fat Pig farm is run by the chef who hosts Gourmet Farmer TV Show and it’s become famous for its Friday Feasts where visitors are invited to the kitchen table to try the best of the farm’s produce in a long lazy meal. 

The farm is only open for the feasts and other scheduled events which need to be booked ahead. 

Another similar foodie option in the area is the Farmhouse Kitchen where you can take an Italian cooking class followed by an indulgent meal.

6. Hiking in the Hartz Mountains

The Hartz Mountains National Park is at the edge of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and is one of the most naturally beautiful places in Tasmania. Exploring this area gets you off the beaten path and into the virtually untouched wilderness with glacier lakes and rugged mountains. 

There are lots of walks you can do in the park, ranging from the 5 minute stroll to Waratah Lookout to the 4 hour return to Hartz Peak trail. All of them have great views but are exposed to extreme weather so make sure to check the forecast and pack accordingly. You also need a Parks Pass to enter the park.

Hartz Peak hike is one of the bets things to do in the Huon valley
Hartz Peak Source: Tourism Tasmania

7. The Wooden Boat Centre

The Wooden Boat Centre is an extremely niche attraction if you ask me, but it is one of the top things to do in the Huon Valley. The Centre makes, unsurprisingly, wooden boats and they offer tours where you can learn about the history of boatbuilding and the maritime industry in the Huon Valley. The Centre is in Franklin right by the water.

Wooden Boat Centre activity Huon valley
Source: Wooden Boat Centre

8. Chasing waterfalls

Within the national parks and state reserves around the Huon Valley are several spectacular waterfalls that you can hunt down. These waterfalls do require some hiking to get to but the views are worth it when you get there.

The tallest of the waterfalls is Pelverata Falls, while the Billy Brown Falls are popular, and the Arve Falls are the easiest to get to.

The Waterfalls of Tasmania site has helpful details on hike distances and difficulty as well as driving directions.

9. Small towns

The Huon Valley is full of cute small towns that can be fun to check out. The most picturesque are Geeveston and Franklin. 

These towns have retained a lot of their 1800s heritage with buildings that look straight out of the colonial era. They all have sweet tea rooms serving cakes and old-fashioned pubs that are great for getting cosy in the cold weather. 

Take your time exploring and see what you find. There are plenty of gardens and statues to watch out for.

The riverside township of Franklin has lots of old-fashioned Tasmanian charm, from the quaint historic buildings and streetscape to the pretty wooden boats floating on the Huon River.
Franklin Source: Tourism Tasmania

10. Hastings Caves and Hot Springs

Whether you’re interested in caves, want an adventure experience, or just want to chill in a hot pool, the Hastings Caves are one of the best things to do in the Huon Valley with kids. 

The Hastings Caves include the largest dolomite cave in Australia, Newdegate Cave, which is pretty spectacular although not as much fun in winter. Cave tours are offered several times a day for $25 per adult and $12 for kids. This is a fun option for kids as they can get kitted out with headlamps and explore the caves.

The hot springs themselves are really just a large, heated pool so they’re better suited to families than adults looking for a romantic or luxurious spa experience. 

11. Festivals 

There are a bunch of festivals held in the Huon Valley every year that will be the cherry on top of your visit. The two biggest are the Taste of Huon (held in March) and the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival (held in July). These are an occasion for locals and visitors to get together and for all the local food producers and restaurants to show off their best dishes.

The Mid-Winter Festival is a 3-day situation with a full line-up of performers, while Taste of Huon is more laidback, held over a weekend but intended for one-day visits. Both events are ticketed.

Taste of the Huon festival Huon valley
Taste of the Huon Festival Source: Tourism Tasmania

12. Kayaking

The Huon Valley is based around the water, so it makes sense that the best way to see it is from the water.

Esperance Adventures run several kayaking tours based around the Huon River and the various bays running down the coast of the Huon Valley, with morning tours, twilight tours and full-day tours to suit any itinerary or paddling ability.  There’s even a treasure hunt option for kids.

I love how peaceful the experience of getting out on the water is and it’s such a relaxing way to take in the scenery at your own pace. The paddling around the Huon valley is very flat so you don’t need to be an expert and all gear is provided. Just make sure to bring lots of layers.

13. River Cruises

If you want something on the water but with a bit less effort then a river cruise is a great option. Huon River Cruises offer a morning tea and afternoon tea option as well as private cruises. The cruises start from Heriots Point Vineyard (tastings on offer) and run up towards Franklin.

Note: lots of places advertise the Yukon for cruises, they aren’t currently operating as they are preparing to sail up the Australian East Coast.

Port Cygnet Huon valley
Port Cygnet Source: Tourism Tasmania

14. Margate Train

While Margate isn’t technically in the Huon Valley but you’ll likely drive through this town on your way to/from Hobart and when you do, don’t miss the Margate Train.

It’s a bit of a gimmick, an old steam train with the carriages now filled with shops and cafes, but it’s cute and the pancake train (more accurately the pancake carriage) is really good. 

It’s a great place to grab breakfast at the start of a Huon Valley day trip and kids especially will love it.

margate pancake train

15. Snug Beach

Likewise, the town of Snug is between Hobart and the Huon Valley rather than in the valley itself but it’s an easy detour and worth it for the beautiful beach and short coastal walk. The Huon Valley itself isn’t very beachy so this is a great opportunity to walk along the sand and paddle your feet.

snug beach Tasmania

Huon Valley Tours

If you don’t have the time or interest in organising your own Huon Valley trip, you can easily jump on a tour that will arrange it all for you. 

  • The Tahune Airwalk & Hastings Cave Active Day Tour from Hobart hits the biggest attractions in the Huon Valley and also includes some foodie stops during your drive. This is the best Huon Valley tour for those keen to get outside and experience the natural attractions.
  • The Shared Hastings Caves, Tahune and Huon Valley Tour is a slightly pricier version of the above with a few more inclusions such as a stop at franklin to see the wooden boats. If you want a well-rounded Huon Valley tour and don’t mind a packed day, then this is a great option.
  • The Drink Tasmania Signature Tour is not strictly Huon Valley as around half the tour stops are in Hobart but if you’re looking for a food/drink tour in the Huon Valley (or just want to pay for a sober driver) this is the one for you.

How to get to the Huon Valley from Hobart

Depending on which part of the Huon valley you are headed to, it’s between a 30-minute (Cygnet) and 1.5-hour (Southport) drive from Hobart to the Huon Valley. Make sure to check for any road closures or road safety alerts especially if you are travelling in winter.

Some buses run between the Huon Valley and Hobart that you can take if you don’t have your own vehicle. However, the services aren’t super frequent and only follow one route so you won’t be able to see as much. The timetable, fares and route details are on the TassieLink site.

Huon Valley Itinerary

If you are doing a Huon Valley Day trip from Hobart (or even if you are staying longer and are looking for a route), I’d recommend the below loop which takes in the Tahune Airwalk and most of the prettiest small towns in the area. 

Huon valley day trip itinerary map

This route is doable in a day if you start early and only spend a couple of hours max at Tahune.

If you have more time, you could drive farther south to Dover or Southport. Likewise, if you want to do more serious hikes you would need to add these in and allow more time.

Where to stay in the Huon Valley

Because all the towns in the Huon Valley are small, there are no large hotels here. However, the area is full of cute B&Bs and cabins so you can choose to either stay in one of the towns or have more of a remote nature experience. 

  • Luxury – The Peninsula Experience gives you the use of a private luxury mansion in the Huon Valley wilderness near Dover.
  • Mid-range – Ambiance on Huon Bed & Breakfast in Cygnet is a gorgeous property with views of the bays from many of the rooms.
  • Budget – Kermandie Hotel in Port Huon is an affordable small hotel. The rooms range from basic to spacious suites with marina views.
  • Camping – there are campgrounds in basically every town in the Huon Valley. You can find the full list here. The best option if you want amenities is the Huon Valley Caravan Park in Huonville.

A tip for Huon Valley accommodation: if you’re also planning to visit Bruny Island (which you 100% should!) then pick a place to stay that’s also close to Kettering, where the Bruny Island ferry departs. Cygnet is the best option for this.

Compare Huon Valley accommodation prices on Booking.com

Frequently asked questions on the Huon Valley

When is the best time to visit the Huon Valley?

While Tasmania is stunning in winter, I would suggest going to the Huon Valley around summer in the October to March peak season. This is because there can be ice on the roads around the Huon Valley in winter making it much harder to get around and sometimes roads are closed entirely due to snow/ice. 

Also, many local businesses reduce their hours in winter so if you want to have the most flexibility and avoid any of the Huon Valley attractions being closed then it’s best to travel in peak season. If you aim for the shoulder periods (October/November and February/March) then you’ll avoid most of the crowds.

What is the Huon Valley famous for? 

A lot of Tasmania’s food and even Australia’s food is grown, farmed or produced in the Huon Valley. Huon salmon is well-known, but the area is also known for apples – partly why Tasmania is called the apple isle. 

The Huon Valley is also the southernmost part of Australia. Maybe that’s why the climate is kinda similar to New Zealand!

How long do you need in the Huon Valley?

This depends on how much you like to cram into a day and how many of the things to do in the Huon Valley are of interest to you. Most people only do a day trip, but I would say overnighting (2 days) is ideal. If you prefer slow travel or want to do full-day hikes then you’ll want to stay 3-4 days.

I’m yet to find a part of Tasmania that isn’t beautiful, and the Huon Valley is no exception. While there’s no shortage of cute small towns in Australia, the Huon Valley is unique because of its position in and surrounded by the lush green of the National Parks. 

Happy travelling!

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