If you are heading to Tasmania be sure to hire a car and get out and explore. After two previous trips to the island where I only ever visited the city of Hobart this trip we decided to get out and explore. As much as I loved Hobart, Tasmania truly has so much more to offer than just a big city.
Just over an hour South of Hobart is a beautiful region called the Huon Valley. Along with mountainous ranges, rivers and pines providing plenty of fresh country air you will also find the area covered in apple orchards with distilleries serving up a variety of craft ciders and gins.
Here are a few ideas to include on your itinerary to the Huon Valley in Southern Tasmania.
As you drive through the region you will notice apple orchards are in abundance. Not surprisingly then that we stumbled across an Apple Museum. Located inside Willie Smith’s, a gold coin donation provides entry into the display at the back of the eatery.
The wall of apples is fascinating - who knew there were so many varieties of apples to be had! And how Australian to have a variety named Barry!
Check out the vintage machinery, the apple sorting machines and the retro packaging from days gone by.
If you are after a hip and cool eatery, you won’t want to miss Willie Smith’s. Enjoy a paddle of ciders in the beer garden, take a picturesque window seat in the main dining room and look out amongst the fields, or get a group together for a lunch in the sunken private dining space.
We visited during lunch time, but the outdoor area looked like a great place to spend an evening with rustic wood pallet furniture in an open shed.
After being devastated by fires in 2019, closing for a year to rebuild and then being shut down again due to COVID 19, the Tahune Airwalk has shown some resilience to once again be open seven days a week for visitors.
Take a walk high up in the tree tops, cross the suspension bridges and get a birds eye view from the eagle flier or take a raft down the river - there is plenty to do at this location.
There is something special about being up in the tree tops, the air is clean, the views intriguing and the nature calming. It will take some time for the vegetation to return to it’s full glory post the fire - however there was still plenty to see.
Port Huon Hospitality at the Kermandie Hotel
For a peaceful night with a picturesque view, consider a night at the recently refurbished Kermandie Hotel. Built in 1932 this hotel has a funky new vibe matched with a very local and casual charm.
Enjoy a meal in the restaurant - inside or out there are calming views over the marina. Join the locals in the front public bar and enjoy a game of pool, a pint and some pub classic fare, or opt to stay the night in the upstairs hotel rooms.
Hotel guests enjoy a private upstairs lounge space with calming views, and a comfy couch in front of the wood fire place to enjoy a bottle of red from the hotel’s bottle shop.
This town is something out of a wild west movie with wood carved statues throughout I could have been mistaken to think I had stumbled across a back road American town.
Being on the edge of the forest, the history comes from the woods and there is plenty of charm in this small town. Stop by the sweet shop and check out the wall of candy, enjoy Devonshire tea at the bakery and check out the local museum.
Drive Australia’s Southern Most Street
If you are going to explore the edge of Australia, you may as well go as far as you possibly can. Take Australia’s Southernmost street all the way to the end to say you have driven to the edge of Australia.
If you are a walker, you can then venture on a 12-14 day trek that really takes you to the edge. We met some walkers that had just completed the journey. They had been hammered by the rain for days but said it was well worth the journey to tick it off the bucket list with breathtaking views and scenery.
For a picturesque stay check out the Driftwood Cottages at Dover. With views overlooking the water this is a peaceful and tranquil part of the world, a perfect place to relax and unwind. A great doorway to the South, Dover is a quiet town with the local RSL the best place to visit to meet the locals and enjoy some regional hospitality.
Southern Tasmania is abundant with rivers and streams - being from Adelaide it is not something we have a lot of so we were keen to check out some of Southern Tasmania’s spots.
The river banks can be difficult to get to as much of the land alongside is privately owned, but if you are persistent there are some sneaky pockets to find to throw a line in. Be sure to purchase a licence before you start though as this is a requirement.
Have you visited the Huon Valley in Southern Tasmania? What was your highlight?
Itchy Feet Family
There are so many different styles of travel available from camping through fancy hotels, and as a frequent traveller I enjoy trying as much of that range as I can.
On a recent trip to Tasmania I discovered a gem in the Rathmore Farm Stay - a style of getaway that I have never really trialled before - but one that I am thankful I uncovered.
The closest to this I had ever done before was a stay at the Dixie Dude Ranch in Texas, a rustic farm stay with cowboys, but I had never considered this type of stay in Australia before - and wow have I been missing out!
Here are my top reasons to consider a stay at Rathmore in Tasmania.
1. Just one hour from Hobart
At just over an hour from Hobart, Rathmore is accessible as a weekend away for locals - or as a side trip for mainland tourists even if only flying into Hobart for a weekend getaway.
2. Suitable for families, couples or groups
There are a range of accommodation options at Rathmore to suit all groups of travellers. The main homestead is a B&B with four bedrooms available (including two adjoining rooms great for families), the Shearers Quarters has five rooms available (perfect for a group) and Rathmore Cottage can accommodate up to six making it great for a family. The three accommodation options are spread out across the 92 acre sheep property in the central Tasmanian highlands and with all that space there is even room to park a caravan or pitch a tent!
We visited as a couple on a one night getaway, but I would love to return with the kids and could imagine hiring out the whole venue for a milestone birthday weekend with friends and family or even as a venue for a corporate retreat.
3. Hand feed a bullock
It is not every day you can get up close and personal with an almost six foot tall bullock and hand feed him a piece of bread! However Hercules is a gentle hand reared bullock that will approach the SUV to stick his head in, slobber all over you and accept a piece of bread!
As well as Hercules the farm has some friendly hand reared sheep that will come in close for a pat, a number of horses that can be fed a carrot or two, six wild platypus that can be spotted in the Dew Rivulet and a trout or two ready to be caught if you bring your line and head out on the row boat.
4. Attention to detail
The attention to detail that Cally has poured into the renovations at Rathmore are not unnoticed when you stay. And the personalised touches at every turn highlight how meticulous she is as a hostess with the mostest!
Marshmallows left as a welcome gift for guests to roast on the campfire, a fully equipped mess in the shearers quarters for self catering as extensive as including a rice cooker and slow cooker, fresh herbs picked and placed in a vase in your accommodation, the sprinkles of flowers on the plates of food prepared ensuring plenty of colour as Cally quoted “We all eat with our eyes”.
Rathmore may not be a 5 star hotel, but the rustic authentic accommodation includes personal touches for guest comfort that would rival any 5 star city hotel.
5. Sparkling Sparkles
One thing I am known for is being partial to a glass of sparkling wine or two….. when presented with an opportunity to enjoy canapés with sparkling Tasmanian wine overlooking the property at sundown it ticked all my boxes.
Hosted by owner Cally, we sipped sparkling wine while she shared with us the history of the property and a few intriguing tales that I am sure have evolved over the years through the local gossip trail.
Canapés were followed by a candle lit dinner for two in the main homestead capped off with a bottle of wine by the outdoor campfire to enjoy the sparkles in the sky. The skies in this part of the world are spectacular and we had a clear night for viewing.
Itchy Feet Family
*Itchy Feet Family stayed as a guest of Rathmore. For more details about Rathmore visit their website www.rathmore.com.au
Hobart is a fantastic city - I can’t believe it took me 44 years to visit this gem! Having never visited before I have now been twice in two months and I am looking for my next opportunity to return.
In June we took a family cruise from Sydney to Hobart for the dark MOFO festival that included a 48 hour stopover, in August we took advantage of new direct flights from Adelaide and indulged in a weekend girls trip.
As first time visitors to this southern city we were keen to pack in as much as possible on our short city breaks.
If you are looking for a reason to visit - and ideas for things to do while you are there - here are a few suggestions.
Red Decker Hop on Hop Off Bus
A great way to acclimatise yourself with a city is to take the Red Decker hop on hop off bus tour. This is a sure fire way to make sure you see all the major highlights of a city when you are short on time.
The double decker bus provided a loop of the city that takes you to locations including the wrest point casino, through battery point, past the Cascades Brewery and women’s prison, back through the city and then across to the Botanical Garden.
We opted for a 48 hour ticket and of course you can get off and on at any of the stops that spark your interest.
The advantage of a tour like this is the commentary that comes with it that offers a good insight into facts and figures about the city and a lesson on the history.
Walk to Cascades Brewery
If you are after a city walk, head uphill from Salamanca to the Cascades Brewery. A four kilometre route will take you through South Hobart (SOHO) past the heritage cottages and vintage stores to arrive at the Brewery visitor centre where you can enjoy a well deserved drink.
During winter you can enjoy a glass of mulled cider with a serve of chicken wings - and if the sun is shining there is plenty of seating in the outdoor gardens to take in the views.
Of course there are also brewery tours that you can take to see the back end operations to the Cascades brews.
Operating every Saturday, the markets are a fun way to spend your day meandering through a collection of market stalls offering local products and produce. From soy candles, to gin, pashminas to potatoes there is a wider variety of stalls to wander.
The open air markets operate from 8:30am to 3pm and have been lining the streets of Salamanca since 1972.
Hobart knows how to style a bar - there are some amazing venues to enjoy a classy cocktail in a chic setting.
In Salamanca you will find a great selection including The Den, The Botanical and The Whiskey Bar and don’t forget to head over to the Henry Jones Hotel and visit the IXL bar for rosemary infused glasses filled with tasty cocktails.
If you love Modern Art, you are going to love MONA. If you have no clue about modern art, you will still enjoy a trip to MONA! The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is the jewel in Hobart’s Crown and a must see activity.
The adventure starts when you board the camouflaged catamaran from the Brooke Street Pier and take the 25 minute fast ferry ride to the museum. If you don’t like the water, there is also a bus service to use as an alternative.
Upon arrival be prepared for an assault on the senses as you take the spiral staircase down into the underground tunnels of the museum. Download The O app and be guided through the exhibits with all you need to know by the phone in the palm of your hand.
Stop and enjoy a drink in the funky bar, visit the mechanical replica bowel depositing smelly outputs, explain the fish bowl with a knife in it sitting on a chair or just ask the question - what the MONA?
If you are after a picturesque setting for a long lunch head to the Brooke Street Pier and settle in at the Glass House restaurant. The floor to ceiling glass walls provide an uninterrupted view of the waterfront where you can gaze at the country side and watch the MONA fast ferries pull in and out on their journey from the pier.
Enjoy a three course meal, matched with a glass or two of Tasmanian wine, for a long lazy lunch.
If you are visiting in winter it is highly possible there will be snow fall on top Mt Wellington which is the back drop to Hobart city. A great way to get amongst the snow is to take the Mt Wellington Explorer Bus tour to the summit which sits at 1270m above sea level and provides spectacular views of Hobart. The tour bus leaves Hobart city regularly for the 2.5 hour return journey.
If it is snowing, the only way you will get to the summit is if you are on the Mt Wellington Explorer Bus. This tour operator has exclusive and unique access to the road that leads to the summit that is otherwise closed during snow. On the morning we visited our small bus of tourists were the only people on the summit. The fresh snow was untouched providing a unique experience for the kids who had never experienced snow fall before and were able to make their first snow angels.
Stay in Salamanca
If you are staying for a city break to enjoy the highlights of Hobart you really don’t need a car if you stay in the heart of Salamanca. We stayed at the Salamanca Wharf Hotel which is an apartment style boutique hotel right in the heart of all the city action.
Walking distance to everything you need for a weekend city break, the Salamanca Wharf Hotel provided great quality accommodation and fantastic service from friendly staff.
For a unique room, stay in the penthouse loft and enjoy the balcony views of the city. As this is an apartment hotel it features a kitchenette and laundry facilities which are always useful for families.
Have you visited Hobart before on a short break? What were the highlights of your city stay?
Itchy Feet Family
*Itchy Feet Family were hosted by Red Decker Hobart, Mt Wellington Explorer and the Salamanca Wharf Hotel.
Penny, an avid Trip Advisor Reviewer, is the author of ITCHY FEET FAMILY. A family living in Adelaide, Australia, and taking every opportunity to travel and explore the world.