Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Huon Valley and Tasmania's South

After a favourable beginning to our Tasmanian road trip on magnificent Bruny Island, we docked again on mainland Tasmania at Kettering and headed further south. Following the coast road literally along the edge of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, we passed through the small towns of Woodbridge, Birchs Bay and Flowerpot. The road was dotted with artisan cheese makers such as Grandvewe Cheeses, cherry farm shops and roadside stalls selling seasonal vegetables, garlic and flowers. We spotted some delightful places to camp and fish on the verge of the beaches and bays, in the coastal towns of Middleton, Gordon and Verona Sands. Passing by Egg and Bacon Bay (even the town names endear you to stop and eat!) we drove onto Cygnet, a gorgeous little town and tight knit community. Cygnet recently gained a more public profile as the new home of foodie Matthew Evan’s ‘Fat Pig Farm’ featured on SBS series ‘Gourmet Farmer’. Oh and mr G just happened to spot ‘the gourmet farmer’ himself walking in the main street of Cygnet as we drove into town!
We were heading for a campsite located on a farm in Huonville, in the Huon Valley. This is apple country and happily the road was lined with apple orchards, rows of green trees laden with fruit and cidery cellar doors, as far as the eye could see. An Apple Museum located at Willie Smith’s Apple Shed in Grove, made for some interesting history on the Australian apple industry and the generations of local families who have continued to grow apples in the valley for over one hundred years.
Camping by the Huon River at the Huon Valley Caravan Park, was a perfect base to explore even further south. A day trip past the towns of Franklin, Port Huon, Geeveston, Dover, Southport and Ida Bay, all the way to Cockle Creek and to the end of the southern most street in Australia. We did an invigorating four hour return walk in the South East National Park, along the south track to South Cape Bay. Here we enjoyed a picnic lunch together at 'the bottom of the bottom' of Australia.
The south of Tasmania is abundant with local produce and captivating scenery, we found ourselves stopping the car at regular intervals to buy a bag of apples, cherries, or a punnet or three of raspberries, which being eaten by the handful never lasted long. Other times we paused to simply admire the beauty of the valley, the orchards and her river, the coastal fishing towns and the remote, rugged, southernmost tip of our land.
Thankfully mr G managed to catch some flathead in the Huon River, which pan fried, he inhaled for breakfast the next morning. Then on our final night in Huonville we enjoyed a delightful outdoor dinner by open fire, with friends at their little farm house. Slow cooked lamb, potatoes, salad and locally baked bread, was such a perfect way to finish our time camping down south.
The following day our three kids arrived in Hobart to holiday with us for the next two weeks. Being that the Huon Valley is conveniently only a half hour drive south from Hobart, we returned to The Apple Shed together as a family for a ‘Fat Pig Farm’ event. An afternoon of showcasing the free range pork from the farm, matched with the local apple cider. A sunshiny day, with a late lunch of delicious food, sparkling apple cider to taste and a quirky live band from Denmark, playing quite fascinating tunes to the cheerful crowd gathered. This would complete our time in the Huon Valley and Southern Tasmania for now, but not before letting our 'apple loving' son, 'the adventurer' walk through an apple orchard and see where his favourite food comes from.

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