We planned to spend our first full day in the southern part of Tasmania, where we would take a leisurely drive to see fruit orchards (not in season in early November) before reaching Tahune Airwalk, a popular forested walk around 2 hours drive from Hobart.
We read a lot about Willie Smith’s Apple Shed, and since my mum has a fascination with all kinds of fruits I made it a point to drop by to see what it offered.
The brief story of Willie Smith can be read above, resulting in what it is today, a nice blend of ideas from the young combined with the experience of the old. It’s a nice reminder that we ought to be open to new ideas always, and I think the success of the orchard today is testament to that, moving beyond what it traditionally was and expanding to different parts to grow the business.
We didn’t get a chance to see the orchard or any fruit on the trees so we took the time exploring their cute little Apple Museum and spent some time in the in house cafe as well.
Entry to the museum is free for Aussie citizens and others have to make a small donation to the cash till.
The homemade apple pie is a absolute delight, though it could have been warmer on that day. A pretty decent size for slightly less than AUD10.
They also have a small shop where you can buy Wille Smith’s organic cider, and other kind of souvenirs to prove you’ve been to this part of Tasmania.
Following a short lunch stop of pies and pastries at Geeveston, we moved on to Tahune Airwalk, one of the recommended sights in Tasmania. The main attraction is the tree top walk on a 50 metre high steel bridge, lasting around 15-20 minutes, no simple architectural feat even for today’s standards.
There’s 3 main walks to take, the Picton River circuit, the suspension bridge circuit, and the Tahune Airwalk. It would take probably 2 hours to cover all 3 walks. Besides different kinds of flora and fauna, the views of the river are particularly captivating. We started with the short Picton circuit, but if you are short of time you can consider giving it a miss.
We next tackled the main highlight of the attraction, the Tahune Airwalk. This was something I really looked forward to having not walked on any form of suspended bridge in my life.
The Tahune Airwalk is probably what most people come for, and those with vertigo might get a bit nervous but the bridge always felt stable and safe, and it only slightly rocked at the end of the walk, due to the strong winds and perhaps the design of the bridge (on purpose I believe!). It shouldn’t be difficult for most people to finish this walk easily.
The last walk we took was the suspension bridge circuit, though it takes a bit of patience being the longest walk of the 3. Over here you walk across 2 suspension bridges (rockier compared to the Airwalk) with the Picton river flowing below.
We had a wonderful time at Tahune Airwalk because we hardly have the time back home as a family to enjoy relaxing nature walks back home, but I felt the admission price of AUD28 was rather steep. While I certainly understood the costs involved of building the facility, I just can’t help but feel that walks in nature should never be a paid attraction.
The rest of the day was spent driving back to Hobart, where we took the long route via the direction of Cygnet, to see the apple carts and sheds lined up along the roads, where people simply stop their cars, pick up their bag of apple and juice, drop the money into the till and leave.
Indeed there were several such sheds popping up on the road, each advertising their fruit and the prices.
The level of honesty is simply brilliant and I can’t imagine this happening back home= perhaps just my own cynical view of my fellow countrymen at work.
We were quite pleased to have visited this part of the country, and I guess it would have been even better in summer when tons of fresh apples would be hanging on the trees ready to be picked. The trade off would of course be the searing heat, something which most of us from tropical climates probably wouldn’t fancy.
If you are a fruits orchard or apple lover, Huon Valley is definitely a place you shouldn’t miss. Even Tahune Airwalk, despite its price tag, is worth a visit for its wonderful views and relaxing walk.
Our subsequent stops in would see us moving north, stopping over at different parts every night.