There’s plenty of reasons to hang out in Tasmania’s Huon Valley; some are new and some are as old as the mighty forests that flank its townships. The Huon Valley has been social distancing long before it was on trend, sitting on the edge of World Heritage Wilderness and often popping whole paddocks between neighbours.
It retains the beauty, charm and heritage of a bygone era, yet it is only a 30-minute drive from Hobart. The main townships are Huonville, Franklin, Cygnet, Geeveston and Dover, all of which are surrounded by stunning wilderness.
The Wilderness and wildlife in this patch of Tasmania is naturally epic. South West Wilderness Heritage Area is on the doorstep. Summit Hartz peak in a day, wander down to South Cape Bay or perch 30-metres above the forest floor at Tahune Airwalk. Venture underground at Hastings Caves and take a dip in the thermal springs. Don’t be surprised if wallaby eyes are watching on, the Huon Valley teems with wildlife. From migrating whales to Wedge-tailed eagles and wandering wombats, there is no shortage of impromptu appearances of the wild variety.
Perhaps the most famous part of this region is Cockle Creek, the end of the road. That’s right, you can’t drive further south in Australia, Cockle Creek is literally the end of the road.
Only 2 hours (148km) drive from Hobart, sitting on the edge of the beautiful Recherche Bay and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, it feels like paradise at the end of the world.
There are no shops or services, yet it is an absolute favourite with local campers, shack owners and recreational fishermen and for good reason. Here you can truly experience tranquil and pristine beaches, calm clear waters and genuine remote peace and quiet.
Historically aborigines valued the regions for the seals, shellfish and bush hunting, with evidence of many shell middens in the area. French explorer, Bruni D’Entrecasteaux sailed his ship, the Recherche into the bay in 1792, subsequently naming the bay.
The region provided an important port of call for ships transporting convicts to the Sarah Island Penal Colony in Macquarie Harbour, on the West coast of Tasmania from 1822 to 1834, when sealers, whalers and loggers visited the area and settled to extract Huon Pine. At its height the settlement numbered more than 2000 people.
Cockle Creek Camping
If you are looking for free camping there area a number of spots within the Recherche Bay Nature Recreation area. They are located just before the Cockle Creek bridge and provide pit toilets only, with no water or firewood available.
Before you arrive at Cockle Creek to do a walk or camp you will need to ensure that you have a Parks Pass. If you do not already have one, we recommend that you purchase one before departing or purchase one online on the Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife website.
What to see and do
- Walk to Fishers Point along rocky headlands and pristine beaches to explore the old ruins of the former Pilot Station and Lighthouse (4 hours return).
- Learn about the whaling history of the area at the large bronze whale sculpture, an easy 10 minute return walk at the very end of the road past the Cockle Creek Bridge.
- Enjoy the serenity as you stroll the sandy shores of Motts Beach.
- Take a Recherche Bay Kayaking Tour with Esperance Adventures.