Southern Tasmania is home to some of the world’s tallest trees and many of these grow in the Huon and Arve forests. One of the most exciting places to see these giants is at the Tahune AirWalk.
Tahune AirWalk is located on the banks of the Huon River and the drive from Hobart takes about an hour and a half. The easiest route is to drive southwards along the Southern Outlet, also called the A6, to Geeveston, about an hour away. The C631, better known as Arve Road, takes you from Geeveston along the Arve Valley to Tahune. This stretch of the journey takes about half an hour.
Run by Forestry Tasmania, Tahune AirWalk has become a very popular Tasmanian attraction since it opened in 2001. Here you can unleash your inner monkey by walking along a steel pathway built high among the treetops. On average, you’ll find yourself 20 to 30 m above the forest floor, with a bird’s eye view of the forest canopy. The very best views come at the last section, which is a cantilever, 48 m above the ground near the junction of the Huon and Picton Rivers. This is obviously not for the faint-hearted but the AirWalk has safety railings all along its 619 m length and has been built to withstand strong winds.
If you prefer appreciating the forest while firmly on solid ground, you may want to follow the Huon Pine Walk, which takes about twenty minutes to complete. The route follows a wooden boardwalk among the trees and undergrowth, with plenty of information boards to tell you more about the different plant species. Be on the lookout for Tasmanian critters like echidnas too.
There’s another walk that takes about an hour and combines the best of both worlds: The Swinging Bridges Walk is on solid ground except for the bit where you cross two swinging bridges over the Huon and Picton Rivers respectively. The route also takes you past the ruins of Police Constable Francis McPartlan’s house. McPartlan was a former convict who joined the police force in Tasmania and was appointed to the post at Picton House in 1870. One of his duties was to check timber licences all along the trail to the Arthur Ranges. If you want to know more about the history of the area, check out the Forest and Heritage Centre at the complex.
You can also explore on wheels, with the forest cycle track covering about 6 km. It’s not an incredibly difficult ride and you’ll need an intermediate level of skill. You’ll have to bring your own bike, though.
These days it’s almost impossible to visit a forest-based attraction and not find a zipline. At Tahune, however, they take it a step further: The Eagle Hang Glider is like a hang glider attached to a zipline. Once you’re strapped in, you get to make like an eagle and fly across the Huon River but beware: Once you’ve done it, you’ll want to do it again … and again … and again.
A good way to visit the Tahune AirWalk is to make a day of it. Your admission ticket includes all the walks and the cycle track while there’s a separate fee for the Eagle Hang Glider. However, your ticket also includes one night’s camping if you decide to stay after dark. There are lodge and cabin accommodation options too and the on-site restaurant serves delicious Tasmanian fare. Picnic and BBQ facilities are available as well.
The Tahune AirWalk is open from 9:00 to 17:00 from October to March and from 10:00 to 16:00 the rest of the year. It’s closed on Christmas Day but also on days with particularly bad weather, so it’s best to call ahead and check. This way, you can make an advance booking and avoid standing in queues.