Like what Russell the little plump wilderness scout in Disney-Pixar’s UP says, “The Wilderness must be explored!”
It takes about an hour’s drive from Huon Visitor Centre jetty to Tahune Forest Reserve , a World Heritage Area near Geeveston in Huon Valley, one of Tasmania’s most world-renowned ancient forests. The word “ancient” already evokes a sense of something exotic and inspiring, I would say, this is an unforgettable forest encounter.
The centuries-old huge Stringybark (Eucalyptus oblique) is hollow at the bottom of the trunk because the nutrient is sent up to the top, so as the tree grows taller, the bottom becomes hollow due to the lack of nutrients.
It’s an awe-inspiring experience to hike through the lush green ancient forest with lovely lofty trees that have stood witness to history for unknown centuries. They are the lucky surviving ones, whereas in other parts of the world, many rainforests have been destroyed forever at a rapid pace for economic gains. As a result, large amount of carbon dioxide emissions caused by deforestation is accelerating global warming.
Save the Rainforests. Save the Lungs of the Earth.
Set in the Tahune Forest Reserve, the Tahune Airwalk is a canopy walkway that offers an intriguing experience to walk among the treetops of species like the Celery Top Pine, Eucalypts, Blackwood, Sassafras, Myrtle and Leatherwood perched in the wet eucalypt forest.
Now, just pretend that you are a treetop bird. You gonna gain a different perspective of the mystical forest from a bird’s eye view! The 597 metres long fixed metal walkway is elevated high above the ground. It offers a rare opportunity to view the very tall tree species up close and looking out to the mountains of the World Heritage Area.
You get an aerial view of the forest from the plane. You walk into the forest with trees so tall that you could hardly see the leaves. You want to feel the leaves and smell the flowers of majestic tall trees? We can appreciate that on the canopy walkway.
At one point, when you look down from the walkway, you’ll see a tree stump covered with coins. It looks like a wishing tree. Jacky threw a coin but it missed the stump. I guess there must be lot of money on the forest floor!
Eucryphia lucida or commonly known as Leatherwood is a flowering tree endemic and commonly found in the forests of Tasmania. The leatherwood flowers attract the bees which produce a distinctively flavoured honey of the finest quality – the Leatherwood honey, only found in Tasmania.
The most exciting part of Tahune Airwalk is when we are nearing the cantilever platform that is suspended 48 metres above the ground by only one end. It is not for the fainted hearted as the dramatic cantilever platform wobbles when the strong wind blows!
However, even if you are afraid of height, you’ve already come so far till the end of the Airwalk track! It is at this point, the forest opens up and you can see the confluence of the mighty Picton and Huon Rivers within the mountains. Simply breathtaking!
We are back to the forest floor. That’s the canopy walkway high above the ground.
Let’s explore the Huon Pine Trail along the river’s edge to meet the some of the oldest residents in Tasmania. Many of the Huon pines along the trail are centenarians and some are even older than a thousand years old!
Huon pine is renowned for its sweet-smelling oils and is endemic to Tasmania. It is one of the slowest growing trees in the world: a mere 1mm growth in diameter per year! So on its 10th year, it is still a small plant! Despite the slow-growing rate, it may attain heights of 20 – 40 metres.
But being slow doesn’t mean you can’t go far! Huon pine is one of the oldest plants in the world and can grow up to 3000 years old or more. In the early days, Huon pine was popularly used in shipbuilding as the wood contains natural oils that resist rotting. Today, the remaining Huon pines are well-protected within reserves. However, fallen logs on the forest floor or buried in river beds after hundreds of years are still usable for woodwork.
Guess how old is this Huon pine that I am holding on? 50+ years old, as old as my folks!
(Left) An example of tree roots growing above the forest bed. (Right) What does the figure below look like? Many think it looks like a puppy! You can give it a gentle pat, but don’t sit on its back for goodness sake!
The rainforest is highly unpredictable. Healthy trees can fall overnight due to very strong wind blowing at 170km/hr. In the forest reserve, even if the tree falls across the walking path, it would not be removed and the log remains where it is to provide a nurture bed for seeds to grow.
Hungry? Need a break? Want to bring back some of the local crafts? Head down to the the souvenir shop and the café at the Visitor Centre. The café serves good Tasmanian gourmet produce and nothing beats an aromatic cup of tea or coffee while relaxing in the lush surroundings at the café.
Remember the tannin-stained Huon River? Even the still water is brownish, though it tastes just like normal drinking water.
Don’t miss Tahune Airwalk. You will be awe-inspired and amazed by the beautiful forest.
Address: Tahune Forest Reserve, Geeveston, TAS 7116
Opening hours: Oct – Mar, 9am – 5pm daily / April – Sep, 10am – 4pm daily
Suggestion: Allow 3 hours in Tahune Airwalk.
We drove back to Hobart for dining at Blue Skies by the lovely Sullivans Cove!
This casual waterfront café transforms into a brasserie from 6pm. You can choose to dine indoor or alfresco to smell the sea.
I’m not exaggerating but this is the best orecchiette pasta (left) that I’ve ever had! My dish had lot of big fresh succulent scallops, salmon and sliced chorizo sausage, tossed through chilli, garlic and fresh herbs, and topped with macadamia and pistachio nut dukkah. The texture of the orecchiette is soft yet chewy. Though the portion served was big, it was so lip-smacking good that I finished the whole plate.
(Right) Seafood pasta combo with many big juicy prawns, scallops and calamari, tossed through a tomato, garlic and cream sauce with a hint of chilli and extra virgin olive oil. I guess the pictures can already tell you we had a delectable and filling dinner. The price? A$28.50 each. Value for money!
And don’t miss out the local wines. We had some great tasting Tasmanian white wine and Josef Chromy Pinot Gris at Blue Skies.
Address: Ground Floor Murray St Pier, Hobart, TAS 7000
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Check out this blog again tomorrow. We gonna meet the Devils!
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