The biggest town in the southeast, agrarian Huonville flanks the Huon River 40km south of Hobart, not far from some lovely vineyards, cider-makers and small villages. Having made its name as Tasmania’s apple-growing powerhouse, it remains a functional, working town – low on charm but with all the services you need.
Groovy Cygnet likes to wear its hair long. Originally named Port de Cygne Noir (Port of the Black Swan) by Bruni d’Entrecasteaux, after the big noir birds that cruise around the bay, it's been youthfully reincarnated as Cygnet (a baby swan) and is a town where free-flight living is the norm – a dreadlocked, artsy enclave that also functions as a major fruit-producing centre.
About 23km south of Hobart is small-town Margate, which sometimes feels more like a suburb of Hobart than a town in its own right. There are a few engaging pit stops here, including cafes, an excellent regional museum and an ancient train, stopped in its tracks and full of curious shops.
Established in 1874 as Peppermint Bay (after the area’s peppermint gums), Woodbridge was eventually renamed by a landowner nostalgic for his old home in England. It’s a quiet village sitting squarely on the tourist trail, thanks to the sexy Peppermint Bay Hotel development, which has consumed the old Woodbridge pub.
Photogenic Kettering's sedate harbour shelters fishing boats and yachts in Oyster Cove Marina, next to the Bruny Island ferry terminal. Most folks just blow through en route to Bruny, but it’s a pretty spot to pause for half a day if you've been running yourself ragged on your Tour de Tassie.
A fishing town with a beach and a pier (but sadly no pub – it burned down in 2013), Dover is a chilled-out spot to while away a few deep-south days. The town was originally called Port Esperance after a ship in Bruni d’Entrecasteaux’s fleet, but that moniker now only applies to the bay.
Southport & Around
Southport was once called Baie des Moules (Bay of Mussels), one of several names it’s had over the years. Many travellers don’t take the 2km detour off the main road to visit Australia’s most southerly town, but it’s a worthy diversion if only to stay in one of its B&Bs, which make good use of the waterside locale.