The journey we took to get here, Tasmania’s ‘Southern Edge’ drive, has all the hallmarks of a world-class road-trip. First, the aforementioned history. Good, bad, sometimes ugly: learning the story of Tasmania, and each very distinct chunk of it, only serves to deepen the understanding and appreciation of the place (anyone heading to Cockle Creek would do well to glance through Mulvaney’s tome on the region, which is available online for free).

Second, the journey can be tailored to your timeline. Those on a time limit—as we are—can drive straight from Hobart to Cockle Creek in a little under two hours without stopping (but you’ll want to stop). Those with more time can hang a left at Huonville, head into Cygnet, drive the loop around to Flowerpot and up into Kettering—from where another diversion to Bruny Island is possible, and comes highly recommended (if you like your islands covered in cheese, oysters and history).

Completing the loop (several kilograms heavier), you’ll pass through Huonville again before heading south, as far as you can go, until you hit Cockle Creek and, if you’re lucky, dolphins. You can sample variations of the drive in a single day or spend weeks exploring this chunk of the south.

Even our abridged version of the Southern Edge features an unfair amount of eye candy. If you’re not caught gazing wide-eyed across the Huon River, you’re certainly marveling at the hills, valleys and emerald expanse of the bush as it rolls alongside you. And if you’re not doing that, it’s because you’ve stopped at one of the highly stoppable towns or roadside curiosities along the way.

The first curiosity of our drive, just 30 minutes outside of Hobart, tucked snugly into the apple-friendly microclimate of the Huon Valley, is Willie Smith’s Apple Shed. Here they make cider—lots of it—and cider-adjacent things (Tasmania is the ‘Apple Isle’, after all). And they do so with a verve and care that is rare in this day and age but not, as I am learning, in Tasmania.

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