Located 30 minutes south of Hobart, Tasmania, the magnificent Huon Valley is largely undiscovered as a tourist destination. The Huon River rises in the Tasmanian Southwest National Park, flowing through Lake Pedder and the Scotts Peak area before flowing south east through the Huon Valley. The Huon Valley is a quintessential rural setting… encompassing rolling green hills, orchards, farms, quaint townships and river views.
Huon River Cottage is situated in the heart of the Huon Valley at Castle Forbes Bay.
Castle Forbes Bay
Castle Forbes Bay was named after the sailing ship Castle Forbes, 440 tons register, launched in 1818 from building yard of Robert Gibbon & Sons, Aberdeen, Scotland. The ship was named after Castle Forbes, an historic castle that was (and still is) located in Aberdeenshire, and is the seat of the Forbes clan.
Although the ship was designed for the Indian trade, she was later used as a convict transport to Australia. In 1836, she was used to convey Irish free immigrants to Van Diemen’s Land, bound for Hobart. Sailing up the d’Entrecasteaux channel to the west of Bruny Island, the mouth of the Huon River was mistaken for the mouth of the Derwent River near Hobart, and the ship sailed by mistake up the Huon River. Having passed what is now Port Huon, the ship encountered rapidly shoaling water, and the ship’s draft made it impossible to proceed further. The passengers disembarked, and the bay was named after the ship – hence the name ‘Castle Forbes Bay’.
If you look out the front of the Cottage you can see the leads that now mark the narrow channel leading through shallow areas of the bay. The Castle Forbes would have been prevented from travelling further upstream from this point in the river. It is not hard to visualize the ship when you look over the bay from here.
In later years, the properties around Castle Forbes Bay (including the Cottage) were all apple orchards – Tasmania being known as ‘The Apple Isle’. With the British entry into the European Common Market in the 1960s, apple orchards on this scale became uneconomic, and agriculture became more diverse. The Huon valley is now home to a thriving variety of rural pursuits, including vineyards, berry farms and orchards. The early immigrants who disembarked from the Castle Forbes in 1836 would be amazed to see what has happened in the valley over the last 2 centuries.
Around the Huon Valley
If you want more than just a relaxing stay at our cottage, there are plenty of day trip options for you to explore, including bushwalking, river tours and many other tourist activities located along the Huon Trail.
You can also see our blog for further suggestions.