Why? Has to be the first question I ask myself as I leave the Tahune and head back to Hobart. Why did it take me 14 years in Tasmania to actually get to this magic place? How can anywhere be so incredibly magnificent, and yet so under the radar? I feel lighter, brighter, and calmer after just 2 days exploring the bush in Southern Tasmania known as the Tahune, or ‘peaceful place by running water’. Ain’t that the truth.
Originally built and managed by Forestry Tasmania, a private investor, Ken Stronach, took over the Tahune Air Walk in December, 2016. While Ken himself may seem distant from the actual property, he certainly seems to have the magic touch when it comes to staff and management. The drive down is a hard 1.5 hours on the road, past Geeveston, deep into this pristine southern bushland, but once there, the welcome is as warm as one would wish anywhere.
The visitors’ centre is an homage to wood and all its beauty. Emma, who somehow manages the entire experience with knowledge and skill, and never tires of the beauty she’s surrounded by, greets us and shepherds us to what will be home for the next couple of days.
We’re there to try it out, see what the applause is all about, and get a feel for the experience that is uniquely ‘Tahune’. Ken has built a lodge for guests to stay and enjoy, and a cottage, where we are holed up for a our short stay. It’s warm, clean, and very convenient. Roll out of bed, and jump on a hang glider? You bet! Didn’t have to ask us twice. And this hang glider is a comfy bucket that swoops you up above and across the Huon river.
Ian, our incredibly knowledgable guide, who’s come from all over to share his passion with this incredible place, straps me in, and in a flash, I’m floating above the bush and getting that birds’ eye view of the river. Seems to be a thing here, doesn’t it? That birds’ eye view? And even though I hate heights – standing on a chair breaks me out in a cold sweat, this bucket thing is so safe and comfortable I relax, and fully enjoy the ride. And I do it again. Why not?
The sheer beauty of this place beats anything man-made hands down. It makes me ponder – why does man insist on building grand statements, when nature has it all nailed? Ian ushers back to the visitors’ centre, where we enjoy a light lunch. Pie, chips and salad. But in this centre, care and attention to detail is everywhere, and the food is local, and delicious. The pie I enjoy, is kangaroo and cider, and Susie tucks into her beef and mushroom. The salad in particular is crisp with a blend of peppers, beetroot and fresh vegetables that make this meal, at $12.50 incredible value.
It’s funny isn’t it? The humble pie is one of my favourite go-to’s when I need sustenance, and there’s a real art to nailing that balance between filling (it must be juicy and not claggy like glue), tasty, with crisp yet soft buttery pastry. I often wonder what the first pies were like in ancient Grecian times? Who was the genius cook who decided that meat wrapped in pastry might be worth trying? Ah well, that is a question that I guess we’ll never know the answer to and quite frankly, at $12.50 for full meal? Well that’s a feat in itself.
Feeling pretty right with the world, Ian collects us for our big walk out into the air. 50 metres above the forest floor, this engineering feat dangles like some giant spoon, holding us gently as we marvel at the trees and their beauty. Have a look at the stats: building this walkway must have been a challenge.
The walk is over 600 metres, certainly not the little overhang I was expecting. In fact, the entire experience is so much more than anyone would expect, and the sleeping sumo feel of this deep bushland seeps into your soul. And if it doesn’t, then you’re not paying attention!
The timelessness of the forest floor as it regenerates, and goes on its endless cycle is present, everywhere. And to just be there, is to feel one is part of nature’s grand plan, somehow.
Back down on earth, we look up and marvel again at the structure that dominates this landscape, yet somehow doesn’t feel out of place. It’s such a thrill, to be in the tree tops, gliding along and enjoying the ancient sonic boom that bounds out of the serenity. Feel the serenity? Yes you can! The water is dark from button grass and moving on the bridge back to headquarters, we plan the next attack. There’s a night walk, two more walks along other parts of the river including a swinging bridge, and tomorrow, white water rafting. Yes! We’re up for that. Tahune Air Walk? Tick. Tomorrow is a new day, in an old, old forest.
And with the visuals crowding out the words, because, well, words seem superfluous when you are surrounded by such beauty, I will leave the story here for the moment, and the white water rafting for next time. Coming soon.