Slabs and I went to the Tahune AirWalk many years ago, pre-Juniordwarf. We thought he might like to go there, so after talking about it for ages, we finally picked a weekend and went.
The Tahune AirWalk is about 28 km from Geeveston in the Huon Valley. It’s located in the Southern Forest area, close to the Hartz Mountains National Park. It’s near the junction of the Huon and Picton rivers.
There’s 3 short walks in the area and we did them all.
The first one is obviously the AirWalk itself, which is a steel ramp up in the tree tops, which gave us wonderful views from the top of the trees. It’s a short walk through the forest – you have to climb 112 steps to get there, and then you start walking among the tree tops at an average height of 20 metres.
It’s quite an amazing feeling, and we were lucky to be the only people doing the walk at the time so it was nice and relaxed. The AirWalk is 619 metres long, and right at the end is the cantilever section which is 48 metres above the river. From here you get a great view of the Huon and Picton Rivers junction, as well as the Hartz Mountains and the surrounding forest. It was pretty spectacular.
It’s an impressive engineering feat as well. According to the sign it took 3 months to build and uses over 120 tonnes of steel and 9000 nuts and bolts. The cantilever can support the weight of 120 people or 12 baby elephants – 10 tonnes –and can withstand winds of 180 km/hour. Luckily for us it wasn’t windy at all, so we didn’t need to test that claim out!
It was interesting on the way back down to see some of the anchors holding the AirWalk in place, and to look up and see how high we’d been.
We did the second walk, the Huon Pine Walk, which is a 20 minute walk along the river. There’s lots of information about Huon Pine, which we got in reverse because we did the walk the wrong way. Huon Pine is only found in Tasmania. It grows on the edges of rivers and lake where there is high rainfall, and is used in boat building and craft work. It’s a slow growing tree than can live for a long time – apparently there are some specimens on the West Coast that are 2500 years old.
It was a nice little walk.
The final walk we did was the Swinging Bridges Walk, which is an hour long circuit that takes you across two narrow swinging bridges over the Huon and Picton Rivers. We managed to do this one backwards as well, so we crossed the Picton Bridge first before crossing the Huon bridge.
Just after (or before, if you do the walk the right way around) the Picton bridge is a short trail that takes you as close as you can get to the junction of the two rivers. If you look up, you can see the cantilever section of the AirWalk – the place where we’d seen the river junction from. It looks very cool.
Juniordwarf loved the bridges, and after we’d crossed the first one he said it wasn’t long enough and he wanted to make the most of it so he was going to go back and cross it again. He probably would have done it many more times if we’d let him.
These bridges are very narrow and it’s almost impossible to get past anyone walking across them (unless they are very small), so we had to wait for the family crossing from the other side of the Huon Bridge before we could cross. They were moving very slowly and looked a bit nervous – even more so when we told them they had another bridge to cross after that one.
The walk back is very pretty and it passes underneath part of the AirWalk, including the cantilever, so again you get a feel for how high off the ground we’d been. You also appreciate more closely that there’s nothing underneath the cantilever holding it up!
It was a fun day.