Tasmania is a must-see destination during your trip or on a Working Holiday Visa in Australia, especially if you love outdoors activities, long hikes, wild beaches, ultra-diverse wildlife, and very friendly locals.
I had the opportunity to explore this Tasmanian gem because I was volunteering for a Blueberries farm as a fruit-picker just outside of Cygnet for a duration of three weeks.
During week ends, I had plenty of time to wander around and I wanted to share my experience with you.
How to get to Cygnet from Hobart?
Cygnet as part of the Huon Valley is located 55 Km south of Hobart (Tasmania’s capital city). To get there, you have two options:
- Public Transport: Hop on the 714 bus from City Interchange #DA. The Journey will last for 1h and 20 minutes. When you get to Cygnet, hop off at No.80 Mary Street.
- By Car: Driving to Cygnet from Hobart takes about 45 minutes via Huon Hwy/A6 and Channel Hwy/B68 (Fastest route).
Over the course of the year, the maximum temperature in Cygnet averages 16 ° C (ranging from 10 ° C in July to 22 ° C in January). Throughout the year, it rains around 380mm, with a minimum of 25mm in January and a maximum of 40mm in August.
The weather is nice for a trip to Cygnet from January to May and September to December, but it is especially nice from January to April and October to December.
Things to do in Cygnet
1) Mary Street
The main street of Cygnet, named Mary Street in 1915, is bordered with hotels, banks, grocery stores, a chemist, cafes and restaurants, private homes, and a Town Hall. The street is literally a hub of activity that bears witness to the importance of the street in tying a community’s life together for decades.
Mary Street depicts the lives of hundreds of individuals from Town and nearby areas who rely on the major route for a living, business, or pleasure.
The St James’ Catholic Church and the Cygnet Living history museum are the highlights, alongside The Port Hole and Lovett cafes.
2) The Cygnet Folk Festival
The Cygnet Folk Event, which has been hosted in Cygnet, Tasmania, since 1982, is a three-day folk music festival which is held annually on the second weekend in January. The festival has grown to become one of Tasmania’s most important cultural events.
Cygnet’s taverns, halls, cafes, churches, parks, and streets host performances. The latter include Concerts, workshops, master courses, poetry readings, youth awards, children’s events, gourmet food stalls highlighting local produce, an arts and crafts market and dances.
Local Tasmanians, mainland Australians, and international guests are among the musicians invited to perform on stage during this festival. When I visited Cygnet, I watched Ben McCulluch and Rory McLeod performing along many other artists.
The festival was cancelled in 2021 due to the COVID 19 pandemic. The 2022 festival will take place from the 14th to the 16th of January 2022, to celebrate the festival 40th anniversary.
All info available here: www.cygnetfolkfestival.com.au.
3) Bi-Weekly Farmer's Market
If you are visiting Cygnet on either the first or the third Sunday of the month, don’t miss the Farmer’s Market.
The market displays wonderful bread, organic produce of all kinds, and stalls selling everything from cosmetics products and hand-made soaps to cakes, plants, books and things you wouldn’t expect to find there.
It’s also very welcoming. I have noticed that the majority people know each other, which is not surprising knowing that Cygnet population at that time was about 800 inhabitants.
I also felt that it was easy to feel like a part of the community while waiting in line for a fresh bakery or a Chai Latte.
4) Catos Bay
Located within a walking distance from Mary street, you will notice that nearly all of the land around Catos Bay is vegetated. It is also an area with a very low population density (around 2 inhabitants per square meter).
On a low tide, you can almost walk to the centre of the bay. It is a very picturesque area, with a lot of wooden boats, hills and straw balls (don’t miss the white house with the red roof).
Also, If you explore Catos Bay, you can check the tide times here: https://www.tideking.com/Australia/Tasmania/Catos-Bay/
5) Port Cygnet Sailing Club
Also located within a walking distance from Mary street, The Port Cygnet Sailing Club was founded in the late 1970s on the sands of Robley’s Point. The first activities were performed in a tent and the first racing in dinghies.
At the time, the area surrounding the foreshore was rocky, covered with blackberries and gorse. Many truckloads of sand were necessary to create what is now a beach over the years.
There were only a few boats anchored in the harbour in the 1980s; currently there are well over 100 registered docks.
Every year, from early October through the end of April, the club holds twilight races almost every Sunday of the period. The racing begins on the first Tuesday in January and lasts for eight weeks, followed by a large barbecue event.
6) Port Cygnet Wildlife Sanctuary
Port Cygnet Wildlife Sanctuary is a wetland area on the southern outskirts of Cygnet township, adjacent to Burtons Reserve and picnic area.
Here you can see gulls, swans, herons, ducks, and many other shorebirds and seabirds.
7) Cygnet Living History Museum
When visiting the lovely village of Cygnet in the Huon Valley, this is a must-see. The museum has a wealth of information, maps, and photographs about Tasmania’s history.
This include the link with early French explorers like D’Entrecasteaux, who arrived on a scientific mission long before the British military needed a place to house convicts from Britain’s overcrowded prisons.
The French were so taken aback by the quality of the wood and the beauty of the surrounding landscape that they planted vegetable gardens to allow a good supply of fresh food for the crew.
The history of Cygnet is also highlighted in this museum, and there is interesting information on the township’s development over time, including the original uses of buildings.
I have spent 3 weeks in Tasmania in total, and had the opportunity to spend some time in Cygnet. I will always remember this charming Tasmanian town, full of energy and culture. If you happen to visit Tasmania one day, I urge you to take a trip to Cygnet.