Up the Huon River to Kermandie

kermandie hotel entrance Tony has always said his two favorite islands were Lord Howe and Tasmania. So when he told us that he and Mary Anne had taken over management of the Kermandie Marina and Hotel complex in Tasmania, it really wasn't a surprise. We first met them in Sydney. Tony is an avid sailor and had been following our blog as we crossed the Pacific. He got in touch when we neared Australia and we've become good friends.

The Kermandie Marina is at the junction of the Kermandie and Huon Rivers, not far away from Cygnet, so it only made sense to head up river 10 miles or so to pay them a visit. Easier said than done when the wind is whipping up the channel to Cygnet at 25 knots. We stayed put an extra day in Cygnet waiting for the winds to subside, then headed up river to Port Huon and into Hospital Bay in the early morning when things were calmest.

The Huon River is wide and deep here. The air was still thick with a brown, smoky haze from the current bushfires as we wended our way around Poverty Point and headed north/northwest up river. Small boats were moored in many of the little nooks and inlets along the river's edge. Fish farms lined the riverbanks on both sides and we kept a close lookout for their marking buoys. The area is hilly and treed, with large patches of dry bush which looked potentially dangerous with the current wildfire plague here. Orchards sprawled up the hillsides...this is fruit growing country. The area is sparsely settled and landholdings look to be large and spread out.

port huon

We rounded Whale Point and the tiny town of Port Huon came into view. A large jetty extended out from the port buildings and a large PORT HUON sign proclaimed we'd arrived at our destination. We anchored behind the moored boats just as the winds increased to 25+ knots. For once, our timing was good for the winds; but poor for the tides.

kermandie marina

Kermandie Marina is reached via a well-marked, narrow, shallow channel and we felt uncomfortable navigating its shallow depths with our 7'2” draft. At high tide, there would be a couple of inches to spare. High tides were unfortunately at 0445 and 1800. We opted to anchor in the bay and visit our friends via dinghy. We did, however, take advantage of the marina's hot showers which were thoroughly appreciated.

olive may

The historic Olive May was tied up at the marina. Built in Tasmania in 1880 out of local Huon pine, she's the oldest Australian charter vessel in survey and visitors can book passage for a ride up the Huon River.

The marina faces a beautiful wetland area. Birds are abundant here. Gulls, cormorants, black swans, grebes and ducks swam and darted in and out of the reeds and cat tails that cover the marsh. A kookaburra laughed from a tree branch on the river bank.

kermandie hotel entry

The Kermandie Hotel, just across the street from the marina, was built in 1932 to accommodate the local timber, orchard and river workers. It's a charming country hotel. Each room has a different homey décor and it would be a fun, pleasant place to stay if we didn't have our “hotel room” with us.

Recently renovated, the Sass Restaurant & Huon Lounge offer a varied menu featuring Tasmanian grown fresh produce, fish and seafood. We had the local salmon for lunch and it was wonderful. The name Sass is short for sassafras, a native Tasmanian timber, in which the walls are paneled. The Lounge has a funky “retro” décor, a bit of country-modern fusion. It would be a comfy place to sit, read a book and sip a cuppa on a cool day with the fireplace at your back and a view of the marina out the large front windows.

There's a pub on site and a bottle store (liquor store). Guests have access to the swimming pool at the Aquatic Center across the street. There are gardens and picnic tables on the front lawn. It's an all-inclusive place as far as we were concerned.

A couple day's stay is all we could manage. Wish it could have been longer, but Tony and Mary Anne are busy folks and the clock's ticking for us to get a move-on.

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