Hyundai hits the Derwent Valley
Join us for a Derwent Valley road trip in the new Hyundai Kona.
The only thing I knew about the Hyundai Kona going into this Sunday drive was that there was an ad for it on TV about a car wash coming to life and dancing around a bright orange vehicle. Equal parts mesmerised, entertained and confused as to what I had just watched, from the ad I gathered the Kona would be young, sporty, and a whole lot of fun.
We awoke to a drizzly, overcast sky, but the Kona Highlander in Acid Yellow, complete with colourful interior trimmings, was all we needed to energise our morning. With doughnuts and coffee on our minds, we jumped in and headed for the city. I felt right at home in the Kona as we weaved through the CBD. Thanks to the combination of Hyundai’s SmartSense safety system and satellite navigation, I always knew when a car was in my blind spot and if a speed camera or school crossing was ahead. Even better, I wasn’t stressed about parking the Kona as it didn’t feel too big, and with the reversing camera providing that extra guidance, I had all the help I needed.
We selected a mix of glazed goodies from Queens Pastry, placed our precious cargo in the back seat, where there is plenty of room for friends and all of your adventuring essentials, and began the picturesque drive to New Norfolk. With a glassy River Derwent to our right and the awesome Krell sound system pumping out our favourite tunes, so far everything about the Kona had been super easy. My particularly long-legged passenger had heaps of room, connecting my iPhone through Apple CarPlay was a breeze, and negotiating the infotainment screen and front console felt really natural.
To complement our sweet treats, we stopped at Badger’s Bike Café, a family owned and operated New Norfolk hotspot serving quality beverages and delicious food and pastries supplied by Tassie favourite, Jackman and McRoss. The café’s modern black exterior certainly stands out in this riverside town, but the light-filled wooden interior dotted with plants and reading material is perfect for catching up with friends or as a base for antique hunting. The team at Badger’s Bike Café aims to promote Tasmania’s cycling culture and to run cycling tours in the future, so watch this space if you like exploring our state on two wheels.
We took our coffee, chai and doughnuts and perched ourselves on the river bank, taking in the sounds of families playing on the jetty and the beautiful reflections on the water. With our sugar and caffeine kicking in, we headed west to Mount Field National Park. As the road past the hop fields became windier and narrower, the lane departure warning was a comforting reminder on a route I’m not overly familiar with.
As I bought our day pass for the national park in the visitor centre, I was asked for my vehicle details. When I told the attendant it was a yellow Hyundai Kona, her co-worker, who was probably in her mid to late twenties, broke out into a dance that mimicked the dancing car wash in the TV ad and exclaimed excitedly, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s the car with the cool dancing ad!’ The marketing team at Hyundai has certainly done a good job of capturing the attention of their target audience.
We stretched our legs and refreshed our minds on the way to Russell Falls, an easy, sealed walk alongside pademelons and luscious plant life to a multi-tiered waterfall. We continued uphill to Horseshoe Falls, taking in the spectacular view from the top of Russell Falls and across the treetops along the way. With so many walks to choose from, I would love to explore Mount Field further, especially in winter to see the waterfalls in full swing.
If you’re keen to stay the night, there’s a range of accommodation options in the Derwent Valley, or you may choose to pitch a tent at one of the camp grounds such as the popular Left of Field, which comes complete with woodheated bath.
As we moseyed back to the Kona, the combination of walking, humid weather, and my poor decision to wear jeans was quickly alleviated with the cool air ventilated front seats. As someone who is always disagreeing with my driving buddy about whether the car is too hot or too cold, I particularly loved this feature and would definitely make good use of the heated seats and steering wheel in the colder months.
Stomachs growling and ready for a late lunch, we cruised back to Westerway for a bite at The Possum Shed. The café is nestled on Ginger Creek, and we sat outside on the deck, watching the ducks and native hens frolic as we tucked into veggie focaccias and iced chocolates. Just down the road is the Westerway Raspberry Farm, which would have been another lovely way to spend the afternoon.
Overall, the Kona definitely lived up to my expectations of being young, sporty and fun. I know looks aren’t everything, but alongside the mini-vans and hire cars in the Mount Field carpark, the Kona definitely stood out from the crowd and was the most vibrant looking vehicle. Features such as keyless entry, heads up display, a wireless phone charging pad and electronic adjustable seats (including lumbar support), provide comfort and convenience that is great for fast-paced city living, as well as longer journeys, while the 5-star ANCAP safety rating provides that extra peace of mind.
The only thing I struggled with was the automatic transmission. I’m not sure if it’s because I prefer driving a manual or if it’s the car itself, but I felt the gear changes lagged a lot, especially when driving uphill. It wasn’t until I arrived home that I realised the car was in ‘eco’ mode, which may have had something to do with it, so I encourage you to give the Kona a whirl in its other driving modes to see what you prefer.
The Hyundai Kona ranges from $25,990 drive away for the Go base model in 2WD automatic, to $42,000 for a 1.6L AWD Highlander with sunroof.
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Hero image: Russell Falls, Mt Field National Park - Michael Ling.
Written by our Communications Coordinator Zoe Cooney.