FRANKLIN.... JEWEL OF THE HUON VALLEY.
A scenic 40-minute drive through the hills south from Hobart, will find you in the picturesque,riverside village of Franklin. Here you will discover why this place is christened the “Jewel of the Huon Valley”.
The broad, slow-flowing Huon River is its life-blood, and home to an eclectic mix of river craft, from the resident tall ship Yukon, to the tiny row boats bobbing in the currents.The coffee-coloured water flows from button grass plains upstream, and creates the amazing sharp reflections that are a photographer’s dream.
Franklin has been a thriving hub of wooden boat construction for almost 2 centuries. Dedicated souls(mostly bearded)spend countless hours, steaming, sanding, varnishing and eventually launching, traditional bespoke vessels. To see them at work in the Wooden Boat Centre is a truly captivating experience.
Across the road from this hive of activity, is a delightful former parish hall, now the home of the multi award winning local cider, Frank’s.Here you will discover not only sparkling blends, but also a stunning range of fresh Huon Valley produce.
Delicious beef and cider pie,fresh-cured salmon, soft scones and ripe-berry jam, the list goes on.....Generations of hard working,resilient folk have been tending the surrounding hill sides since the 1830s, and the rows of worn headstones below the age-old church, hold their melancholy stories.
Quaint weatherboard cottages,once home to the clock maker, the apothecary and the cobbler,line the side of the street;in stark contrast to the stately Palais Theatre,and several imposing double-storey original brick buildings. Peering in through the glass of the sprinkling of quaint main street shops is a delight, and who can resist trying on a flouncing hat, or taking home a fancy bow tie or hand-hewn ring, crafted by a bearded rock and roller?In Franklin you can spend the night in an old bank, a former church, or a converted convent! Luxury accommodation is not hard to find.
At the southern end of the township, the gorgeous original hotel still stands, and the courthouse is now an Italian restaurant, aptly named Petty Sessions!Below here, hungry black swans wait eagerly for the next group of children, and lazy campers admire the stunning water-views in the sunny afternoon warmth.It’s hard to move them on from here. Franklin is home to numerous, sociable dogs and their owners who will nod and smile as they pass. It is commonplace to see a Terrier leaping and chasing a ball, or a Kelpie emerging dripping from the river.
In the late 19th century, this town was the thriving heart of the valley, with the river as its vital connection to the outside world.A stroll along the foreshore’s history walk, away from the road,transports one back to a time when busy steamers plied the waterways and early settlers left sacks of potatoes or crates of apples on their jetties.
Step back in time,and discover the tranquil, unassuming jewel that is the heart of the Huon Valley.
FRANKLIN AND THE HUON VALLEY…. 4 DAY SUMMER ITINERARY
- No car required today. All experiences within walking distance of the accommodation.
- Breakfast, and chatting to hosts re “where to go and what to see” in the Huon Valley.
- Wander through Franklin, browsing tourist information at the Post Office.
- Visit the quirky “Shop @ Franklin” opposite the Post Office.
- Stroll along the Huon River foreshore, south, through the self guided Franklin History Walk.
- Children will enjoy the play ground, and feeding the ducks and swans.
- Return along the river to the northern end of town. Approx.1 km
- This is an ideal area for children to ride the bikes they have brought with them.
- Cider tasting and lunch, at Frank’s Cider House & Café.
- Enjoy Huon Valley produce menu, multi award winning ciders, with juice and milkshakes etc. for children!
- Discover the history of the Tasmanian apple industry in Frank’s Apple Museum.
- View/purchase local products eg Huon Pine woodcraft and local preserves.
- Tour the Wooden Boat Centre. Learn the history of timber boat building on the Huon River, and watch traditional wooden craft under construction. View/purchase Wooden Boat souvenirs and artefacts.
- Sail on the Huon River aboard The Yukon, (Franklin’s resident tall ship).
- Calm water cruising, and spectacular views of the river.
- Children have the chance to steer the boat, and help hoist the sails.
- Walk back down to the B&B. Visit Billy Hill health food shop for snacks on the way past!
- Take photos of the children at The Franklin Lockup then rest and read at B&B.
- Dinner at Osteria Italian Restaurant. After dinner, time in the playground for the children, where parents can enjoy coffee and still supervise children.
- Return to the B&B for well earned rest and sleep!
- Breakfast and consulting maps and brochures for the trip south.
- Hosts providing advice on where to go, and drive times etc.
- Drive to Tahune Adventures via Geeveston.
- Enjoy Twin Rivers Adventure rafting tour. “Paddling, drifting, and splashing on a raft or kayak through bouncy rapids and quiet stretches of the Picton River.” (Tahune Adventures brochure).
- This is the number one activity the family had planned their holiday around.
- Feed “starving” children lunch at the café, and view information boards/purchase souvenirs such as T shirts etc.
- Explore walking tracks and the above the canopy, Tahune Airwalk, suspension bridges etc.
- The family will learn about the ecology of the fire damaged forest in the Tahune area.
- Drive back to Franklin via The Wall of Lollies shop in Geeveston. A much anticipated highlight for children, and a huge range to choose from!
- Children fishing in the Huon River, and bike riding along the river foreshore, while parents sit and enjoy the Huon River from a central point.
- Dine in at Huon Little Treasures Thai Restaurant. Both Thai and western food available.
- Back to the B&B for a very well earned rest for the entire family!
- Breakfast, and consulting brochures and maps, for the day out.
- Drive to Geeveston (20 mins) and visit the Geeveston Visitors Centre.
- Speak to the staff re local attractions and view/purchase locally made products such as woodcraft, art and craft. Observe local artists working and watch the Huon Aquaculture video.
- Visit Geeveston Platypus Walk along the Kermandie River, to catch sight of a platypus.
- Children ride their bikes in the Geeveston Heritage Park children’s cycling area.
- Drive from Geeveston to Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs.
- Tour the limestone caves with a Parks and Wildlife guide. The family will be amazed by the size of the caves, and the beauty of the limestone features.
- BBQ lunch in the pool area, and swimming in the Hastings Thermal Pool.
- The pool temperature is 28 degrees all year round.
- Drive to Southport.
- Walk along the beach at Southport. Fishing from Southport Jetty.
- Coffee and snacks from Rocket @ the End of the Road.
- Return to Franklin via Dover, and the playground at Shipwright’s Point.
- Fish and Chips, at the Aqua Grill in Franklin. Dine in or eat outside if the weather is warm.
- Walk to the northern end of Franklin and wander through St John’s Cemetery.
- Follow the signage trail that leads among the headstones, and explains the history of Franklin, which was established by white settlers in the 1830s.
- Walking return to B&B for an early night.
- Breakfast and discussion on places to go north of Franklin.
- Visit Woof Gallery and purchase locally made products to take home. Children will be delighted by the dog themed crafts available.
- Drive to Huonville (5 mins) and take a ride on the Huon Jet north along the Huon River.
- This is another absolute highlight for the children.
- Huon Pines and Sea Eagles are added attractions, as well as the jet boat speed!
- Visit the Honey Pot for Huon Valley honey tastings, and purchases of locally made honey, and related products. Children will enjoy many items such as bee gumboots.
- Wine tasting at Kate Hill Wines. Children may run around outside, while parents taste local wines.
- Lunch at Home Hill Winery. Children may walk/play among the vines, while parents are supervising from inside. Huon Valley menu and multi award winning wines on offer.
- Heritage Orchard Tour at Woodside Orchard. This includes apple tastings and viewing heritage machinery, while learning about the history of the Apple Industry from 6th generation local Franklin residents. The cattle are also keen to be hand fed which children love.
- Drive to Judbury (20 mins) for fishing in the Huon River, and bike riding/playing in Judbury Park.
- There is also a walk along the edge of the river.
- Return to Franklin and purchase Huon Valley produce picnic hamper from Frank’s Cider House and Café. Local cheeses, seasonal fruits etc to accompany the cider and juice.
- Take picnic to the Franklin Landcare Walk. The walk takes 10 minutes to the end, where there are picnic tables and a beautiful view over the river and moored boats.
- Last play in the Franklin Playground and bike riding along the foreshore.
- Return to the B&B for an early night before return to Hobart next morning.
This itinerary provide experiences for both adults and children. All experiences are “child friendly” and suitable for children 10 years and older. It is designed to avoid the “Are we there yet?” syndrome, and ensures there are frequent stops/activities to delight both the children and their parents.