A writer sharing travels, experiences, a love of festivals & events. Life is a journey and I hope to inspire others. Visit my blog at https://www.travelwithirenke.blogspot.com
Published August 29th 2019
The Huon Valley is a beautiful rural area that begins just 30minutes south of Hobart and extends to our southernmost settlement at Southport, with the largest town on the way being Huonville. Making a great day trip or weekend away, the area is famous for growing apples and exporting them across the globe, earning Tasmania the title of the Apple Isle.
Huon Valley - affectionately known as Apple Valley
For hubby and I it was a quick day trip providing a glimpse of the picturesque region. Our first stop was for morning tea at Willie Smith's Apple Shed Museum & Cider House/Cafe at Grove. This large rustic barn surrounded by old wooden outbuildings and green pastures is a fabulous spot and a must visit. From coffee to cake, cider tasting palettes, breakfast and lunch, they've got you covered in a very relaxing and open setting that screams good times, especially come Fridays and Sundays with sessions of live music upping the ante.
Discover the history of apple farming in the museum with its antique machines and relics from the past, along with storyboards and an apple wall displaying over 390 varieties of apples. Learn the contemporary techniques they use in making organic cider and see how Charles Oates apple spirits are made and aged to make fine Apple Brandy in the distillery.
A museum full of items from bygone days of the apple industry
The gift shop is also an enticing area which saw me take away some cider, fudge and a lovely little cookbook of recipes using apples. Tea lovers will be satisfied too with a range of teas available as well as interesting items in the form of bush jelly and peppy quince paste. Souvenirs include T-shirts and caps emblazoned with the shed's namesake, keeping fond memories alive.
On Saturdays, from 10am-1pm, an artisan and produce market takes place showcasing an ever-changing line-up of local growers selling the likes of gourmet pork products, honey, jams and baked goods, along with local artists and handmade ceramics, wood products and leather goods. There's also awesome coffee and changing breakfast specials.
A number of events take place here year round, including a winter festival with a pagan-inspired celebration. The Apple Shed also makes a great place for a wedding reception with a large outdoor area available for mingling.
Leaving Willie's we travelled through Huonville to our next stop, the town of Franklin. It's the oldest town in the Valley and just 15minutes south of the Apple Shed. Located on the banks of the Huon River, it has a village feel to it with gorgeous cottages and gardens. A historic walk down the main street will see you come across some of the oldest buildings in Tasmania.
Some interesting buildings along the main street of Franklin
Yukon Tours offer a 90minute Huon River calm water cruise on their Danish sailing ketch Yukon, departing from Franklin Marina. You can become a part of the experience by helping to hoist the sails or you can simply sit back and enjoy the beauty of the Valley.
Rescued from the bottom of a harbour near Copenhagen, you can also listen to the story of the Yukon's restoration and adventures on the high seas.
Morning and afternoon cruises are available in sombrero season (summer) with freshly brewed coffee and tea provided for $55 per adult and $31 per child (aged 2-16yrs). During beanie season in the colder months, you'll find Soup and Sail operating for $68 per adult and $50 per child (aged 2-16yrs).
The Danish Yukon at the end of the jetty is full of history and a great way to sail
Other longer cruises are available that depart for various bays and islands, taking in secluded beaches and offering the chance of wildlife encounters.
Be sure to check out the Wooden Boat Centre next to the marina, where shipwrights preserve their craft through imparting traditional skills to students from around the globe in a number of courses and construction programs.
You can learn how to build your own wooden boat at this boat centre
Visitors can explore the Centre with its history and displays, learn tales of timbers and tour the workshop where boats are currently under construction and restoration. Entry is $15 per adult and $5 per child under 16 years.
Learn the language of wood and tales of maritime history
Port Huon was our next and last stop for a late lunch at a roadside cafe before returning back to Hobart. It's another scenic area with boating popular. It is also the gateway, along with nearby Geeveston, to Hartz Mountains National Park where great walks and stunning views of remote mountain ranges can be had.
Port Huon - gateway to Hartz Mountains National Park