The pretty riverside town of Franklin is filled with good old-fashioned Tasmanian charm. Located in the scenic Huon Valley, just a 40 minute drive south of Hobart, this vibrant township is perfect for some R&R. Stay at one of the quaint B&Bs, local hotels or holiday houses and let yourself unwind. Here are our top five things to do at Franklin.
1. Explore the town on foot
Franklin has a real village feel, and is perfect for exploring on foot. Wander along the picturesque riverfront, stroll the charming streetscape, and admire the historic buildings. The Palais Theatre is a beautiful example of Federation-style architecture and hosts a range of events, including the monthly Franklin Market (held on the last Sunday of each month). Franklin is a hub for creative types, so pick up a delightful locally made keepsake in the art and craft stores. As you walk, admire the local gardens – many are filled with flowers and heirloom fruit trees. Meander along a quiet lane up to the hills behind the town for amazing views of the township and river below.
2. Get snap happy
Don’t forget your camera! Franklin is so picturesque, it would be hard to take a bad photo. The Huon River is a favourite with photographers, with all of the pretty wooden boats docked at the pier. Sunrise and sunset are top times to try your luck – you might just capture a colourful sky reflected perfectly in the calm water. Franklin is also one of the best spots to take photos of the Aurora Australis when she visits.
3. Visit the Wooden Boat Centre
Franklin’s shipbuilding and maritime heritage is alive and well at the Wooden Boat Centre. Visit the discovery centre to learn about the age old craft of wooden boat building, water transport on the river, and maritime tools and artefacts. Take the guided tour through the workshop to glimpse students and boat builders in action (the timber smells amazing). If you’re keen to get your hands dirty, sign up for one of their specialised boat-building courses. There’s something for everyone, from the novice to the experienced craftsman, and the courses range in length from one day to full-time certificate courses.
More info: Tours | Courses
4. Sail on board the Yukon
The Yukon was originally built of oak in 1930, and is a stand out at the pier. Today, it’s hard to imagine her at the bottom of a harbour near Copenhagen, but that’s exactly where Australian shipwright David Nash and his Danish wife Ea Lassen rescued her from! After five years of loving restoration, the family began operating Yukon as a charter vessel, first in Europe and now in Australia. There are a range of tours to choose from, including their popular 90 minute Calm River Cruise up the Huon River, as well as overnight cruises. Immerse yourself in the experience as you hoist sail, explore the cozy cabins under deck, and enjoy the timeless feeling of sailing amidst the stunning scenery of the Huon Valley.
5. Sample the local bounty
Franklin offers a good selection of eateries including riverfront cafes and restaurants, with a focus on local produce. You can also go old school country and pick up some fresh fruit (and flowers) from the roadside stands. If you’re after something to quench your thirst, head to Frank’s Cider Bar & Cafe, which is located in the former St John’s Church Hall. Take advantage of the free cider tastings and treat yourself to something tasty from the cafe. Some trees in the orchard are over 150 years old, and Frank himself planted many of the trees still harvested for cider by his descendants today. Be sure to check out the Jane Franklin Memorial Museum onsite for a fascinating insight into the local history.
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