Despite spending a lot of time on the road travelling between destinations, there is still something special about stumbling upon a hidden gem.

Whether it is a tiny cafe that happens to make its own selection of gourmet jams and marmalades, an adventure park that is just opening and as such doesn't yet have any queues or high prices, or a small town that seems to hark back to another era, it is hard to beat the feeling of discovering something afresh.

With this in mind, it is little wonder that so many visitors and Huon Valley locals make the pilgrimage to the Wooden Boat Centre in Franklin.

Sitting alongside the Huon River the centre is the only place in Australia where you can learn about the craft of wooden boat building.

Students learn how to build their own boats "from lofting to launch" using a mix of both traditional and modern techniques, as well as how to create their own full-sized, carvel planked, sea-going cruising vessel or dinghy.

Along with courses in the region’s speciality timbers such as the world-famous Huon Pine, King Billy Pine, Celery Top and Tasmanian Blue Gum, visitors to the centre are also encouraged to take part in one of its many guided tours.

Those who are considering making a trip to Huon Valley during May will be able to catch a rare glimpse of one of the centre's best works – a Scandinavian-influenced 23 foot trailer-sailer.

The hull exterior is soon to be completed and you can watch as the craftsmen work round the clock to add the finishing touches to this eco-friendly boat.

Peggy and Georgina are two other boats that are also under construction and waiting to be touched and praised by visitors. Made from locally sourced Huon Pine they are sure to make you want to take up woodworking.

During winter the centre will be open on weekdays and Sundays from 10:00 to 16:30 and bookings are essential.

Wooden Boat Centre tutor showing techniques for planking

Old Huon Pine Motor Launch

Vessel constructed for famed chef and Tasmanian ambassador-at-large Tetsuya

At anchor alongside the Woden Boat Centre - image credit: Huon View Blog

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  • Karen says:

    I was wondering if you had any information about how I could get a Motor Launch like the boat used in Cary Grant’s movie “Father Goose”. I love that boat and would very much like to get a hold of one if I could.

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