Welcome to Matildas!
While visiting the Huon Valley, you will want to give yourself some time to really enjoy this beautiful part of the world – and it is our consistent experience that our guests lament their need to leave early through not realising how much is here.
We present to you thirty reasons to stay in our Huon Valley Accommodation for four nights:
1).Spend an afternoon at Home Hill, the award winning winery that is located right around the corner from Matilda's, in the tranquil and rural surrounds of Ranelagh. Home Hill is open for morning and afternoon tea and coffee, lunch and wine tastings. http://www.homehillwines.com.au/
2).Take a Bruny Island Cruise – From Matilda's, a twenty minute drive around the channel will have you at Kettering, where you can take the ferry to Bruny Island and spend the day in this lovely area. While there, you can sample the local produce, walk the coast line and enjoy the award winning three hour Eco Cruise that our guests have always raved about. Www.brunyisland.com www.brunycruises.com.au
3).Enjoy our locally produced cider from Willie Smiths Cider House, Apple Museum and Providore. Soak up the rustic atmosphere of the Apple Shed for lunch or dinner, drop in for a tasting or just to look through the museum. A local treasure with generations of Huon Valley history. http://www.williesmiths.com.au/
4).If you are here during the growing season, you may like to experience the joy of picking your own food, with a visit to Clifton Farm. Once part of the larger property that included Matilda's, the 5th generation family farm now concentrates on producing high quality, sustainable food using organic permaculture principles. Located a short walk from Matilda's, the farm has at varying times beans and corn to pick yourself, a hazelnut forage and farm gate sales in their delightful restored Post Office building of their own tomatoes, cherries, garlic and even cider. Keep an eye on their social media page for what they are up to during your visit: https://www.facebook.com/cliftonfarm/
5).For lovers of Retro, a visit to DS Coffee House in Huonville is a must. Like a step back in time, the great atmosphere, lovely staff, terrific food and awesome coffee make this establishment popular among locals and visitors alike. Stay for a quick cuppa or lunch – the best vege burgers to be had anywhere! https://www.facebook.com/DS-Coffee-House-Cafe-Internet-Lounge-129996737184254/
6).Feeling active? Then take the short walk along Wilmot Road from Matilda's to see Damien at Huon Valley Bicycle Hire, where you will be provided with a everything you need for a self guided scenic ride through this beautiful valley, including suggested routes. Cycling is a perfect way to catch the scenery, so set aside a few hours to enjoy it. http://www.huonvalleybicyclehire.com/about.html
7).For the adventurous, why not try the Huon Jet Boat ride? Only two minutes from Matilda's will find you at the Huon River where the jet boats operate. Don that life jacket and hold on! http://huonjet.com/
8).Head for the Hairy Giraffe! A gorgeous local restaurant with an inventive menu catering to all sorts of dietary requirements, the Hairy Giraffe has been a welcome addition to Huon Valley fare. Situated across from the Huon River, the Giraffe is open for breakfast, coffee and lunch Tuesday to Sunday and dinner Friday and Saturday evening.
9).Spend a leisurely hour or two in the grounds here at Matilda's of Ranelagh – too many people go home needing a holiday from their holiday, a symptom of trying to fit in too many activities into too short a time frame. We are situated on five acres of grounds that include many secluded garden areas to sit and relax, plants to look at (some lovely weed species too!) and tree's to sit under. Chat to the cows if they are around, watch our resident rooster scratch about, enjoy the abundance of bird life here or you may even spot one of the Corgi's or Dorcas the black pug. Or just ignore the world and the world will happily allow you to rest.
10).For the religiously inclined or the spiritually curious, there is a variety of church services on offer in the area. Opposite the old entrance to our property is the Heritage St James Anglican church where Sunday services start at 9.30 am. Around the corner a little further next to the original timber building, is the newly constructed Catholic church and Huonville township offers a Community Church.
For more elaborate tastes, the sung Eucharist at All Saints in South Hobart is a feast for the senses in the catholic tradition, and the stunning St David's Cathedral hold wonderful early morning Holy Communion, mid morning Choral Eucharist and Evening Prayer on Sundays, in addition to Evensong on the last Sunday of the month. These churches are stunning peices of architecture as well as places of worship and are well worth the visit, for whatever reason – you can be assured of a warm welcome.
11).The township of Franklin is just a short drive from Matilda's and boasts the ever popular Wooden Boat Centre, where you can observe the tradition of boat building in the Huon Valley, take a workshop or opt for their River to Rainforest Tour, complete with optional guided Huon Pine walk. http://www.woodenboatcentre.com/
12).Walk among giants with a visit to the Tahune Airwalk. The timber township of Geeveston is around a half hour drive from Matilda's, so stop there for coffee and then drive the remaining 30 minutes to the airwalk, where you can enjoy forest walks, hang gliding or the suspended bridge walk high above the forest floor. http://tahuneairwalk.com.au/
13).A few minutes walk from Matilda's and past the lovely old churches will land you at The Summer Kitchen, a bakery famous for it's organic wood fired sourdough, among other things. Their Madras Pies are to die for, their coffee is legendary and their range of patisserie items is rich. https://www.facebook.com/Summer-Kitchen-Bakery-389693084374495/
14).If you are visiting us in Autumn, then you will love the foliage and colours that flood the entire valley like an artists brush. Take a light jacket as the air is crisp, and head out for a walk or a drive through some of our beautiful rural roads and rivers.
15).By now you may want to explore the wider area a little more, so it is a great opportunity to take a leisurely drive over to the other side of the river. Turn left before the Huonville Bridge and drive along the waterways to the township of Cygnet; interesting and colourful, with quirky shops, lovely cafe's and pretty surroundings. After you have finished, you can double back to us or drive further along the beautiful waterways and channel, through Flowerpot, Birches Bay, Woodbridge, Oyster Cove and Snug, ending near Sandfly where you have almost looped back and are now only a twenty minute drive back to Matilda's.
16). If you do decide to stop in at any of the places above consider Peppermint Bay at Woodbridge, for coffee, a glass of wine, light meals or bistro dining. Set amid it's natural surroundings, this award winning popular venue is a focal point of the area. http://www.peppermintbay.com.au/
17).If you are visiting us during the second weekend in March, you will be fortunate to strike the annual Taste of the Huon, held right around the corner in Ranelagh. This festival is a celebration of everything the Huon Valley is about, abounding in food, wine, crafts and demonstrations revolving around what has traditionally made this place so productive. http://www.tasteofthehuon.com/
18).An hour South of Matilda's will take you to the beach side town of Dover, where you will have entered Tasmania's Far South. From here, you can venture further down to Southport, walk alomg the pristine beaches or experience a Heritage 2 hour rail journey on the Ida Bay Railway.
19).Kingston Beach is a quiet and pretty dog friendly beach located just outside of the township of Kingston and only around twenty minutes drive from Matilda's. Stroll along the sand, browse the independent shops and grab an ice cream – for a relaxing morning only a short distance away. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingston_Beach,_Tasmania
20).After your morning at the beach, you may be in the mood for a Heritage experience, so take the road a few kilometres further into Taroona, and stop in at the Shot Tower. With the distinction of being the only remaining circular shot tower in the world, this wonderful structure stands 48 mteres tall, and was constructed in 1870. Including a museum, tea room and gift shop this is well worth a visit. http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/indeX.aspX?base=2812
21).After all of that activity you certainly deserve a rest – why not select a book from the well stocked library here at Matilda's, order a pot of tea and put your feet up? Curl up on our library lounge looking over the front gardens, in the Drawing Room in front of the fireplace (lit in the colder months) or bask in the light filled sunroom near the back door. We feel certain you can fill in a few hours – easily!
22).If flowers are your thing, it may be a good opportunity to visit some of the lovely open gardens, dedicated walks and self guided tours in the area. There are several gardens open all year and many others only seasonally, so take a look at the brochure brought out by Blooming Tasmania for all the information you will need. Www.bloomingtasmania.com.au
23).If you like natural wonders, the Hastings Cave and Thermal Springs are ever popular. Located around an hour in a southerly direction from Matilda's, you can find more information here: http://www.discovertasmania.com.au/attraction/hastingscavesandthermalsprings
24).If you like animals and want to know more about Tasmania's amazing wildlife, you may be interested in Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. This is not a zoo, but a sanctuary for injured and sick wildlife as well as a social enterprise dedicated to environmental protection, and a very enlightening experience. http://bonorong.com.au/
25).Do the Markets – if you are staying over a weekend, there is sure to be a market on somewhere. Of course, Tasmania has the iconic Salamanca Market (only 35 minutes drive away) but for something more local, we have a few options: The Huonville Market is to be found in the Main Street at the Town Hall on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month from 10am-2pm and specialise in local gourmet foods, atrs and crafts and jewellery and gifts. Also on the 1st and 3rd Sunday is the Cygnet Market, with the expected colourful selection of stalls - http://cygnetmarket.com.au/ . The Kingston beach Handmade Market is on monthly and features locally crafted items from Southern Tasmania's talented artisans – see their site for dates: http://www.kbhm.com.au/home . On the last Sunday of the month is the Snug Market (yes, we have a town called Snug!) - selling jewellery and unique items, as well as the wonderful Vegelicious for home made vegan treats; http://snugmarket.com.au/
26).With renewed interest in ethical eating and sustainable lifestyles, there is no better time to visit and learn from Brightside Farm Sanctuary. Emma Haswell and her dedicated team rescue and rehome hundreds of animals each year, and provide sanctuary for abused, neglected and abandoned farm animals. They accept visitors to the farm by appointment on Mondays, Wednesday's, Friday's and Saturday's. Take a look at the wonderful work they do at: http://brightside.org.au/
27).If your visit to Home Hill has whet your appetite for more, you may want to take a leisurely tour of the Huon's more popular wineries. Take a look at Panorama at Cradoc, Hartzview at Gardener's bay ( http://www.hartzview.com.au/ ), Heron's Rise at Kettering (http://www.heronsrise.com.au/vineyard.php ), or Kate Hill Wines, right here in Ranelagh (http://www.katehillwines.com.au/website/home.html )
28).The Cygnet Folk Festival is an ever popular and anticipated annual event, located only twenty minutes from Matilda's. A unique festival experience, you can see it's delights each January, so check the site for the dates of the next event. http://www.cygnetfolkfestival.org/
29).For the lovers of a good bargain, the local op shops may provide you with an hour or two's browsing and perhaps the odd treasure. Huonville itself will give you a great little St Vinnies in the main street, right along from the Mission store. In Wilmot Road is the Huon Anglican Op Shop. If second hand furniture or building items are more your thing, you might try Kruse's Salvage or The Red Shed, both in Wilmot Road. For second hand books, try Bentley for Books in the main street – right next to DS Coffee House.
30).When it all get's too much and you cannot face planning yet another day trip, get someone else to organise it for you. See Huon Valley Escapes for organised tours tailored to your preferences. From a few hours to all day, this popular group cater well to photography tours and tuition.