WINNER STAYZ NATIONAL AWARD 2016 - "Romance" Section
Frenchman's River is a 200 acre working cattle property near Cygnet in Southern Tasmania's exquisite Huon Valley.
Owned by television producer & novelist Posie Graeme-Evans and designer Andrew Blaxland, together they have created two beautiful self-catering houses for you to stay in on their farm.
The Helmsman's House and the HIA award-winning, Writers House, will delight travellers who cherish magnificent views, serenity, bespoke luxury and complete privacy as well as being spoiled by their hosts
Perfectly placed above lovely Cygnet Bay, the Helmsman's House is a spacious restored Federation-era farmhouse with two large and romantic bedrooms - each paired with opulent bathrooms each with bath, walk in shower and underfloor heating plus bathrobes & organic amenities.
A vast living-dining area with French doors leads the visitor to the limestone terrace with glorious views of water, mountains and sky. Other outside areas include a pretty white-painted "folly" - a perfect place to read or meditate embraced by the bay and the hills - and a gazebo at one end of the terrace. Sundowner drinks as you watch the sunset? Why not.
And, undoubted star of the well-equipped chef's kitchen is the revolving 1917 Metters Bush Pantry. Perhaps it' a first cousin to one of Dr. Who's Dalek's but here in Southern Tasmania this endearing and eccentric object is the real deal: a radically space-saving pantry whose drawers brim with all kinds of dry goods, sauces, oils and treats.
Among the inclusions in each accommodation house at Frenchman's River is a fridge that comes laden with seasonal and organic goodies including free-range eggs, local bacon and Tasmanian cheeses, plus artisanal Cygnet bread, milk from the dairy down the road and excellent Tasmanian butter. Tasmanian yoghurt is also provided, along with muesli, breakfast cereals and oats not just in porridge season
A bottle of regional wine or local cider/beer your choice, port in a decanter and a "nibbles" platter are also provided free of charge; let us know any dietary preferences, we're flexible fresh provisions will vary according to what's available in season, but are always generous.
A meal can be arranged for your first night for a small extra charge do call Andrew or Posie on to discuss.
During the day, the bustling village of Cygnet is a ten minute stroll down the hill one-way; steeper coming back up where the famous Red Velvet Lounge, Lotus Eaters Cafe, the Cygnet Woodfired Bakehouse plus the Port Cygnet Diner all showcase the glorious seasonal produce to be found in the region.
Or, if you'd like to buy your own provisions, the Cygnet Garden Larder is certainly worth a visit just ask for Bec, tell her Posie sent you. Here you'll find the best, freshest fruit and vegetables the valley can offer. The Emergency Butcher next door true. That's what Grahame calls himself smokes his own free-range bacon and you can buy grass-fed beef, pork and lamb in abundance.
The cellar door of Pagan Cider, just outside town on the road to Huonville, is well-worth visiting: they specialise in micro batches of artisan-made cider from just-picked local fruit as does Willie Smith's Organic Cider, just outside Huonville on the Hobart Road, and Frank's Cider Bar in Franklin.
Good restaurants nearby include the water-side Peppermint Bay Bistro 20 minutes from Frenchman's Bay, Petty Sessions it's a gallery as well in the riverside village of Franklin home to the world famous wooden boat centre - 30 minutes drive and Home Hill vineyard restaurant at Ranelagh 25 minutes away.
Two Bud Spur at Gardiners Bay, Hartzview Vineyard where you can see a collection of old-time apple pickers huts and Elsewhere vineyard are all less than ten minutes by car and, Mathew Evans - yes the gourmet farmer himself - has opened his new restaurant and Cooking School on Fat Pig Farm at Glaziers Bay, 6 minute's' drive from Frenchman's River. The weekly long-table lunch on Fridays books out very early but it's certainly worth looking out for; and, by special arrangement, we can drive you there and back so you can enjoy some of the wonderful local wine with a clear conscience.
And, all around Frenchman's River winding country roads - many of them waterside - picturesque picnic spots and deserted beaches can be found within 2 to 15 minutes drive of Frenchman's River; also, the Bruny Island Car Ferry departs hourly from the fishing village of Kettering 20 minutes away.
Keep your eye open for seasonal farm gate sales of fruit and vegetables as the harvest is brought in, plus cheese Grandview Sheeps Milk cheeserie and cafe at Birches Bay is a great place to go: you can watch the sheep being milked every day at 3pm and even handmade chocolates in Cygnet, Huonville and Kettering
Attractions further afield include the extraordinary Tahune Airwalk walk amongst the tops of Forest Giants, the underground realm of Hastings Caves and thermal Springs, the eccentric Ida Bay railway and, of course, the great South West Wilderness so beloved by walkers and campers alike.
For maximum freedom we suggest you hire a car to explore the region using Frenchman's River as your base.
And did we mention the farm? Two hundred acres of pasture and forest to explore and a peaceful herd of lowline angus to meet. Legend says a platypus lives in the dam Posie declares she's seen it twice, at sunset and you may well see a wedge-tailed eagle or sea-eagle if it's rough at sea, the sea-eagles come inland for shelter.
Or, in the evening, you might meet the very reclusive neighbours: pademelons, wallabies, the occasional golden possum, spotted quolls or, even, the Tasmanian Devil who lives under the old apple barn beside Posie and Andrew's house.
Then there are the Southern Lights, the great Aurora Australis. Very late on a winter's night, if you're awake, you might see them dancing in the deep south. And, best of all, they're free
Welcome to Frenchman's River. We hope you enjoy your stay.
Posie & Andrew