There, after six days in the pristine wilderness, I was appalled to find graveled footpaths and interpretative signs all around the lake. Eucalyptus trunks shine silver in the crystalline light of the world’s purest air (the nearest upwind land masses are Patagonia and Antarctica, half a world away) and a heady, resin freshness pervades the atmosphere: tea-tree scrub.
The scratching of dry leaves reveals an echidna, or spiny anteater, bumbling through the bush. It’s only after pottering around Pump house Point for a few days that I feel close to discovering this landscape.
In the lead up to its opening in early January, in a quiet bay of Lake St Clair, it was the most anticipated wilderness retreat in Tasmania for years. Two decades in the planning, Pump house Point is the pet project of Simon Currant, the father of Tasmanian wilderness tourism, whose pioneering hotels transformed Cradle Mountain and Strain from unknown backwaters into premier destinations.
The Wall is a phenomenal sight; a 330ft-long narrative depicting colonial explorers, pioneer bushmen and the hydroelectricity engineers who came in the Thirties. Lake St Clair is by far the nicer end of the national park, says Duncan.
Stuck for suitably epic names, Frank land turned to myth. State governor Sir John Franklin (later of Northwest Passage fame) described the lake as the most beautiful he had ever seen, and colonial painters such as William Charles Pigment saw in its 10-mile waters, ancient forests and mist-wreathed bluffs the quintessence of the Romantic sublime.
Created from the Art Deco buildings of a hydroelectricity scheme, it sits on stilts above the lake, 900ft from the shore. Inside, raw Tasmanian oak cladding and wood fires lend a cozy, cabin-like atmosphere.
The rooms are lovely, too: simple, yet effortlessly stylish, with a pared-down palette of soft grass, cream, off-black tiles and polished wood that blends with the ever-changing scenery beyond. Walk along it, and you feel your tether to the world gradually slip until you seem adrift among water and forest and mountains.
Staff spring forward with hiking maps and mountain bikes, or will rustle up a champion fly fisherman to help you catch supper, or a seaplane to scoop you up from an adjacent bay to land in a remote rainforest that dates from the dawn of time. I intend to catch a hikers’ ferry to the end of the lake, then walk 10 miles back along the shore.
Instead, victualled daily with a loaf baked in the kitchen and pates and cheeses from the larder, I potter: sometimes on trails around the hotel, crossing sandy beaches and wombat-trimmed lawns; sometimes in a dinghy, sculling slowly through reedy bays beside the wild forest. So, it feels like a minor expedition when, at the end of my trip, I embark on a four-hour, seven-mile hike to Shadow Lake above St Clair’s west shore.
Scarlet warmth flowers pop beneath a flawless blue sky and the lake shores are fringed with pencil pine, a scruffy first-draft prototyping that barely survives outside the national park. Log cabins in a conservation reserve hidden in a lost valley an hour from Cradle Mountain (but without the tourists or price tags).
Comfortable solar-powered cabins with outside baths deep in the forest of the Huron Valley, yet only 45 minutes from Hobart, plus tepees for the adventurous, all on the family-friendly reserve of a campaigning conservationist. But you’re here for Tasmania’s remotest World Heritage area: next stop Patagonia.
It won the best in the world” category in the Boutique Hotel Awards last year, so this multi-award-winning luxury property stretches the concept of the wilderness retreat. Yet for all its glossy style, the focus remains the sensational Francine National Park.
Census Travel (020 7337 9101; exsus.com) is offering a 17-night package to Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart from £3,478 per person, including flights from London or Manchester with Singapore Airlines. Private and serene, Pump house Point first came on the Cassie tourism scene back in 2017 and has since been booked out for weeks and often months in advance.
The most recent addition to the project was the introduction of “The Retreat”, a private oasis that overlooks the main Pump house on the edge of the jetty. A private oasis tucked neatly away on a farm in Tasmania’s East Coast, Thalia has become an Instagram sensation as visitors flock to the beautiful outdoor bath for that perfect sunset sun downer.
The boutique hotel overlooks The Hazards, a mountain range in Francine National Park that light up in orange hues at sunset. Located in the rugged West of Tasmania, Captain’s Rest is a historically listed waterfront home in Letter Bay Village, a short drive outside Strain.
The home is the creation of an interior design stylist who has a passion for maintaining the heritage of the property by decking it out with trinkets and treasures from Australia and her travels. With just seven rooms inside the walls of a 1830s flour mill, the boutique hotel has received plenty of praise.
In particular the attention to detail, unique interior design and an enviable location overlooking the Tamar River in Launceston. If you manage to snag a stay (rooms are hard to come by amidst the hype), be sure to make the most of a visit to the chef’s kitchen in the morning.
This artsy open-plan home has just one bed, an outdoor bathtub, and floor to ceiling views of the Tasmanian wilderness. Cradle Mountain Lodge is widely considered one of Australia’s iconic wilderness experiences.
Located on the edge of the spectacular World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, one of Tasmania’s premier wilderness regions. Just 2 hours scenic drive from Launceston and 1.5 hours from Devonport, this superb escape showcases the best Cradle Mountain has to offer with warm hospitality, sensational local food and wine, indulgent spa treatments, breathtaking scenery, and magnificent wilderness surrounds.
We also were credited with a highly commended achievement in the categories 'Hotel Interior Design' and 'Australasian Hotel of the year'. Read More Cradle Mountain Lodge has taken additional steps to improve the hotel experience and general safety of our guests.
This includes regular sanitation procedures using advanced technology, an increased cleaning schedule and the provision of hand sanitizers around the property to ensure guests feel safe and relaxed during their stay. Our accommodation has official 4-star rating from AAA Tourism and includes 59 modern hotel rooms and 8 luxury lakeside 1 & 2 bedroom self-contained apartments, ideal for a family holiday, relaxing getaway, or corporate stay.
Hike through untouched bushland and experience the natural beauty of Cradle Mountain, head out from Launceston and enjoy the fine wine and fresh produce of the Tamar Valley, or explore Tasmania’s rich heritage in the quaint village of George Town. The Woodbridge celebrates 2 centuries of Tasmanian history in one of Australia’s oldest historic houses.
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