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.
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. Anglers say it offers the best wild trout fishing in the Southern Hemisphere.
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. Hiking Mountain Valley can be your starting point for a number of walks including Even Canyon, Winter brook Falls and Rainforest or Black Bluff Mt.
Expect everything from personalized walking tours to a selection of activities and wellbeing treatments, not to mention the best in fresh Tasmanian food and wine. As far as breathtaking holidays go, Tasmania has the sweeping views, fresh air, and gourmet dining experiences that make it your ideal destination.
From lodges overlooking thousands of lakes to coastal hideaways nestled amongst the trees, here are the very best Tasmanian retreats that give new meaning to the word relax. Each of the seven luxurious suites and a chic new two-bedroom apartment tells a story rooted in local history, of shipwrecks, battles and salty characters of the region.
Across all the elegant suites and new two-bedroom apartment, you’ll find a mix of bespoke interiors like linen, wallpapers, antiques, and contemporary furniture that's the ideal backdrop to your next holiday 'gram. Spend your days exploring the Western Lakes, fishing for wild brown trout, and learning about the local history and wilderness that make this lodge so impressive.
Tamar Valley Wine TRAIL Imagine waking up to panoramic views of winding orchards and lush forests just mere steps away. Domes capes has made this picturesque fantasy a reality, bringing a truly impressive clamping experience to the Tamar Valley Wine Trail.
This historic mining town is as close as you can get to the vast and mysterious Tar kine wilderness, harboring rare cool-climate rainforest and ancient Huron pines. Francine Lodge's Coastal Pavilions effortlessly blends the natural surrounds with luxuriously comfortable interiors, keeping things simple and elegant to match the impressive landscape.
Now, as for your accommodation at Adventure Bay Retreat, you can choose from a range of self-contained properties that each do luxury differently, from The Lodge’s spacious, family-friendly escape to The Cottage’s intimate, romantic setting. If you are seeking a romantic getaway, there couldn’t be a more ideal place to disconnect from daily life and reconnect with your loved one than Tasmania.
Just picture strolling hand-in-hand down secluded, white sand beaches, copying up together by a fireplace with a glass of pilot from a local vineyard, or soaking in a hot tub after a day of wandering through the wilderness, with nothing to be heard but the chirping of birds. Share a sumptuous breakfast in the sunny dining room which overlooks a herb and vegetable garden that contains many of the ingredients the kitchen uses for its dishes.
When you aren’t busy exploring Hobart, take a romantic stroll through the property’s charming gardens or lounge around with a book in one of the opulent common rooms. Here, the kitchen serves up modern cuisine focusing on organic and seasonal produce such as the signature blue eye really, which is one of Tasmania’s finest fish.
Cozy up by the log fire with a homemade meal or sit out with a glass of wine on your private balcony overlooking the ocean. Beyond its cozy accommodation, Hotel Piedmont Retreat offers a full recuperative experience, includes the free use of kayaks, mountain bikes, a swimming pool and a tennis court on the property.
Set on a boundless expanse of hinterland, overlooking a glistening lake and at the doorstep of the famous Cradle-Lake-Claire National Park, the lodge truly is an idyllic nature-based escape. You’ll find everything from Tasmanian Oak smoked salmon to locally-sourced beef on the menu, all served alongside some of Tasmania’s finest wines.
Aptly named the “Enchanted” walk, this stroll through a magical old-growth rainforest next to a cascading river seriously feels like a fairy tale. Enjoy a couples massage or book a private spa sanctuary overlooking the pristine Pencil Pine River, complete with Tasmanian sparkling wine and a platter of chocolate-dipped strawberries.
If you’re simply in need of quality time, retreat to the main lodge, grab a glass of local wine from the bar and play a game of Scrabble by the fireplace. This coastal sanctuary is located on Tasmania’s East Coast and peers out over the breathtaking Francine peninsula, the dramatic Hazard Mountains and the tranquil waters of Great Oyster Bay.
SAFIRE Francine features 20 ultra-private suites, each including a bespoke king-size bed, exclusive courtyard and outdoor deck, and double shower and bath with a view. The Private Pavilions offer the highest standard of luxury, each featuring a separate bedroom, dining and kitchen area, allowing guests to choose a dinner-in-suite option with a chef.
Opt for the Spa SAFIRE Dual Renewal, where together you can take a therapeutic soak in a marble bath, followed by a full body aromatherapy massage and rejuvenating facial. For those feeling a little more active, take on one of the many iconic walks near the property just begging to be explored and admire the striking landscape that is filled with an abundance of wildlife.
If you want to a really special stay, opt for the Roy Room; this three-story penthouse is the most spectacular of the pickings as it comes complete with a romantic spa bath out on the deck alfresco. After spending the day exploring MONA’s incredible modern art collection, take a dip together in the heated infinity pool, where you can stare out at the glistening river through endless glass windows.
For dinner, head to the chic, glass-encased Source restaurant for modern, French-inspired dishes using fresh local ingredients such as oysters, scallops, lobster and really. For you night owls, grab a drink from the restaurant’s sleek adjoining bar, which always stays open late on weekends.
Nestled between the ocean, a white-sand beach, woodlands and a world-heritage listed national park, the lodge’s surroundings are a prime display of the diversity of nature. Located on 22 acres of property, the lodge is just a short seaside stroll away from Australia’s historic Port Arthur Site.
On-site, you’ll find a restaurant, function rooms and recreation facilities, and the reception is able to help with booking activities in the surrounding areas. An iconic heritage building from the 1960s turned into a distinctive hotel, Peppers Silo offers a unique stay in the heart of Launceston.
On the menu, you’ll find fabulous signature dishes like Flinders Island green-lipped abalone sautéed in white truffle oil.