The Best Tasmanian Wildlife Escapes For Total Isolation
Go behind the scenery and discover some of Tasmania’s best-kept secrets.
From silent rainforests to highlands carved by glaciers, Tasmania is renowned for pristine wilderness. With 19 national parks and more than 800 reserves to explore, finding a remote corner to escape and enjoy the beauty of nature is easy. But if you’ve never set foot on its southern shores, it can be hard to know where to begin.
Whichever way you prefer to travel, these are five retreats truly worth discovering.
Bay of Fires, Northeast Tasmania
There are guided walking tours, and then there is the Bay of Fires Lodge Walk – arguably one of the greatest wilderness experiences in Tasmania.
Covering a total distance of 33km, the unique four-day/three-night experience features exclusive accommodation and expert tour guides, gourmet dining and plenty of time to simply relax, breathe, and take in the beauty of nature.
Beginning in Launceston, the journey takes in the majesty of Mt William National Park, traverses beaches and boulders to Eddystone Point Lighthouse, winds down the scenic Ansons River by kayak, and includes a visit to the Design Centre at Launceston.
There are so few people in this area it feels as though you’ve stumbled across a kind of lost paradise; you can walk for a whole day and encounter nothing but wilderness and waves.
1145 Westwood Road, Hagley, TAS 7292
High on the barren yet beautiful central plateau of the World Heritage Area is Thousand Lakes Lodge, a former Antarctic training facility reborn into an alpine retreat. Home to just nine rooms, the unique project was led by Australian racing legend Marcos Ambrose, who retired from his glittering racing career in 2015.
The low-impact redevelopment saw the interiors of the lodge completely transformed, yet its exterior was intentionally left almost as it was. The contrast between the inside and the outside is a reminder of the harsh, wild environment the building is located in.
To the west lies the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, with the Great Lake located just to the east, making Thousand Lakes Lodge an ideal base to explore this region known as the ‘land of a thousand lakes’. Whether you’re keen to explore the alpine tarns or simply relax and soak up the natural beauty, this place will awaken the soul.
1247 Lake Augusta Road, Liawenee, Central Highlands, TAS 7304
Lake St Clair, Tasmania Central Highlands
Perched above the sleeping waters of Lake St Clair, Australia’s deepest lake, Pumphouse Point is a unique adults-only retreat surrounded by nature at its most wild.
Located within the Wilderness World Heritage Area, a 1.5 million-hectare expanse covering about a fifth of the state, Pumphouse Point is a former industrial site transformed into an intimate escape where visitors can enjoy the hiking trails, lakes and serenity of the region.
The pump house was originally built to feed water into the state’s hydroelectricity network in 1940, yet, despite its purely utilitarian function, was built more like an Art Deco theatre than a remote industrial outpost. The site was painstakingly transformed by Australian developer Simon Currant AM, who spent 18 years bringing this passion project to life.
Opened in 2015, the boutique property features just 19 rooms in total, including 12 rooms out in the Pumphouse and six in the Shorehouse, together with newly opened The Retreat – a striking one-bedroom hideaway surrounded by native bushland on the edge of the lake.
1 Lake St Clair Road, Lake St Clair, TAS 7140
Cradle Mountain, Northwest Tasmania
Think wilderness alpine retreat in Tasmania, think Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge. Located on the edge of the spectacular World Heritage listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, this iconic property has become synonymous with the rugged alpine side of Tasmania.
Only two hours from Launceston, and 90 minutes from Devonport, the Cradle Mountain Lodge is a mecca for travellers looking to side-step daily life and reconnect with nature. Guest cabins are dotted throughout the wilderness landscape, with grazing wallabies and wombats a frequent sight as you meander through the property.
The Lodge is situated just 100m metres from the entrance of Cradle Mountain National Park and offers a wide range of activities from seasonal fly fishing to mountain biking, nocturnal animal tours, and guided walks. There are also more than 20 self-guided walking trails ranging from an easy 20 minutes to nine hours to explore nearby.
4038 Cradle Mountain Rd, Cradle Mountain, TAS 7306
Freycinet National Park, East Coast
Hidden within the Freycinet National Park, only two hours from Launceston, Freycinet Lodge is a great place for bushwalkers and wildlife lovers. Set overlooking the blue waters of Great Oyster Bay, with the rugged Hazards Mountain Range as its backdrop, it’s paradise.
Bennet’s Wallabies can be seen feeding on grasses throughout the peninsula, particularly in the late afternoons, while Australian fur seals can often be found sunning themselves on the rocky areas by the sea. During the annual whale migration season from around May to late October, you can even spot humpbacks and southern right whales passing by.
The lodge offers several accommodation options from standard to luxury, but it’s the Coastal Pavilions – architecturally designed with extensive use of timber and glass and stunning views of the enveloping bushland – which you’ll really want to experience.
Freycinet Lodge, Freycinet National Park, Coles Bay TAS 7215
(Lead image: The Gardens, Bay of Fires Conservation Area Photo: Lisa Kuilenburg)
Published 30 May, 2018