Real freedom lies in wilderness, not civilisation – Charles Lindbergh
Pumphouse Point would have to be one of the most scenic, captivating and unique stays I’ve had in my travels. Taking up residence in a former (never used) hydro pumphouse, the lodgings as they stand now are a result of the vision and more than a decade of hard work by Simon Currant. Set on the edge of Lake St Claire, guests are treated to uninterrupted views of the spectacular glacial features of the region. With guest lodgings in both the Shorehouse and Pumphouse, complete with cosy lounges and an inviting dining space, this place provides a rather unique accommodation option for visitors. It’s a very special thing, to experience one of the world’s most pristine natural environments, from the middle of Australia’s deepest lake!
We stayed at the Shorehouse in a ‘water view with bath’ room. One of the main reasons I booked this room was for the large window that looked out over the lake – I really miss waking up to that serene view over the lakes edge. The accommodation here is definitely high end, in terms of pricing, but I feel that it is absolutely worth every dime and penny. Our room was appointed with a gorgeous, big bed and lounge space. A larder, which was more like a small kitchenette, not only featured some pretty delicious mini bar options but also a fridge full of treats such as cheeses, salmon, cured meats, soups and much more! While bottles of wine, beer and Tassie cider meant we didn’t need to walk far to make a toast! A lot of what is stocked is either locally produced or Australian made and even includes a few good gluten free options. Room service isn’t available, however you can contact reception and order a loaf of crusty bread that is delivered straight to your room! Use it to cook up a quiet breakfast in your room or prepare a gourmet spread to enjoy outside by the lake picnic style.
Under-floor heating in the bathroom was a saving grace in the winter chill and the generously sized shower was divine! You set out feeling pampered each day, with Aesop bath products, soaps and creams and plush white towels. A long soak in that gorgeous bathtub is on my list for next time I’m able to visit (the larder even provides you with a lush bubble bath pack you can purchase!).
The Shorehouse is also where you’ll find the main dining room. Fresh linen cloths adorn the tables, a warm fire crackles at one end of the room and large windows take your gaze outside towards those stunning lake views.
Here is where you can enjoy the complimentary highland breakfast each morning, and join other guests for dinner. The breakfast is set out to help yourself – make a warm toastie, boil your eggs just how you like them, tuck into a bowl of muesli and take your pick from a selection of fresh juices. Dinner is an additional cost each night, but is definitely worth the experience! There isn’t much around in the area, as far as dining options are concerned, so this one is worthwhile. It’s also a great opportunity to meet the other guests, as you share a meal and table. Dinner is a two-course set menu, with a main and desert, and they can even cater to any dietary requirements (just be sure to let reception know in advance).
Our first night saw Christian head to bed early, while a couple we met over dinner and I hung around a little longer than the other diners, enjoying glasses of Tasmanian red wine and whiskey, sharing stories and laughing as our cheeks grew rosy and our eyes grew tired. Just as we started to talk about the wildlife in the area, I glanced outside behind them and there right on the other side of the glass next to us was a wombat nibbling away on the frosty grass. Annika, the dining attendant that night, took us outside into the cold night air so we could get a better look, being careful not to scare him away.
Throughout the day, this dining space provides a warm fire and cosy spot to enjoy a coffee or cocktail. Without a barista or bartender on hand, the bars in both the Shorehouse and Pumphouse buildings work on an honesty system – make your drink how you like it and write down what you’ve had on a small board assigned to your room number. The total is then added to your bill at the end of your stay. Wine is available by the bottle (including some incredible Tasmanian blends), craft beer and soft drink fill the fridges and a healthy looking back bar allows you to enjoy your favourite whiskey or basic cocktails.
There’s a great number of options for activities in the area – row boats are docked in the lake for free use by guests, there are a number of incredible hikes and walks that leave right from the hotel grounds, and in-room spa treatments to enjoy some pampering amidst all of the exploring. It’s also worth wandering about the hotel, particularly early morning or around dusk, to try and spot some of the local wild life. If you decide to take your hire car on a trip around the area, it’s worth pulling over a little down the road at the Wall in the Wilderness. This place features a 100m wooden sculpture by local artist, Greg Duncan, commemorating those who helped shape the past and present of Tasmania’s central highlands. Take my word on it – the work is nothing short of remarkable and it’s absolutely worth a visit (no photography is allowed inside due to copyright laws).
As we were away on holiday, after a full day of driving, I decided to treat myself to an in-room spa treatment. Cecilia, the in-house masseuse, made the experience truly wonderful! While she set everything up in our room upstairs, I enjoyed a freshly brewed tea in the downstairs lounge (I so wish I could remember what was in it! It was so delicious). She even left an extra cup so Christian could have some too! I opted for the full body Kodo massage – Kodo is a Torres Strait Island word meaning Melody and this massage is designed to realign and rejuvenate the body using Aboriginal Touch therapy. The long flowing strokes mimic the elements of the water (ya bung), with each stroke performed three times – clearing your past, resetting your future and allowing you to be present, now. The aromatherapy oil is chosen by you, rather than the therapist – smelling each one, you’ll find you prefer a particular oil and it’s usually just what your body needs. This truly enhances the whole experience. I’ve honestly never felt so relaxed in my life – I usually prefer quite firm remedial massages, however these long strokes were so soothing I’m pretty sure I dozed off somewhere in the middle.
My favourite activity of all though, didn’t cost a dime. One night after dinner Christian and I layered up to brave the cold with a lovely couple we met earlier that day. Brent and I had our tripods and cameras in hand, the others torches, and we walked out to a small jetty where the row boats are docked and spent time getting lost amongst the starry night sky. The longer we stood, the more bright lights appeared – we even spotted the Milky Way and at least eight shooting stars (not including the countless we missed)! It was my first time capturing the night sky and I so appreciated Brent’s advice (even though my shot came out unfocused it’s still one of my favourite photos from the trip purely because of the experience). Our fingers may have been frozen but our hearts were fuzzy and warm.
The wilderness setting at Pumphouse Point, and thoughtful luxury of the accommodation will have you wishing you didn’t have to leave. It’s such a captivating part of Tasmania offering endless tracks and trails to explore – it’s a truly terrific stay and one I highly recommend to those with a little extra in their budget to try.
- Where: Pumphouse Point
Pumphouse Point Road, Lake St Clair, Tasmania
Ph: 0428 090 436