Rugged, weather-beaten cliffs. Towering peaks plunging into deep lakes that shift shades like a mood ring. Tasmania’s landscapes have a sense of drama built in.
At CNTNR (pronounced ‘container’) – a shipping container-turned-cabin snuggled amongst gums in the north-east coast town of Upper Scamander, about two hours east of Launceston – the moodiness deepens. Midnight black is the reigning colour scheme at this secluded Airbnb stay – it sheaths the exterior, covers the kitchen cabinetry, glints off the bathroom tiles.
Paired with bold pops of colour – a crimson bed, a candy-orange Kartell componibili unit – the result is, as owner Dion Agius attests, “sexy”.
“The interiors are definitely a pretty eclectic mix of colour and texture,” says the pro-surfer, entrepreneur and Airbnb Host. “The red that’s used throughout, specifically on the grout of the crazy pavers out the front, was a colour we matched from a beautiful red found in the gum leaves that fall all around the container. It carries through to the red carpet that wraps the custom-made bed frame – a super unique piece that references 1970s conversation pits.”
CNTNR’s magnetism is heightened by its secluded, riverside location; an intoxicating contrast to the sleek finishes inside. The atmospheric bushland woven around the riverside town of Scamander, where Dion and his sister and co-Host Jenna grew up, is the property’s most beguiling feature.
“My favourite thing to do in the morning is just go sit down by the river and have a coffee,” says Jenna. “It’s insanely beautiful.”
You’d never guess the shell of this cabin was once a bare, 40-foot shipping container. Every detail of CNTNR has been carefully chosen to create the feeling of an edgy boutique hotel, with some impressive additional trimmings that scream, or rather whisper, “me time”.
The raised red bed in a window-wrapped corner is a true haven, as is the sunken, patio bathtub that takes in the bush surrounds.
There’s a full kitchen, with fresh coffee and an Alessi coffee maker on hand, as well as a paved mini-terrace overlooking a fire pit and the river’s edge. Closer to the river, there’s a deck with seats for two – and often, a special guest or two.
“There are two wedge-tailed eagles that live on the river and recently, there's even been a seal travelling up and down the river,” says Jenna. “Every one of our guests that has stayed at CNTNR has said it’s even better in real life. There’s a feeling you can’t capture in pictures.”
About the Hosts
“Dion’s so good with design he really knew what he really wanted,” says Jenna. “We used to have an Airbnb home in Byron but then Dion moved back to Scamander about five years ago and bought this property on the river.
“I was coming back and forth from the Gold Coast and I always wanted to be based back here but didn’t really know how to do that with work as a photographer. Eventually, after setting up CNTNR, Dion said, ‘Why don’t you give hosting it a try?’ I started running CNTNR for him and it’s been so great. I love it.
“I feel like hosting has given me a lot of freedom to be able to slow down in life. I can live in a quiet town but still be able to be busy if I want to be. It keeps me connected to people as well.”
Just for you
“CNTNR is all about relaxation,” says Jenna. “We offer guests two sets of black velour slippers. There are special magnesium bath salts for the outdoor bath so you can take in the romantic surrounds with a bit of luxury. And we always make sure to have well-stocked wood and kindling so you can enjoy the fireplace and outdoor fire pit for those cooler evenings.
“The home is great in summer too but the sun can be very harsh down here in Tassie, so we give guests their own bottle of Standard Procedure sunscreen – that’s Dion’s brand.”
Where to eat and drink (and grab coffee!)
“Swims East Coast Coffee is a local spot in Scamander, about eight minutes’ drive from CNTNR, right near the river mouth,” says Jenna. “The Surfside is a little spot down in Beaumaris. It’s a cool little pub and they do great burgers.
“I would also head down to Bicheno, which is about a 45-minute drive down the coast. Get a lobster roll at the Lobster Shack or pop into The Gulch for fish and chips.
“And Lease 65 in St Helens, about 30 minutes north, is a farm that sells oysters straight out of the basin. Grab some and take them back to the Airbnb and enjoy them on the deck… heaven!”
Things to do
“We have a kayak and paddleboard at the house so guests can spend time on the river and soak up the beauty of the area without venturing too far from home,” Jenna adds.
“If you’re into fishing, you’ll love Scamander – it’s known for its bream fishing, especially down where the beach and river meet. There are some great surf spots around here, too – from Scamander to Bicheno is actually called ‘Surf Coast’ because of its reliable breaks.”
Stay a little longer
“We always go to Bay of Fires – there are so many beautiful walks there and obviously that's a pretty popular destination on the north-east coast of Tassie, about an hour up the coast,” explains Jenna.
“You definitely want to go to Derby, too. That’s about an hour-and-a-half away and a nice little daytrip. If you’re staying for a few nights, you could go up that way, hire some mountain bikes and ride around the lake and visit the Floating Sauna – it’s a little black shack on Lake Derby with a woodfired sauna inside. It’s pretty special.
“There’s so much to do but I actually really love it when guests are able to relax and completely switch off. When you stay a little longer and slow down, you can do that, which is awesome.”