First impressions? An eerie quiet. Arriving at Lake St Clair from the big smoke – in this case, Hobart, 180 kilometres away – it seems like nature has hit the mute button. Tucked into the Central Highlands of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, this pristine lake – Australia’s deepest – is a moody vision of untrammelled beauty.
If someone told you that after months spent mostly sitting and staring at a screen the first place you should go is somewhere that will compel you to sit and stare some more, you’d probably call them crazy. But if you suspended disbelief and made your way to Tasmania’s Pumphouse Point, you would quickly understand.
Here, you’ll find yourself transfixed by what lies outside the windows of your room, which hovers over glassy Lake St Clair. You’ll be stilled by the untamed landscape of one of the Apple Isle’s most pristine and remote regions. And the inherent beauty of our world will be made instantly apparent again.
A two-and-a-half-hour drive north-west of Hobart, Lake St Clair sits in the Central Highlands of the state’s Wilderness World Heritage Area. “It’s an extraordinarily compelling beauty: ancient forests, mountains and wild weather – then there’s the juxtaposition of The Pumphouse buildings in this environment,” says developer Simon Currant, who 22 years ago set out to transform an historic pumping station built on the lake’s southern edge into this boutique accommodation. “The opportunity to create an incredible experience 250 metres out in the deepest lake in Australia was totally irresistible.”
It started with the 2015 opening of the original overwater The Pumphouse, which has four rooms on each of its three floors, and lakeside The Shorehouse, a former substation that’s now home to six rooms as well as the property’s communal lounge and dining areas. In 2017, The Retreat was added – an all-your-own space nestled in thick bushland set back from the lake. Whichever property you choose (and it’s hard to go past headline act The Pumphouse), every room follows a similarly chic industrial-meetsintimate design philosophy that adheres to a palette of rich timbers, black accents and grey and cream furnishings.
Image credit: The new Fire Feast dining experience at Pumphouse Point/Adam Gibson .
When the property emerged from lockdown last month it wasn’t with a business-as-usual approach. New to its offering is the Fire Feast experience, a cosy outdoor space where guests can lounge by firepits, hot mulled wine in hand, and feel small beneath a jewelled night sky while waiting for a chef from the renowned Adam Gibson Coal River Farm to cook up dinner on Argentine-style grills. Then come the local cheeses, chocolates and s’mores.
Other features remain: breakfast and dinner are included in the price and a larder of locally sourced picnic and grazing essentials awaits in every room. Outside, there are boats to be rowed, e-bikes for exploring, myrtle forests to stroll through, wombats, echidnas, platypus and Tasmanian devils to spot, plus guided and self-guided hikes to tackle. Or you could try out Currant’s favourite pastime: “Sitting on shore, watching the sunset cascading over the mountains and across the lake onto The Pumphouse – there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
Just two things to remember: before you go, pack your woollens. And once you’re there, blink.