A glacier, some twenty thousand years ago, grinds down an alpine landscape, forging a steep ravine in it’s wake. Filling with melted snow and freezing rain, the deepest lake in Australia is born…or so the story goes. One thing I know for sure is that this World Heritage listed National Park, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair, is a must stop for those wanting to explore the wilds of Tasmania and Pumphouse Point will allow you to do it in the most luxurious of ways.
When people talk of Tassy it is the untouched Australian wilderness that captivates them and for good reason. In the short two and a half hours that we drove from Hobart to Lake St Clair, we drove through National Parks, waterfalls, along winding rivers and valleys where four legged locals felt rightly at home in their unspoilt habitat. Echidnas, wombats, a platypus and a few wallabies crossed our excitable path as we continued to explore some of the worlds most pristine environment .
Known as the Big River Tribe, the original inhabitants call the lake Leeawuleena, meaning ‘sleeping water’. An exact description of the glacier waters that are so still they look like a mirror to the mountains, creating what can only be described as one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. The Pumphouse is the perfect addition, not distracting from nature but adding to the historical beauty of a place that invites connection, adventure, reflection and appreciation.
Sheree wears Zimmerman
The Top Five Things You Should Know about visiting Pumphouse Point
That’s a big fat no. No one under 18 and it’s a good thing. The mood and tone of the hotel is very calm and still. In short, quiet. To bring your noisy children (I refer to mine) would make one a tad uncomfortable, no one wants to be responsible for the desecration of a pristine habitat now do they?
This state-of-the-art facility is to pump water from Lake St Clair into the nearby St Clair Lagoon where it will be stored and fed to the nearby Tarraleah Power Station as required. However, the need to use the facility fails to arise and the site is eventually decommissioned in the early 90s, having never been used for its intended purpose, but only switched on for routine maintenance. The site is also recognised for its significant industrial heritage and placed on the Tasmanian Heritage Register.
The Shorehouse | An original hydro substation, the Shorehouse is the heart of Pumphouse Point and where also where we camped. It sits on the shore looking out to the iconic Pumphouse (the view from our bed and what I loved most about our room) and from here you can see both wilderness and the beauty of Lake St Clair. I would book the top floor and pack light (no elevators).
The Pumphouse | This might feel as if you were actually sleeping on Lake St Clair. A 250m pier, for better lack of description, reaches out into the crisp glacier waters, where the original industrial heritage listed Pumphouse perches. Home to three levels of boutique accomodation, the lounge here is the perfect post hike pull up where sitting fireside gazing out onto snow capped mountains with a glass of Tasmania’s finest would be very hard to beat.
The Retreat | We didn’t stay here but I am quietly obsessed with this shelter. Book in advance as this is the only seperate dwelling on offer and has been designed as a luxury cabin stay. From the fire overlooking the lake, to the bathtub underneath the stars, it sounds like a dreamy way to experience the magic of Lake St Clair 24/7.
The welcome is warm and uniquely Tasmanian – food is all inclusive; our farmhouse fare dinners at shared tables in the Shorehouse dining room, an expanded larder brimming with the best local produce, wines and Tasmanian craft beers, ciders and spirits, as well as a few surprises (did we mention the cocktails?).
Sheree wears PE Nation
To be frank there isn’t much to do here, which is the reason why you would visit. It is a hikers paradise with extensive trail and walks at all levels through some of the countries most pristine wilderness. Other modes of exploration are by a dinghy or rowboat and pushbike. There is something about the air here, it feels so pure and life stands still. Being outside is so much of the attraction but let’s not undervalue the art of doing nothing which I am really talented at. Relaxing in the communal lounges by the fire, a glass of red and a good book looking at other people hiking sounds pretty darn great to me.
So this is not mentioned on the website or any other travel publications but if your up for some heart stopping action, hit the water. Sammy (my baby daddy) decided on an early morning swim much to the surprise of patrons and his constitution. Board short clad he braved alpine waters in search of platypus which we had seen playing in the water the evening before. He did not find any but reckons he felt ten years younger after a brisk lap in and out. I did not partake but thoroughly enjoyed watching what must have been a rare occurrence for guests at Pumphouse Point.
Honesty Bar | A standout feature would be the ‘help-yourself bar’ which can be found in both buildings. At the risk of sounding like an alcoholic, the honesty system of helping yourself to some of Tasmania’s best wines, craft beers or ciders is quite exciting. You just make a note on a very cute little clip board assigned to your room and hello scrabble.
Hot Crusty Bread | So this os probably one of the BEST things I have ver encountered at a cosy getaway. You can get a loaf of crusty, freshly baked bread delivered to your room ANY TIME OF THE DAY. I have no qualms confessing to my carbolism so the fact that you can make a phone call and in twenty minutes the smell of baking bread will be wafting through your front door makes me a little giddy. Platter or picnic ready!!
Shared-table Dinner | So, this might not be your cup of tea and if not you can always supper in your room with a larder full of goodies but if your feeling the need for some human interaction (sometimes your partner just don’t cut it) then the Shorehouse is the place to be. A no fuss shared dining experience that has a Norwegian boarding house vibe. Sammy and I sat with three other couples (all celebrating their wedding anniversaries which led to some pretty interesting conversation since we were the only ones not married) and feasted on the best of Tasmania fare from Coal River Farm.
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