1-Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, Cradle Mountain
Sink into a luxurious leather sofa by the fire with a glass of cognac in hand. With an average daily temperature in October of 11°C, there’s still plenty of time to snuggle by the fireplace at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge.
Located near the entrance of World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain-Lake Saint Clair National Park, Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge is a tranquil base from which to enjoy a back-to-nature escape with fresh mountain air.
Timber cabins hidden among the trees have views of the wilderness and are connected by well-lit trails and boardwalks. The luxurious King Billy Suites have sleeping and living areas warmed by double-sided wood fires and decks with private outdoor hot tubs surrounded by wilderness.
There’s a casual bistro and an upmarket restaurant and tastings of Tasmanian wine and cheeses are conducted daily.
What to do? More than 20 walking trails in the national park cater to all fitness levels, from easy 1km strolls to a nine-hour guided climb to the summit of Cradle Mountain where the scenery that’s out-of-this-world.
The summit climb is not for the faint-hearted with some rock scrambling involved but the reward of lunch with views looking across northwest Tasmania is worth the effort.
Other activities are guided walks, nature briefings and horseback riding. October is when the Tasmanian waratahs, boronias and snow gums flower, honeyeaters, wrens and red-breasted robins come out to play and platypuses are easier to spot.
At the end of the day, treat those tired muscles to an Aroma Stone Therapy body ritual, which is one of many therapies at the resort’s Waldheim Alpine Spa.
2-Freycinet Lodge, Freycinet Peninsula
Cabins are nestled in bushland and many have filtered views of the bay. They are stylishly furnished from the one-room cabins, suitable for a family of three, to the top-of-the-range Wineglass Premier Cabin with double spa baths perfect for a romantic weekend hideaway.
The main building has a cosy mountain lodge ambience with leather wing chairs, timber beams and a stone fireplace.
The Bay Restaurant has a panoramic view of Great Oyster Bay while Richardson’s Bistro offers casual dining. Sip a Tasmanian wine or beer in front of the open wood fire in Hazards Bar and Lounge.
What to do? Guided walks, twilight paddles in a kayak and 4WD tours cost extra. Walking is the best way to really experience Freycinet National Park. Take invigorating walk up to the Wineglass Bay lookout, which has sweeping views of the Freycinet Peninsula and the Tasman Sea and then descend to Wineglass Bay, named by US magazine Outside as one of the world’s top 10 beaches. From Wineglass Bay, take the track across the isthmus to Hazards Beach.
3-The Lenna, Hobart
The Lenna of Hobart stands out as a stately reminder of Hobart’s grand past. Classified by the National Trust and listed on the Tasmanian Heritage Register, the hotel’s vine-covered main building (built in 1874) was the home of wealthy shipbuilder Alexander McGregor.
The guest accommodation wing is linked to the main building and has rooms with big harbour views. But if you prefer a more contemporary experience, the serviced studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments across the road in the Salamanca Terraces building has stunning views.
Two 170sqm two-bedroom Lenna Penthouses on the top floor have floor-to-ceiling views of the harbour and all the latest gadgets including 155cm plasma sets and touch-control systems which operate blinds and lighting.
What to do? Only a short stroll to cafes, restaurants, shops and galleries at Salamanca Place, staying at The Lenna is especially convenient on Saturdays when the Salamanca Market is in full swing.
The historic hotel is a top spot to reminisce about Hobart’s history. There’s a narrow rickety staircase that leads to a tower used as a lookout for McGregor’s ships. A festive time to be in Hobart is during the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, which kicks off in Sydney on 26 December.
4-Rocky Hills Retreat, Swansea
Sister property of award-winning Avalon Coastal Retreat, Rocky Hills Retreat is an elegantly furnished modernist haven.
Hidden in a private bush setting by Great Oyster Bay, it has floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides with amazing views over the forest and the bay.
Elegantly furnished with designer-crafted furniture, the retreat is perfect romantic hideaway where children under 12 are not allowed.
There are nice little touches for guests such as books and music, Blundstone boots, raincoats, hats and gloves. And unique concepts such as a trimmed stainless steel mesh curtain in the bedroom tied back by hand-made Edward Harpley 18th-century gilt French tiebacks.
Those keen on green will appreciate that water is collected by rainwater tanks and power is generated by a hybrid power system that utilises a solar array with a battery bank and backup generator.
What to do? Rocky Hills Retreat is the kind of place that encourages you to stick around to enjoy luxury in the bush. A bathtub for two sits on the edge of the outdoor terrace; a private path leads to a secluded beach. A few minutes’ walk away, a timber church has been converted into a private art studio available to guests.
But if you must explore, don’t miss Kate’s Berry Farm for chunky jams made with berries from the farm, ice-cream and chocolates.
Bicheno has beautiful coastal scenery and eco tours to spot dolphins, whales and seals or little penguins. The original Devil Island, a project to save the Tasmanian devils from extinction, is located at Tasmanian devil rescue centre, East Coast Natureworld.
5-The Winged House, Table Cape
Is a plane or is it a house? From a distance it looks like it’s about to lift off in flight. The Winged House is an architectural marvel, a masterpiece of steel that clings to a rocky cliff on the tip of north-west Tasmania’s Table Cape.
The house was designed by Richard Goodwin, the winner of Australia’s Bondi Sculpture by the Sea in 2005, and has won major awards including the Institute of Architects’ Steel Architecture Award in 2009.
There are two bedrooms with 1000-thread-count sheets, a Japanese bath, gourmet kitchen and a helipad.
Every room, including the chef’s kitchen and bathroom, takes advantage of jaw-dropping views of the Bass Strait. Breakfast provisions, Tasmanian wine and a fruit and vegetable bowl are provided as part of the tariff. Emergency services include dial-a-chef, dial-a-massage and dial-a-cray.
What to do? The Winged House’s unique design and polished décor encourages you to stick around and enjoy the wilderness. There’s a private track on the property, which cuts through native foreshore vegetation, leading to the rugged ocean front. Pods of dolphins are often spotted.
Fishing rods are provided and you can just throw a line from the rock platform below the house. But if you’re serious about fishing there are trout streams, rivers and lakes a half-hour drive away.
Rocky Cape National Park nearby has several walking tracks, including a spectacular coastal walk through native vegetation. Some of the Precambrian quartzite rocks here are among the oldest in Tasmania.
There are several vineyards and wineries that produce excellent pinot noir, chardonnay, riesling and merlot. And there are two nine-hole golf courses within a 10-minute drive.
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