CABIN F EVER

Mercury (Hobart) - Magazine - - Front Page - WORDS AMANDA DUCKER The au­thor was a guest of Wood­bridge Hill Hide­away

The spec­tac­u­lar ac­com­mo­da­tion at Wood­bridge Hill Hide­away of­fers much more than your av­er­age cabin U ntil re­cently, “a cabin on Wood­bridge Hill” evoked some­thing quite dif­fer­ent to me. Back in the day, I used to visit a friend at his shack deep in the for­est on the Cygnet side of the sad­dle. He’d strum his gui­tar, we’d drink some tea and I’d leave along the long, nar­row, shrouded track where win­ter seemed to lurk year-round.

Across the hill, I’d some­times call in on fel­low trav­eller Mag­gie, a coun­try singer who’d moved to Tassie from north­ern NSW not long af­ter me. She was liv­ing in a car­a­van with a cob­bled-on tim­ber and tin an­nex with her two lit­tle boys and was plan­ning to build one day.

Though both places lacked the breath­tak­ing wa­ter views of homes on the moun­tain over­look­ing the D’En­tre­casteaux Chan­nel, or in­deed any wa­ter views, they ap­pealed to my back-to-earth lean­ings.

All of which is to say that when I was in­vited to stay at a “cabin” on the same moun­tain re­cently, my ex­pec­ta­tions were mod­est. It’s al­ways a great start­ing point.

As I soon dis­cov­ered, Wood­bridge Hill Hide­away’s ref­er­ence to its ac­com­mo­da­tion as “cab­ins” is a pe­cu­liar un­der­sell. They are big­ger than many city apart­ments.

The wow fac­tor is in­stant when you open the door to the ex­pan­sive stu­dio-style spa­ces, and it min­gles with awe as you fathom you’re perched above a view so beau­ti­ful, lay­ered and truly, madly, deeply Tas­ma­nian it takes hours to be­lieve it’s real.

Around the coun­try, a wa­ter view usu­ally means an empty hori­zon of sky meet­ing sea. Zen, yes. Pro­found, maybe. Able to trans­fix for hours? Not nec­es­sar­ily.

In south­ern Tas­ma­nia, sin­u­ous low­ly­ing land­forms form a mes­meris­ing third el­e­ment to the oceans and the heav­ens, one I’ve never seen so spec­tac­u­larly re­alised as from this van­tage point over­look­ing the Chan­nel, Bruny Is­land and be­yond. And this in gloomy weather.

We spend the evening cook­ing sal­mon on the bar­be­cue (the fish catches fire only once) and drink­ing Tassie wine (we’ve brought our own, but there’s a good se­lec­tion avail­able for in-house pur­chase).

My friend spends quite a while in the huge spa bath (which can be opened by con­certina win­dow to the el­e­ments in sum­mer). Each of the hand­ful of cab­ins is de­signed and an­gled clev­erly out of sight of the next, so the white tow­elling robes pro­vided are op­tional, I guess.

We fall asleep to rain on the roof and wake up in a Max An­gus wa­ter­colour. At first light, the wa­ter is sil­very and the sky is shot with a long, orange cloud. One star re­mains.

As the morn­ing un­folds the sun turns the wa­ter blue and il­lu­mi­nates the mul­ti­coloured panes of the stained-glass win­dow be­hind the wood heater and leather lounge.

In yes­ter­day’s rain, we opted out of our exclusive use of the 12m in­door pool (wa­ter tem­per­a­ture: 30C), which forms part of the land­scaped 4ha re­treat and which house guests are of­fered for set pe­ri­ods dur­ing their stay.

To­day, though, we are ready for gen­tle ad­ven­ture through rolling hills, or­chards and farm­land as soon as we’ve fin­ished our late break­fast (dry-cured and cold-smoked Boks ba­con and free-range eggs).

On the 20 minute drive down to Cygnet in the Huon Val­ley, I note turn-offs to the less salu­bri­ous camps that once formed my dom­i­nant im­pres­sions of a cabin on this hill.

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