CABIN F EVER
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.