A dream­like ex­pe­ri­ence awaits in Tas­ma­nia’s fa­mous Fr­eycinet


Iam still a bit dazed from driv­ing in the dark when we ar­rive at Fr­eycinet Lodge to stay at one of its new wa­ter­front Coastal Pav­il­ions. Step­ping in­side our ac­com­mo­da­tion, we find our­selves co­cooned within dimly lit tim­ber walls, sus­pended ceil­ings and glass. It’s a mys­te­ri­ous, lim­i­nal zone where straight lines are es­chewed for curves and, like a good dream, the space si­mul­ta­ne­ously con­founds and de­lights.

In the semi-dark­ness we feel our way along the Tas Oak walls, some of which even­tu­ally re­veal them­selves to be slid­ing doors, only to be greeted by our own dis­torted re­flec­tions in the el­lip­ti­cal soar­ing glass panes of the lounge room be­yond.

For a mem­o­rable week­end away in one of Tas­ma­nia’s most beau­ti­ful lo­ca­tions, it would be hard to sur­pass these ex­traor­di­nar­ily se­duc­tive spa­ces.

“It’s a bit MONA,” re­marks my guest. “It sort of frus­trates your at­tempts to treat it as a nor­mal space.” The com­par­i­son to the land­mark Ho­bart con­tem­po­rary art mu­seum is in­tended in a good way. To­mor­row these glass walls will re­veal a beau­ti­ful view over Great Oys­ter Bay and Fr­eycinet Na­tional Park, but tonight they just make us laugh at our be­fud­dled selves. So this is why the re­cep­tion staff must have flashed those cheeky smiles as they wished us well on our self-dis­cov­ery tour.

Nes­tled over about 5ha be­tween Richard­sons Beach and Honeymoon Bay, the site has hosted hol­i­day­mak­ers for gen­er­a­tions. Build­ing on the pop­u­lar­ity of its cab­ins, the launch of the Pav­il­ions marks Royal Au­to­mo­bile Club of Tas­ma­nia’s en­try into top-end tourism. The de­sign fea­tures a dis­tinct feel­ing of ex­trav­a­gance, re­straint and whimsy.

The bed­room, off the en­trance­way, is a sump­tu­ous af­fair of dusky-blue vel­vet cur­tains, white linen and a roohued, faux-fur throw. Off to the other side, a curv­ing hall­way leads to the lounge area, with its chic leather seat­ing and a bioethanol fire­place be­hind glass. Along the hall­way, hid­den be­hind slid­ing pan­els, are the shower with strate­gi­cally pat­terned glass and great beach views, but it’s the out­door bath we can’t get enough of.

Din­ner in the ca­pa­cious main lodge build­ing of­fers plenty of lo­cal fare. We opt for the fish of the day, blue-eye trevalla, and a seafood ciop­pino with clams, mus­sels, oys­ters, salmon and trevalla, as well as prawns from far­ther shores. From a wine list with lots of lo­cal drops, I choose a glass of Spring­vale Mel­rose pinot noir, savour­ing the mem­ory of the first time I drank it, af­ter my maiden Wine­glass Bay walk a few years ago.

The track be­gins and fin­ishes just a few min­utes’ drive from the lodge, but we are tak­ing the lux­u­ri­ous op­tion to­mor­row and will be vis­it­ing by boat. A peace­ful, slightly grey, early morn­ing clears to mag­nif­i­cent blue sky and vivid wa­ters by the time our Wine­glass Bay Cruise cata­ma­ran col­lects us from the lodge’s pri­vate jetty for a four-hour re­turn trip. The Tas­ma­ni­ans among us bask in the warm morn­ing rays, which are by no means a given here at this time of year. Once aboard, we mo­tor past the fa­mous rocky range known as the Haz­ards and fol­low a dra­matic coast­line dom­i­nated by sheer gran­ite cliffs south around the tip of the Fr­eycinet Penin­sula. Along the way, we pull into shel­tered bays and coves for close en­coun­ters with fur seals, cor­morants and shy al­ba­tross. We spy a huge sea ea­gle’s nest near Schouten Pas­sage, where we emerge from shel­tered wa­ters into the Tasman Sea. Joy springs in these friskier wa­ters when we dis­cover dol­phins rac­ing the boat near the bow.

Skip­per Richard tells me of his sur­prise a few weeks be­fore when he ar­rived with a load of guests to find a sub­ma­rine sur­faced in Wine­glass Bay, un­leash­ing cabin-fevered sailors into the pristine turquoise wa­ters for a splash. To­day, though, there are just a cou­ple of cray boats bob­bing about, and a sprin­kle of hik­ers on the fa­mous stretch of sand. Seated up­stairs in the pre­mium Sky Lounge sec­tion, we toast our ar­rival with sparkling wine, Spring Bay mus­sels, oc­to­pus, oys­ters and hot-smoked salmon be­fore a plough­man’s lunch is served.

Back at the lodge we spend the af­ter­noon in our beau­ti­ful nest, en­joy­ing the sense of deep re­treat and plea­sure in our tran­quil sur­round­ings.


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