Pump House Point was recently awarded the Best New Tourism Business in Australia at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in Melbourne.
It makes use of a decommissioned hydro pump station, which has been refurbished and brought back to life with a new purpose. The retreat first opened its doors in January last year (2015) and has now welcomed more than 13,000 visitors with a full house almost every night.
The intimate wilderness retreat is located on Lake St Clair within Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area and sits at the end of a 250m flume or narrow jetty that projects into the majestic lake.
In another life back in the 1940s this stylish building was a hydro-electricity station – albeit a grand one complete with bay windows and a balcony. Now it is a small boutique hotel.
Tasmanian developer Simon Currant, who created Peppermint Bay, Cradle Mountain and Strahan Village resorts, describes it as his most challenging project. He says as soon as he stumbled across it 20 years ago with his infant daughter on his back, he thought –“wow.”
“How many hydro stations do you find with bay windows and grand Georgian architecture – it was crying out to be converted into accommodation and the pristine landscape is magnificent,” he says.
Currant’s plans to create a six-star retreat were scrapped following the Global Financial Crisis and he has concentrated on providing a five star “experience” with good food and accommodation.
He hopes guests leave with an emotional connection to the place.
Guests can stay in the Pump House on the lake or Shore House beside the lake.
The intimate property offers 18 rooms with 12 located in the Pumphouse building out on the lake and six in the Shorehouse building on the water’s edge.
If you stay at the Pumphouse, guests can walk or be ferried on a golf buggy to the renovated art deco Shore House for meals and activities.
Rooms and Interiors
The Pumphouse has 12-suites spread over three floors with two lounge areas that have been designed sympathetically with its history with modern day comforts including heated bathroom floors and IPAD compendiums.
In a nod to its history you can still see one of the four large water pumping turbines through a glass panel in the lounge floor.
The ground floor of the Pumphouse has four comfortable rooms, each different but close to the lounge and bar.
The four rooms located on the middle floor have floor to ceilings windows while the top floor has two spacious rooms with distinct architectural styling, a split level layout, with a sunken lounge and elevated bed level. The lounge area has bay windows, a flickering fire, deep seats, and a mezzanine level- perfect for watching the ever changing lake vistas.
The Shore House located on the lake’s edge, has six rooms.
The original Hydro substation is classic art-deco style, complete with original exterior and magnificent foyer stairwell. It features a spacious dining room and lounge.
The rooms offer both bushland and lake vistas.
Breakfast is served in the dining room at the Shore House which also has six suites, and it’s a do it yourself affair with muesli, fruit, toast, boiled eggs and the best CWA raspberry jam.
For lunch and dinner, guests can indulge in the supplies from their in-room larder which feature some of the region’s best produce and wine. A freshly baked loaf of bread can be ordered to go with the smoked quail, Westhaven Goat’s Cheese, Huon Gourmet Pate and pork rillettes. There are two honesty bars where guests help themselves to the best Tasmanian wines and spirits.
We opt for dinner at the Shore House which features delicious canapes, tasty lobster chowder, Scottsdale baked ham, autumn vegetables and cinnamon cake and vanilla bean ice cream enjoyed at a shared table where everyone has a story to tell. On the second night it’s mushroom soup, Cape Grim beef and chocolate cake and raspberry ice cream.
The tasty meals are cooked and vacuum sealed in Hobart, transported and heated.
There’s a variety of activities on offer including complimentary bikes and row boats.
We borrow bikes and bounce over rocky roads stopping to enjoy the views along the way, then pick up a picnic hamper, borrow a rod and take a rowboat into the bay. Sadly there’s no fish for dinner but it’s fun trying.
If you feel like striding out there are scenic walks around Pumphouse Point and from the nearby Lake St Clair Visitors Centre and the famous 65km Overland Walk finishes right on the doorstep of Pumphouse Point.
Drop into the Wall in the Wilderness at nearby Derwent Bridge where artist Greg Duncan is creating a stunning sculpture that captures the history of Tasmania’s pioneers.
What I loved
Beautiful Lake St Clair takes centre stage at this property with views that are forever changing.
It is often misty early morning as the clouds hover over the tranquil lake while later it can be
bathed in brilliant sunshine.
The lake is the deepest in Australia.
It certainly doesn’t take long to fall under the magic of Pumphouse Point- it is the type of place Mother Nature takes centre stage in all her glory.
Pumphouse Point is a 2 hour 30-minute drive from Hobart or you can catch a seaplane and land on the lake. Overdrive Car Hire based in Hobart offers a range of sports, exotic and classic car rental including the latest in sports models from BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Porsche, Mini , Saab, Chrysler, Range Rover and Volkswagen. For bookings call 03 6231 9790 or www.overdrivecarhire.com.au
Pumphouse Point, 1 Pumphouse Point Road, Lake St Clair, Tasmania
Phone: 0428 090 436
Children: There’s a no children policy for those aged 15 years and under.