4038 Cradle Mountain Road, Cradle Mountain, Tas
phone: 1300 806 192
The location If Cradle Mountain's snow-capped peaks don't bewitch you as they loom tantalisingly at the end of the two-hour drive from Launceston, then its magnificent wilderness certainly will once you reach its heights. Teeming with wallabies, wombats and super-sized playful possums, it's the northern end of the 161,000-hectare World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.
The place Bounded by haunting wilderness and centred on a serene lake (where, if you're lucky, you'll spot the resident platypus frolicking), Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge lies just 100 metres from the edge of the national park. There are 86 timber cabins to choose from, but for those wanting to treat themselves, the sumptuous King Billy Suites are the pick of the bunch. The double-sided log fireplace can be enjoyed either from the comfy couch - while tucking into complimentary canapés and port - or the enormous king-size bed, and a private hot tub on the balcony is the ultimate stargazing possie on a frosty winter's night.
The experience You have two options, really. You can get up and go, with bracing bushwalks in the national park (there are also four lovely walks in the lodge grounds, which pass by myrtle, sassafras and 1500-year-old King Billy pines), mountain biking or nightly "spotlight" wildlife tours run by the lodge. Or you can simply rest and revitalise, indulging in cheese and wine tastings, sumptuous meals by the large open fire at the Highland restaurant, or an afternoon of pampering at the decadent Waldheim Alpine Spa.
Don't miss ... close encounters with endangered Tassie devils at the Devils@Cradle sanctuary next door to the lodge (03 6492 1491; devilsatcradle.com), and taking the one-hour drive to the King Solomons and Marakoopa caves (molecreek.info), where you'll witness an incredible natural light show thanks to the resident glow-worms, and some spectacular stalactites and stalagmites.
Cost: from $160 a night; King Billy Suites from $580 a night.
Distance: 155km (2 hours' drive) from Launceston.
- Good Weekend