Tasmania's best weekends away

If a pumphouse on a lake tickles your fancy, then travel down to Tassie, where you'll find this and other terrific island getaways.


8 Brooke Street, Hobart; (03) 6234 5063;  Sullivanscoveapartments.com.au

THE LOCATION Sullivans Cove is more than just Hobart's port. It's a place to stroll past Antarctic icebreakers, cheer as the Sydney to Hobart yachts tie up at Constitution Dock, and to drink in the long summer twilights from waterfront restaurants.

THE PLACE The Brooke Street Terrace Penthouse is located in a converted flour mill and, along with the Loft Penthouse, is the only holiday accommodation in the building, which makes you feel like a local as soon as you arrive. The rest of the three-storey block has residential apartments, businesses and a ground-floor restaurant and tapas bar called the Black Footed Pig. Because there's no reception area, you have to use an access code to open the main door and to get into your apartment.

THE EXPERIENCE The pristine white walls and state-of-the-art kitchen with espresso machine are offset by warm timber floors, carpet in the bedrooms, a rustic wooden dining table and original rough-hewn posts and beams. There are three bedrooms and three bathrooms, the latter sporting pretty blue-and-white tiles and freestanding baths. Sliding glass doors lead to a terrace with river views. The penthouse artfully straddles the divide between boutique hotel (think waffle bathrobes, L'Occitane toiletries and a minibar) and private apartment.

DON'T MISS Brooke Street Pier is the jumping-off point for MONA's pink-and-grey camo catamarans, and the Port Arthur and Peppermint Bay day cruises also leave from there. 

IDEAL FOR Living like a local in the centre of Hobart. - Louise Southerden 

From $450 a night for two people; additional guests $50 a night.

Matthew Evans.

Photo: Alan Benson

My favourite getaway: Gourmet Farmer's Matthew Evans reveals his destination of choice for a rapid recharge.



321 Davey Street, South Hobart; (03) 6220 2123; Theislingtonhotel.com.au

Islington Hotel, Hobart, Tasmania.

Islington Hotel, Hobart. Photo: Supplied

THE LOCATION Five minutes' drive or a brisk 20-minute walk south of the city centre, The Islington boasts glorious views both across the city and to nearby Mount Wellington.

THE PLACE Built in 1847, the hotel is Australian to its Tassie bones, with creamy sandstone, claret-coloured walls and dark Tasmanian oak. You half expect to see smoking convicts tending the gardens – well, maybe after a Cascade Premium or two. There's a Regency-style drawing room and 11 guest rooms: four within the house and seven impeccable Garden Rooms. Other attractions include mahogany tables in the morning room, fireplaces everywhere, and a quiet library. If it's cosiness you're after, The Attic is the room to book.

THE EXPERIENCE Hobart is having a hotel moment, and this is epitomised by cool establishments such as The Islington with its soaring glass conservatory opening to an inspired courtyard featuring illuminated Murano glass structures. Did we mention that there's a day spa and Wi-Fi? And after 30 years of collecting by the owners, there's also a lovely assortment of art.

DON'T MISS Roam the magical Andrew Pfeiffer-designed gardens, then don your walking boots for a climb up Mount Wellington. On the summit there is even Wi-Fi – just the thing for Instagrammers.

IDEAL FOR Couples. - Ralph Bestic 

From $595 a night, including breakfast.


18 Hunter Street, Hobart; (03) 6210 7600; macq01.com.au

Macq01 Hotel, Hobart, Tasmania.

Macq01 Hotel, Hobart. Photo: Supplied

THE LOCATION Hobart's perennial accommodation shortage has received a boost with the June opening of the audacious MACq 01 Hotel on the city's waterfront.

THE PLACE Billed as a storytelling hotel, characters from the past and more recent history have been assigned to the 114 "informal luxury" rooms on Macquarie Wharf, where the whaling industry once thrived. From the Indigenous warrior Manalagena who resisted British occupation, to Robyn Moore, the voice of Blinky Bill, personalities from a grim and a colourful past are here. The hotel is owned by the Federal Group, who opened Wrest Point casino in 1973, and more recently the luxury lodge Saffire at Freycinet and the Henry Jones Art Hotel, just a stone's throw from MACq 01.

THE EXPERIENCE Even entry-level rooms are generous and accommodation ranges all the way up to suites with a balcony big enough for a game of quoits. Other attractions include walk-in showers, premium woollen couches and bedheads by local artist Troy Ruffels depicting coastal storms and ancient cider gums of the Central Highlands. Local gin and whisky from producers such as McHenry and Lark can be sampled from the mini-bar. On the ground floor, one can while away an afternoon in The Lounge around a fire pit and next to Indigenous artefacts of shell necklaces and hand-woven baskets. At the Old Wharf restaurant you can enjoy a menu that is an ode to the state's food and drink producers.

DON'T MISS A walk with one of the hotel's team of professional storytellers around Sullivans Cove and Salamanca Place, delivered with polish and made all the more atmospheric by the historic sandstone buidlings.

IDEAL FOR A weekend of cultural immersion. - Jane Reddy

From $360 a night.


2352 Coles Bay Road, Coles Bay; (03) 6256 7888; Saffire-freycinet.com.au

Saffire Freycinet, Coles Bay, Tasmania.

Saffire Freycinet, Coles Bay.

THE LOCATION Located on Tassie's east coast, Saffire Freycinet takes in a sweep of sandy coastline overlooking Great Oyster Bay to the dramatic pink-hued granite of the peninsula's Hazards Mountains.

THE PLACE Tasmanian Robert Morris-Nunn's award-winning design at Saffire has the resort melding with the natural landscape; looking back from the bay, you'd barely know the lodge was there. The 20 plush suites offer king-sized beds, two-person showers, deep tubs, iPod music system and courtyards. From your bed, the Hazards appear from behind electronic blinds at the flick of a switch.

THE EXPERIENCE It's all about beach views and degustation dinners that champion local produce. Guided experiences include feeding time with resident Tasmanian devils, fly fishing and walks to Wineglass Bay.

DON'T MISS Don waders and down freshly shucked oysters while standing waist-deep at a table in the estuary.

IDEAL FOR Couples and families wanting a luxurious experience. - Sheriden Rhodes

From $2100 a night twin share, inclusive of all meals, some drinks and $100 spa credit.


130 Winns Road, Cygnet; 0466 790 142;  Frenchmansriver.com.au

Frenchman's River, Cygnet, Tasmania.

Frenchman's River, Cygnet. Photo: Supplied

THE LOCATION So you want to get away from it all in Tasmania, but be within 45 minutes of Hobart? Head for the Huon Valley and two luxury cottages, The Writer's House and the Helmsman's House, at Frenchman's River.

THE PLACE Beautifully decorated cottages with sweeping views of the Huon River. They come with delightful garden decks, roaring wood fires, Netflix movies on tap, luxurious baths and cupboards, and fridges full of local gourmet treats.

THE EXPERIENCE The Huon is home to some of Australia's best produce. The village of Cygnet is gourmet central with two butcher shops (the free-range beef and pork are outstanding) and several award-winning restaurants and cafes.

DON'T MISS Gourmet Farmer's Matthew Evans has his cooking school and eatery, Fat Pig Farm, at nearby Glaziers Bay. The Friday Feasts there are approaching legendary status.

IDEAL FOR A gourmet getaway with true country hospitality. - Windsor Dobbin

From $385 a night. Minimum stays apply. Cleaning fee: $100.


Pumphouse Point Road, Lake St Clair; 0428 090 436; Pumphousepoint.com.au

Pumphouse Point, Lake St Clair, Tasmania.

Pumphouse Point, Lake St Clair.

THE LOCATION A 1940s pump house sitting 250 metres out into Lake Clair, in the wilderness of central Tasmania.

THE PLACE The pump house has been meticulously transformed into 12 suites on three floors with combustion heaters and common facilities that include a library and views of Cradle Mountain through the original seven-metre high windows. Back on shore, the substation houses the Lakeside dining room and an additional six suites. Sleeping at the pump house (ask for a top-floor suite for the best views) means you walk, cycle or flume buggy to the substation's charming share-table dining room. In here, reclaimed aluminium lights cast a warm yellow light over the guests.

THE EXPERIENCE The suites feature French combustion log fires, pure wool throws and king beds. Use the included tablets to re-order slabs of smoked salmon, a Piper Brook pinot noir, or a full meal of thyme-infused chicken, quinoa and beetroot salsa. This is an industrial relic, unchanged externally since the 1940s but totally reborn, with a grand story to tell of a conversion that's a long way from the ordinary.

DON'T MISS You can walk off breakfast or the Willie Smith Organic Perry by mountain biking forest trails through ancient eucalypts (look out for Rufus wallabies, echidnas and platypus) or by going for a row across Australia's deepest lake.

IDEAL FOR Couples and families looking to combine soft outdoor adventure with luxurious accommodation. - Ralph Bestic

From $280-$570 a night, minimum two-night stay. Includes breakfast provisions.


43 High Street East, Launceston; 0458 947 727; Hatherley.com.au

Hatherley House, Launceston, Tasmania.

Hatherley House, Launceston. Photo: Debbie Neilson

THE LOCATION Sitting high above the handsome city of Launceston and overlooking a 100-year-old magnolia tree and orchard.

THE PLACE An 1830s mansion in which the creaky floorboards and draughty windows have given way to luxurious bathrooms, Apple TVs and bottles of Ninth Island pinot noir. While some people detest themed hotels, the "art hotel" concept works a treat here, with the two guest rooms, the Ballroom Suite and the Petite Chambre Matisse, celebrating the owners' appreciation of colonial heritage and razor-sharp modernity. There are also two garden pavilions, Muse Garden and Magnolia Garden, plus the Teahouse City Apartment, all with a similar aesthetic. But thanks to the makeover, it's out with bonnets and parasols and in with iPads and Akira Isogawa silk scarves at Hatherley these days.

THE EXPERIENCE A gilt mirror above an Italianate marble fireplace in the Ballroom Suite is adorned with quirky art pieces and reflects an immense photograph of entangled dancers, while a soaring ceiling features a ruby red chandelier, sheer plum-coloured curtains and deep blue carpet. Over in the light-filled Petite Chambre Matisse, a large-scale graphic of a 15th-century poem in Henri Matisse's own hand forms a dramatic centrepiece.

THE LOCATION The owners love the Black Cow Bistro, within walking distance. So will you. But be warned, bookings essential.

IDEAL FOR Creative couples and families seeking something quirky and historical. - Ralph Bestic

From $260-$450 a night, including breakfast provisions.

Some writers stayed as guests of the properties.