Coastal Pavilions, Freycinet Lodge review, Tasmania: Smart design in a remarkable national park setting

THE LOCATION

Combine long sandy beaches with perfect geometric curves, clear seawater nuzzling the shore, granite peaks in a soft shade of sunset pink and stubbly Tasmanian bush to bring it all together and you have a landscape that's hard to fault. With its accessibility and natural appeal, Freycinet is Tasmania's most-visited national park and there's a United Nations of languages to be heard walking around its many tracks.

THE PLACE

Freycinet Lodge spreads discretely over a few hectares inside the Freycinet National Park, with wallabies wandering here and there and Great Oyster Bay never far from sight. It has a central reception, restaurant, bar and guests' lounge with a vast deck to admire the waters beyond. The accommodation is in cabins scattered nearby in the bush.

THE SPACE

The most recent additions are the Coastal Pavilions, built to replace some units on the edge of the bay. The whole project is Tasmanian-led, from project director Brett Torossi to architects and designers Liminal Studio and builders Cordwell Lane. The ingredients are also Tasmanian, with extensive oak and ironbark timber panelling adding to the natural feel and massive glass walls that bring the outside in. Raised walkways wander through the trees to reach the pavilions, each with a sheltered entry and cupboard for boots and other outdoor essentials.

THE ROOM

Open the door and it's as though you've walked through the looking glass, with the bay sparkling over the edge of a big timber deck that has a sunken bath and, rather than a balustrade, a line of cargo nets to catch any falls and, better still, to double as a very big hammock. Back inside, the timber panelling seems to make one long wall, until you spot the sleek black bar that marks a door to the lavatory or, a little further on, a cupboard full of books and board games. Curved floor-to-ceiling glass in the lounge and bedroom welcome the views and the bedroom has heavy curtains that can be shut to remove all light or opened to sleep under the stars. At the time of writing, there are nine Coastal Pavilions, three with water views. In June 2018, six more Pavilions opened with views to the spectacular Hazards mountain peaks – four single bedroom, like the Coastal Pavilions, and two family-size, two-bedroom pavilions.

THE FOOD

There are two restaurants on site, the casual and family-oriented Richardson's Bistro and the smarter Bay Restaurant with Tasmanian seafood and other produce the highlights. The Hazards Bar and Lounge is to the side of the restaurant and joins a big deck looking out over Great Oyster Bay; Tasmanian gin and whisky tastings are a highlight at Hazards. Breakfast is included and can be taken in the restaurant, but guests in the Coastal Pavilions have the option of a breakfast hamper delivered. Take it and you get to spend more time in these wonderful rooms.

STEPPING OUT

Face the bay and turn right for a long sandy beach to stroll towards Coles Bay township or turn left and you're on an easy trail to Honeymoon Bay. A short drive into the National Park leads to the take-off point for some remarkable walks. Head up Mount Amos for the most Instagrammed-view in Australia, or up to the Wineglass Bay lookout and down to the Bay itself with a loop home via Hazards beach, an 11-kilometre circuit that can take a few hours, or, if bird-watching, most of the day.

THE VERDICT

This was already one of my favourite parts of Australia – I've been coming here for the fishing and an occasional walk for decades. But to be inside the National Park and in one of these sprawling pavilions, with their smart design, natural finishes and relaxed Tasmanian feng shui, is something else again. I was there on a couple of sparkling autumn days; I'd love to be there in a storm with all that glass between me and the weather.

HIGHLIGHT That deck with its sunken bath and huge hammock of a balustrade; a big but still private space.

LOWLIGHT There's board games and hampers to be had but limited bench or table space to enjoy them.

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ESSENTIALS

Freycinet Lodge, Freycinet National Park, Coles Bay Road, Coles Bay, Tasmania. Cabins from $289, Coastal Pavilions from $549 a night, bed and breakfast with further discounts for auto club members (the property is owned by RACT Destinations). Phone: (03) 6256 7222, see freycinetlodge.com.au

Jim Darby stayed as a guest of Freycinet Lodge.

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