Saturday 2 June 2018

Pumphouse Point at Lake St Clair

Ever since moving to Tasmania in 2016, Pumphouse Point has been high up on my list of places to visit. Located in Lake St Clair, about two and a half hours' drive from Hobart, Pumphouse Point is a beautiful hotel that has only been operating since 2015, but has been extremely popular ever since its opening. The hotel accommodation includes rooms at the shore house and at the pump house, which is the hydro-electric pump station that has been converted into stunning accommodation over the water.

Upon arriving at around 3pm, we were greeted warmly by the hotel staff and met with a glass of sparkling wine, before being taken out to our accommodation at the pump house by a golf buggy. We chose to stay in one of the ground floor rooms, which was quite minimal in design and very beautiful. Some of the standouts of the room included the Aesop bathroom products, the incredibly soft and luxurious doona (we even unbuttoned the cover to find out the brand of the doona), the amazing larder stocked with cheese, meats, olives, pickles and chocolates (just to name a few options) from Coal River Farm, along with a range of fantastic wines.

As we had enjoyed a large lunch in Hobart earlier that day, we decided that we would skip the share table dinner experience that evening (we still had another two nights to enjoy the amazing dinner at the shore house) and instead, we nibbled on items from the larder, along with a complimentary freshly baked loaf of bread that was delivered to our room at 6pm. Just outside our room was the pump house lounge, equipped with an honesty bar (you grab your drink, write it down on your room's tab, and enjoy!), board games, cozy blankets and couches surrounding the open log fire. After a game of scrabble and a gin and tonic each, we relaxed by the fire listening to the wind and rain outside.

The next morning, we woke around 7am to the calming sound of the water lapping outside our room, before pulling on our warm weather gear for a day of hiking ahead. There are numerous hikes within the Lake St Clair National Park, and with the visitors' centre just minutes from Pumphouse Point, we thought we'd make the most of this opportunity to get outdoors. We wandered over to the shore house where a buffet breakfast was served of incredibly fresh, Tasmanian produce. This included homemade muesli and granola, natural yoghurt, stewed rhubarb, a variety of pastries and croissants, a toastie station with Tassie ham, cheeses and condiments, as well as a boil your own eggs station accompanied by local bacon and homemade baked beans. After enjoying this delicious fuel, we headed off for our day of walking.

We decided to do the Echo Point walk, and while we didn't quite make it to Echo Point, our legs were pretty exhausted after five hours of hiking, so we were very glad to be able to return to the warmth and comfort of Pumphouse at the end of the day. We had packed some of the prosciutto, cheese and bread from the larder which was a simple but delicious lunch that we enjoyed by the lake.

That evening, we headed over to the shore house for the shared dinner, where a few tables are set up with six seats on each, giving us the chance to meet four other guests and share in a delicious meal together (we had a lovely evening chatting away with some guests from Brisbane and Melbourne). We started off with a warming chilli soup, followed by share plates with tender lamb shanks, sweet potato mash and mixed green salad, and poached pears with meringue to finish.

The next day, after enjoying the delicious breakfast spread, we decided to venture out for another hike, this time to Shadow Lake, which was a 3 hour return circuit. We were hoping to make it back in time for lunch at the Derwent Bridge Wilderness Hotel as we had heard amazing things about the Sri Lankan curries there, but unfortunately just missed the lunch cutoff, so instead we nibbled on some freshly baked bread and nibbles from the larder, before relaxing for the afternoon and heading to the shared dinner at 7pm.

That evening, we sat with a lovely couple from Launceston and a couple from Sydney (who, incidentally, had just got engaged that afternoon!) and had such a fun night chatting and laughing over some potato and leek soup, chicken with asparagus and quinoa salad, and lemon syrup pudding.

On our final morning, we enjoyed the last breakfast of the trip before checking out at 10am and heading to the nearby Wall in the Wilderness, an incredible sculpture by Greg Duncan which is made up on a series of 3m high wooden panels, all of which span 100m in total. The sculpture has been carved out by hand and tells a story of Tasmania's history. It has such incredible detail and it is hard to believe that one man has created this entire sculpture by hand. It is definitely worth stopping by and viewing if you are ever in the Lake St Clair area. Before heading back to Hobart, we managed to get to the Derwent Bridge Wilderness Hotel and try one of the incredible Sri Lankan lamb curries, which was so authentic and was filled with an amazing mixture of spices and flavours, accompanied by rice, roti, pappadums, yoghurt, chutney and a hard-boiled egg - the perfect meal to end a fantastic few days away.

I would highly recommend a trip to Pumphouse Point to anyone that is thinking of visiting Tasmania. Even though it is a couple of hours' drive from Hobart, it is definitely worth it for the incredible nature, facilities, food, wine and relaxation that are on offer.

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