Sunday 21 July 2019

A snowy weekend at Lake St Clair

Dave and I were very keen to have a snowy weekend away at some stage this winter, so when we booked in a weekend away to Lake St Clair a few months ago, we had our fingers crossed that we would see some snow. Thankfully, the night before we left, Lake St Clair received a large dumping of snow, providing us with a beautifully picturesque weekend away.

Leaving Hobart at around lunchtime on Friday (after Dave had a couple of hours' sleep coming off a 12 hour night shift), we dropped Moose off at the kennels (his second favourite home) before heading north to the middle of Tassie. As we progressed along Lyell Highway, the snow started falling lightly, and it wasn't long before we were  fairly deep in snow, giving us flashbacks to our time in beautiful Banff in Canada. After driving through the somewhat treacherous conditions, we made it to our accommodation at Pumphouse Point just after 3pm.

After being greeted with a glass of sparkling wine, we were shown to our room in the Shorehouse, with lovely views over Lake St Clair (you can choose to stay in either the Shorehouse or the Pumphouse, and as we had experienced the Pumphouse on a visit last year, we decided to try the Shorehouse this time). After having a bit of a wander through the snow, we headed to the lounge area for a drink by the fire before dinner.

One of the great things about Pumphouse is the shared dining experience held each night. Tables of eight are set up in the dining room, which provides a wonderful opportunity to meet a variety of other guests while enjoying a range of share plates with Coal River Farm-sourced ingredients. On the first evening, we enjoyed some chickpea soup with flatbread, followed by pork belly with spiced apple puree, baked cauliflower with caramelised onion tahini, green beans with feta, and pressed beef terrine with peppercorns and creme fraiche. To finish, we were each served a delicious dark chocolate, raspberry and cocoa nib crunch pudding with raspberry icecream.

The next morning, we woke to a winter wonderland scene, after another overnight dumping of snow that was constantly falling throughout the morning. We headed down to the dining room for breakfast, where we were met with a spread of granola, yoghurt, rhubarb, eggs, bacon, beans, toast, croissants, pastries, a range of cheeses, ham and mustard to make toasted sandwiches, and an excellent coffee machine. After fueling our bodies with this delicious spread for the day ahead, we donned our hiking clothes and headed to the Lake St Clair National Park to scope out what walks we could handle given the conditions. After speaking to someone at the information desk, we decided to stay safe and do one of the shorter walks - the Platypus Bay circuit, which was a 5km fairly flat walk. Given the amount of snow on the trail, it made for a slightly more challenging walk, but the scenery was so incredibly stunning that we were happy taking our time as we traipsed through the snow.

We decided to head to the Derwent Bridge Wilderness Hotel for lunch, as last time we visited, we fell in love with the amazing Sri Lankan curry on the menu. Thankfully, this was still available, so we ordered a Sri Lankan beef curry, along with a beef pie with mushy peas to share, which were the perfect warming meals to end our chilly morning.

After lunch, we had a quiet afternoon indoors reading and watching the snow fall outside, before heading to the shared dining experience that evening. The menu included mushroom soup with flatbread, followed by slow cooked lamb shanks, sweet potato mash, mesclun salad, and poached pears with meringue and cream for dessert.

We woke on Sunday morning to another snowy morning, but we were able to depart that morning as the roads had been ploughed earlier that day (the police had actually closed all surrounding roads on Saturday, so we thought we might be spending another night there, which we definitely wouldn't have minded). After enjoying another delicious breakfast spread, we headed off around 10am.

I would highly recommend a visit to Pumphouse Point at Lake St Clair, whether you live in Tassie or elsewhere in Australia. You can fly either to Launceston or Hobart, and after a 2.5 hour drive you will be in this idyllic location surrounded by incredible Tasmanian wilderness with amazing food, wine and company - the perfect weekend getaway. 

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