Go off grid at the Pumphouse

Pumphouse Point, Tasmania

If you’re looking for an off-grid location with a touch of luxe, head to Tasmania’s wild north-west of and settle in at lakeside retreat The Pumphouse Point.

I first read about the Pumphouse back in 2015. The former hydra station which had been converted into a hotel made quite an impact on me. An image of the Pumphouse seemingly floating on a lake surrounded by raw wilderness was burned into my memory. Finally in June this year Monty and I stayed there. So, what did we think? This is our scope…

Snapshot:

The Pumphouse Point is located at Lake St Clair, near Derwent Bridge

There is a snow policy – check the website for details

The Pumphouse Point comprises three buildings: ‘The Pumphouse’ on the lake (connects to the mainland via the ‘flume’ access walkway), the main building on the mainland ‘The Shorehouse’, and ‘The Retreat’, a private suite at the edge of the lake.

Accommodation rates vary according to where you are staying. Minimum two-night booking. Everything is included in the accommodation cost (food, larder, e-bikes, boats…) except for beverages.

Getting there: We drove. Before your arrival you will receive a code. This code is necessary to get beyond the entry gate. A short drive leads to the main building, The Shorehouse. While luggage is taken to your room, guests gather at The Shorehouse in preparation for a debrief. Flutes of chilled bubbles are offered which serve as the perfect icebreaker and conversation starter.

Cost: Accommodation is on the high side but in truth it is excellent value for money. Every conceivable need has been considered and executed with flair.

Two-night minimum stay applies to all bookings. I would recommend at least three, if not four nights, if your time and wallet permit.

Why here:  firstly, it’s off the grid. You can escape the world and create your own level of happiness in this pristine wilderness. It’s a unique adults-only retreat.

Sleep: you have three options. Either stay on the mainland in The Shorehouse or The Retreat (a private suite) or walk the flume (walkway) across the lake to The Pumphouse. The Pumphouse spans three levels with rooms on each level.

On the ground level is the generously stocked honesty bar, lounges, and comfy fireside chairs. Expansive floor to ceiling windows frame picturesque Lake St Clair. Two rooms are located on entry into The Pumphouse, a further two rooms are located beyond a transparent glass wall. The wall serves to insulate the lounge area and keep it super cosy during icy cold winters. The middle level has four rooms and snug lounge area. The top level also has four rooms. A small landing, which serves as a quiet reading space, separates the middle and top floors.

Access to the second and third floors is via stairs or a lift.

The Shorehouse offers different sleeping options and are priced accordingly: lake view rooms with bathtubs, lake view rooms with showers, standard rooms without views. Apart from the view aspect, all rooms are well appointed and extremely comfortable.

Our Room: We stayed in Room #4 on the ground floor in the Pumphouse. It’s the perfect location. Easy access to and from the building. Although it’s said the middle floor rooms give the impression you’re floating on water, we felt this same sensation in our room. It’s the best spot – you feel as though you are on board a boat, yet it is stationery. No rocking, no rolling. No seasickness. Just the gentle flow of water lapping softly against the building’s solid exterior.

Our room included a fully equipped kitchenette (microwave, fridge, coffee plunger and ground coffee, Nespresso machine, an excellent selection of coffee capsules, a torch for night-time, early morning or late afternoon meanderings…).

The fridge is a food lover’s delight. It’s stocked with carefully curated Australian produce to sustain you during the day while you are staying at The Pumphouse Point. It goes without saying the food offer probably changes according to availability and season, but while we were staying at the Pumphouse our in-room feast boasted a thoughtfully curated selection of prepacked goods for all taste buds and needs: snacks to enjoy while imbibing on your preferred tipple, shortbread and a slab of nut-filled chocolate for the sweet-tooth, hearty soup, Tasmania wood roasted salmon, a wheel of Coal River Farm triple cream brie, locally made hummus, baby cucumbers, wedge of Pyegana Dairy cheddar, olives, salami, prosciutto…need I say more. Plus, there’s non-alcoholic beverages, and an impressive selection of Tassie wines and beers for your imbibing pleasure. The food is included in the room price. Simply record the alcoholic beverages consumed each day and pay when checking out.

Surprise item: a sturdy yet seriously uber cool canvas backpack is at the ready for your impending hikes in the wilderness or leisurely lakeside picnics. Loaded with necessities for your daily excursions, the backpack’s contents include enamel plates, acrylic long-stemmed wine glasses, fabric napkins, knives, forks, spoons, teaspoons, enamel mugs, ponchos… Take what you want from your fridge and off you go!

Eat: breakfast and dinner are served in The Shorehouse. Breakfasts are wholesome and tasty. There’s a variety of cereals including muesli and granola, yogurt, loaves of bread and pastries, cold cuts, bacon, gluten and dairy free produce…

During the day you can order a freshly baked loaf of bread delivered on the hour to your room – the perfect accompaniment to your larder goods.

Drink: honesty is key. The bar in The Pumphouse is fully stocked and accessible by all guests, including those staying at The Shorehouse. Choose your preferred beverage and record it on the clipboard marked with your room number. Prices vary and they are not unreasonable.

What to do there: bikes (including e-bikes) and row boats are at your disposal. There are 10 self-guided walks that range from strolls to serious walks that wind through bushland, hug the lake’s shoreline, or lead you to beaches and fishing spots. Pop into Lake St Clair Visitor Centre and learn about the local area, its wildlife and fauna. Picnic lakeside. Or simply curl up with a good book in front of the fire at The Pumphouse.

Good to know: The Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service requires visitors obtain a Parks Pass when visiting Tasmania’s National Parks. We purchased our Parks Pass at Freycinet National Park earlier on during our Tassie adventure, but if you haven’t obtained one you can purchase a pass at The Pumphouse Point. It covers one vehicle and up to eight passengers. It is valid for your stay at Pumphouse Point, whether you stay two or more nights.

Last Word:

Selfish of me to admit, I know, but what I loved and really embraced was the peace and calm of staying in a child-free environment. Monty and I have children and grandchildren and love them all dearly, but the thought of the stillness and beauty interrupted by the wail of a baby or children screaming is unthinkable. The website clearly states:  Children aged 18 and under are not catered for (including newborns and infants) and Pumphouse Point reserves the right and full discretion to not accept bookings for children within this age bracket.  

Negatives: the only downside was the lack of snow. We were hoping the gods would sprinkle a blanket of white ice while staying there; alas, no, even though it had snowed the weekend previous to our arrival. Seems Tasmania was experiencing a mild winter.

Do read The Pumphouse Point policy regarding snow in the event your booking could be cancelled due to the inability to access this pristine wilderness location. 

For more images of Tasmania and the Pumphouse please check out johnmontaguephotography.com.

Vicki Montague is a freelance writer with a predilection for travel, European fashion, architecture that oozes history and charm, and objects that tell a story. She and her partner John are empty nesters - their three adult children have left the comforts of home to carve out their own paths in life. Vicki’s professional background is in marketing and public relations.

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