It’s rare that I’m taken by complete surprise by my choice of accommodation. Certainly, many times I have been disappointed, where my abode has not lived up to its reputation, but rarely has it been the other extreme - so vastly better than I expected. Boy, it sure has on this latest trip to Tasmania.
I’ve just returned from a pitifully short two night stay at self-contained single accommodation on Tasmania’s East Coast that was absolutely and unequivocally off the charts.
I knew Rocky Hills Retreat would be good, but I didn’t expect the level of perfection that I found in every aspect of it. The location, of course, is the most obvious spectacle. At the very top of a long dirt road in Rocky Hills, South of Swansea, once through the properties stone gates you are enveloped by 250 acres of dry sclerophyll bush. this highest point in the area affords a vista unlike any I’ve ever seen in Australia. Looking right out over the calm azure waters of Great Oyster Bay to Coles Bay and the magnificent Freycinet Peninsula in one direction, and along the Tasmanian coastline and out to Maria Island the other.
The retreat was first conceived back in 2004 and designed by Award Winning Australian architect Craig Rosevear. With construction completed in 2009, the single dwelling building is constructed of Besser blocks and floor to ceiling heat treated double glazed windows with a fire safe concrete roof. Floors are polished concrete, the effect of all creating a temperate cocoon made to withstand the weathers of time.
The Retreat is breathtakingly comfortable. The owners have put more thought and spent serious coin to make this a haven of unadulterated luxury. Its level of comfort far exceeds any accommodation of this type I’ve ever experienced. Completely open plan to make total use of the wraparound knockout views, upon entering, a large dining area leads into a massive living zone that encompasses the entire back of the house, facing the coast and islands. Two enormous, plush couches, custom made in Victoria, covered with a layer of feather top make for the most superbly comfortable lounges I’ve ever spent such long, wonderful hours curled up in. The many cushions, also from Victoria, equally perfect. Cashmere blankets abound, and thick snuggly robes are at the ready to give your body another layer of heaven.
Right in the centre, a classic wood-fired stove which is lit and burning beautifully upon your arrival. Everything you need, including mountains of wood, is laid out all around the house decks ready to keep the coziness going throughout your stay.
The King size bed sits around to the right and is adorned with all manner of plump, coloured cushions and fur throws. With the richest linens, I can claim that this is the single most comfortable bed I have ever slept in in all my wonderful and weary travels around the world. Alongside a flame orange velvet headboard, elaborate French curtains adorn either side and are on pulleys to surround the bed should you wish to close yourself in as night falls.
This wasn’t for me – the ability to lie in that soft, lushness and view the blackness all around, the outline of the trees and the stars illuminating the sky, all from the bed, was magical. Even better, being naturally awoken by the soft light of dawn to watch the most magnificent sunrise right across the waters of the peninsula and out to Maria Island was an absolute highlight. I have never experienced such a calm start to the day anywhere in the world.
Two beautifully conceived outdoor spaces, one, off to the side of the dining room to face the rising sun over Freycinet, on a perfect deck to view nature’s spectacle or to practice yoga. A better spot on earth to do so I cannot think of.
Then the pièce de résistance, right outside from the bed on its own deck lies a perfectly formed soaking tub, custom made of Tasmanian Huon Pine for outdoor bathing with a direct view out to Maria Island. What an utter indulgence to wrap in warm waters on cool, crisp mornings and evenings watching the sky weave her dazzling changing colours in front of me.
From my twice-daily bathing I saw a Wedge Tailed Eagle fly directly overhead, and two Kookaburras land in trees directly in front of me, sing their songs and study me in all their wisdom. Possums rustled overhead in the evenings.
Staying at Rocky Hills Retreat truly made me appreciate our Australian landscape. If only I could describe the colours that kept developing at each glance. The surrounding bush is where the deepest colour spectrums presented themselves. There were moments of deep ochre, with moss greens and light brown, to orange and every hue in between, the contrast from all those colours of the bush to the soft, calm hues of blue and light pink that make up the ocean and sky, all completely mesmerizing.
Natures’ spectacle is on full display here, slowly revealing a different layer at every moment. This is a place to be at peace with one’s self, or to reconnect with your loved one.
Enough provisions are provided so you never have to venture from this paradise. With many complimentary additions, particularly the breakfast spread, you don’t want for anything. A freezer full of fresh goodies from Hobart’s famous Wursthaus Kitchen means you don’t need to go without superbly made exotic comfort foods including rich lasagna and authentic Thai curries. Not a dull meal to be had here!
To top everything off, just down the road the owners purchased and renovated an old white timber church and converted it into a beautiful creative space, an Art Studio fully stocked with paints, papers, easels, everything you need to let your creative juices flow. With its own wood burning stove and more of those comfy couches, it’s a great breakaway spot for a fireside chat and drink as well.
Privacy is absolute. I was nude much of the time. Is there anything better than being nude? Indoors nude mostly, as the icy mornings wouldn’t have done my naked body any favours. But running over to that heavenly tub and out of it again in all my revealing starkness was an exhilarating exception.
I cannot wait to return and recharge at Rocky Hills Retreat. For me it’s a great place to develop my articles for Mr. Robinson, and particularly, to begin the seed of the ideas to create new ones. I have finally found one of my new favourite spots and I couldn’t be happier. Going off grid here to write, relax and recharge will be forever great food for the soul.
ROCKY HILLS RETREAT
11901 Tasman Hwy, Rocky Hills TAS 7190