Things generally happen a bit differently in Tasmania…so why bed down in an identikit chain motel?
Your accommodation here might be a few nights in a former convict gaol, a barracks, a power station or even an art gallery. And whatever the skies throw at you, the welcome will be warm. Around the state, here are 10 uniquely Tasmanian stays.
Pump it up: Pumphouse Point
Visible for miles across the serene waters of Lake St Clair, this 1930s pumping station is now a matchless wilderness retreat. Pack a picnic from the well-stocked larder, drink from the honesty bar and make friends with other guests around the communal dinner table. Then relax by a roaring fire with a good book and a dram of local whisky.
Keeping secrets: the Keep
Like a Scottish castle, high on the Blue Tier with 360-degree views from Flinders Island to Pyengana, the Keep is like your own private kingdom. A stay here is as comfortable as it is isolated, indulging in French Champagne, luxuriating in the outdoor granite bath, or losing track of time exploring private wilderness, as far as the eye can see.
Wild west: Corinna Wilderness Village
Misty forests, remote waterways and rumours of thylacines… Canoes scudding across a river to a mysterious staircase... On the edge of the takayna / Tarkine rainforest in Tasmania’s west, little Corinna is alive with stories and far-flung atmosphere. Stay in a restored miner’s cottage, pull up a stool at the historic pub and feast on gourmet food in the restaurant.
Night at the museum: Mona Pavilions
On a private peninsula 11km north of downtown Hobart, these architecturally designed apartments are a masterpiece of wood, steel, glass and stone. Expect furnishings by the likes of Ron Arad and Philippe Stark, and walls hung with original artworks from Mona, the Museum of Old and New Art, next door. Free Mona pass included...but with a fridge stocked with local wines, you may never leave your room.
Bank on it: Secret Bank Society
The simple 1939 art-deco exterior of Ringarooma’s former bank, 90min east of Launceston, belies a treasure trove of art, antiques and other ephemera. It’s cosy, too: pull up an armchair by the fire and pour a glass of local pinot noir. Then it’s time for a hot bath and a long winter night spent cocooned in French linen.
Last orders: Ship Inn
On a windblown corner on the edge of the map, Stanley’s historic Ship Inn (1849) is abuzz with stories of merchant sailors, shipwrecks, English gentry and sea-salty travellers. Listen to the walls talk. You’ll also love the yoga studio and gym, plus a smorgasbord of restaurants and beaches an easy stroll from your room.
Prison life: Darlington Penitentiary
No electricity, no wi-fi, no mod cons… Rustic goes some way towards describing the accommodation in one of Australia’s best-preserved convict jails. Within Maria Island National Park, sleep on comfortable bunks in the whitewashed Georgian huts of the penitentiary, each warmed by a wood heater, before exploring the wild glory and the island’s World Heritage-listed convict remains. National Parks pass required.
Hydro history: Tarraleah Lodge
Built in the 1930s in art-deco style with a money-is-no-object budget, Tarraleah Lodge is a Tasmanian jewel. Once home to visiting bigwigs, this former hydro-electric highlands lodge now opens its doors to discerning travellers who like a bit of comfort with their rainforest. Think silk filled doonas, king-sized beds and a whisky shelf with 100-plus bottles.
Sleep like a king: Kittawa Lodge
There aren’t many places where you can relax in a stone bathtub watching a Southern Ocean sunset as kangaroos cavort nearby. Out on King Island in the middle of wild Bass Strait, the staff at Kittawa will take care of you while an in-house chef rustles up a feast using the mouth-watering produce that has put the island on the map.
Australia’s oldest B&B? Triabunna Barracks
Restored in 2021, these 1840s army barracks offer a rare chance to stay in authentic convict-era accommodation. You’ll love the heated stone floors, wooden beams and exposed sandstone walls, plus a roaring fire and generous breakfasts. A stone’s throw away (or perhaps a badly fired cannonball), ferries can take you across to Maria Island National Park.