Located within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge is an alpine escape that will have you feeling a world away.
Traveller: Gwen O’Toole
Room: King Billy Suite
Address: 4038 Cradle Mountain Rd, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
Date: December 2016
Best for: A wilderness alpine retreat ideal for romantic getaways and nature enthusiasts seeking a bit of R&R.
The Signature factor
You’ll love relaxing in front of your double-sided fireplace or soaking your cares away in the private outdoor spa surrounded by Tasmanian wilderness.
These luxury cabins are set among some of the most remarkable World Heritage-listed national park areas in Australia.
What started out as the family homestead of Austrian immigrant Gustav Weindorfer and his Tasmanian wife Kate in 1902 when it was known as the Waldheim (Forest Home), grew to become an accommodation building for family friends and acquaintances. In 1922, the land extending from Cradle Mountain south to Lake St Clair (some 161,000 hectares) was proclaimed a National Park largely due to the efforts of the Weindorfers. When the family passed away and the Waldheim had fallen into disrepair, it was rebuilt in all its glory from the towering King Billy pine trees the area is known for.
Cabins were added in 1984 and Cradle Mountain Lodge was named as a unique wilderness retreat surrounded by the National Park.
Driving into the lodge is a welcome treat from the winding wilderness roads leading up to the entry and the main lodge’s huge open fireplace makes for quite a literal warm welcome. Set up as a variety of cabins among the woods, we were promptly directed to ours and parked outside the front door. Once inside you can appreciate how spacious the King Billy Suites actually are. While the property has a rustic country feel, the suites are modern with plenty of space inside. The double-sided fireplace fills the room. Wandering through, we didn’t even notice there wasn’t a television until a bit later and the bathroom is enormous. Straight away you’ll feel the instant calm of the property.
The King Billy Suite is the premiere accommodation offering at Peppers Cradle Mountain. The private chalet is set among the woods and a short stroll to the main lodge. The incredibly spacious accommodation offers a living area, kitchenette, huge master bedroom, a walk-in wardrobe, incredibly spacious bathroom with spa bath and walk-in shower and a double-sided fireplace (one side facing the living area, one side facing the bed). Outside on your secluded balcony, you have a timber outdoor hot tub with views over the national forest.
What you won’t find in your room is a television or Wi-Fi, so it’s all about disconnecting and relaxing here. Wi-Fi is available in the main lodge guest lounge for those who need to check in with the ‘real world’. Rooms do have a stereo with a docking station for an iPhone or MP3/USB and a provided CD of music created specifically for the lodge.
Dining options at Cradle Mountain can include a fine dining experience at Highlands Restaurant with its walk-in wine cellar and seasonal menu that includes some of Tasmania’s best local produce. Breakfast is served each morning in the lodge buffet style and is reflective of your traditional hotel buffet breakfast. Morning tea is also served daily from 10am until midday if you fancy some scones, cakes and tea or coffee. On site there’s also the casual Tavern Bar & Bistro; with its pub fare, pool table and casual atmosphere, you can grab a bite to enjoy indoors or, if the weather suits, al fresco on the large outdoor deck. It’s also a lively spot in the evenings to enjoy a casual drink and if you simply can’t do without a television, it’s the one and only spot where you can watch the news or catch up on the latest sports game.
Picnic hampers can also be organised for breakfast, lunch or dinner and collected the following morning before you head off on your outdoor adventure.
Highlights from the mini-bar
Inside the mini-bar you’ll find the usual suspects, sweet and savoury snacks, soft drinks, bottled water (sparkling and still) as well as a few bottles of local wine and both local and imported beer. There’s also a welcome fruit bowl and free fireside port to greet you back in your room in the evenings.
I wish I could take home…
If there was a way to transport the outdoor spa bath (with its incredible surrounds – including the curious wallabies that hop up to your lodge) to my own backyard, I’d do it in a millisecond. The heated towel rails are a close second.
The Waldheim Alpine Spa at the lodge is the very definition of relaxation. Surrounded by the Tasmanian highlands and overlooking a mountain spring and Pencil Pine River, this gorgeous sanctuary is the perfect place to escape. It offers a range of treatments including massage, facials and the scrubs as well as a specialty ‘Mountain Man’ package for gentlemen keen on a little indulgence too.
Keen for some private time? Book into the private sanctuary for 60 to 90 minutes for yourself or as a couple and enjoy plenty of privacy with incredible views. You’ll get a private relaxation area, dry heat sauna, steam room, a large hot tub as well as a cool vitality pool to enjoy. Top it up with a bottle of Tasmanian sparkling wine and a platter of chocolate-dipped strawberries and it’s a little bit of heavenly bliss.
Guests can also choose to take either guided or self-guided walks or book in with an activities guide for fly fishing lessons, kayaking or spending time in one of the guest lounges in front of the crackling fireplace with a great book or a glass of fine Tasmanian wine. The spa is a popular choice with guests, but staying at the lodge is truly about disconnecting and enjoying the quiet.
Stepping out here is perfect for the outdoorsy nature-lover as the lodge is set among the Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park. There are over 15 hiking trails to choose from within the park area. They vary in distance, from short 20- to 40-minute strolls on relatively level terrain to hikes of up to eight hours with more challenging difficulties. Even the shorter walks will still offer up plenty of opportunity to spot native wildlife and enjoy the gorgeous surrounds.
Don’t come to Cradle Mountain thinking you’ll still be connected to the digital world. It truly is a getaway. There’s limited or no mobile phone reception and Wi-Fi connections are limited to the main lodge only. It’s a place to turn off the screens and appreciate the beauty of your surrounds.
It’s absolutely essential to watch where you walk at all times on the grounds of the lodge. With so much wildlife out and about (you’ll spot wallabies, wombats and echidnas everywhere!) you’re bound to step in something unpleasant if you’re not mindful of your feet.
Where to find it
Cradle Mountain Lodge can be reached via a 75-min drive from Devonport (arrive in Devonport via the Spirit of Tasmania ferry for an extra bit of holiday indulgence.) From Launceston, the drive is approximately 2.5 hours and 4.5 hours from Hobart.
by Gwen O’Toole
Gwen O’Toole is a Melbourne-based travel and food writer who is always on the lookout for a new restaurant or bar to check out or an exciting new destination to discover. Having been bitten by the travel bug early in life, she’s lived in a variety of cities around the globe before making Australia home. Follow her on Instagram at @gwennieo