Tasmanian Travel Story
Our incredible weekend getaway to Thalia Haven, and that bathtub.
As with most of my little escapes across country with Bloggers Boyfriend (just to be clear, #WeAreNotTogether), our trip to Tasmania in June snowballed on the tipoff of an incredible bathtub. Call it our ‘will travel for bathtub’ philosophy. And with Tasmania’s microcosm of mountain ranges, rainforests and pristine beaches igniting our travel bugs in equal measure, we took off for Hobart, hired a little red car and putted down the Tasmanian east coast. Our destination: Thalia Haven.
Perched on a secluded peninsula looking over the wild Tasman Sea, with no sign of civilisation within a 2 kilometre radius, this ancient stone cottage is a holiday villa like no other. In place of a towering sign or modern facade, what marked the unassuming entrance to Thalia Haven were a bridge across a trickling stream, a mirror still lagoon, and an old abandoned windmill. Needless to say, there would be no 7-Elevens where we were going.
One moment our little red car was rattling along the seemingly endless dirt road that led into Thalia Haven’s 130-acre estate, the next, we emerged out of the dense grasslands and found ourselves on a cliff high above the crashing seas. Thalia Haven stood like an ancient stone castle against the darkening sky. To the north, the serpentine shoreline diminished into the horizon; to the south were vast wooded grassland. There was a profound silence here that gave way only to the wind, the crashing waves, and the crackling of our feet on the gravel drive. Had we stepped through a portal back through time, or to a distance other-world?
We explored the property, walking down every corridor and opening every door. We found a number of luxuriously furnished bedrooms, a large kitchen and lounge with grand fireplaces, a storeroom of seaside paraphernalia, and doors that did not open, which had our imaginations running wild with secret labyrinths and hidden dungeons. The scenes were rife with fuel for the imagination, and, inevitably, images befitting the Brontë family Angrian novels seeped into the mind. This could have been the brooding abode of a Byronic hero, perhaps Heathcliff or Mr Rochester himself.
Though the above may imply a rough-hewn homestead of a bygone age, Thalia Haven is at its heart a luxury villa. There are bathrooms in every room and the creature comforts of a modern kitchen, and the property wields complete self-suficiency with wind and solar electricity, and running water pumped from its own underground source. There is no television, however, and no phone line or internet either, which we took as an open invitation to rediscover the tactile joys of a simplified life.
In the summer, there would be the prospects of swimming and snorkling at the beach only steps away, exploring the 5 kilometres of Thalia Haven’s private coastline, and enjoying the famous views of the Hazards and Schouten Island. However, our confinement by the winter storms that weekend proposed its own unique delights. We lit the hearths and brewed our tea and mentally disconnected from the modern world of self-imposed haste. With the emotive dark sky and sea viewed through the panoramic glass doors and windows, and the crackling fires casting a juxtaposing red glow on every silhouette, we felt more than ever like two characters in a classic gothic romance.
And finally, we come to that bathtub, the object of our pilgrimage. Looking out of the raised bedroom in the main buildling, the en plein air affair sits on the cliff-side porch, emphasis added by a reclaimed driftwood faucet. Though the stormclouds threatened a downpour at any moment, we just had to get in.
My top tips on visiting Thalia Haven:
Thalia Haven is located off the A9, 25 minutes from Orford from the south, and 18 minutes from Swansea from the north. The best (and perhaps only) way to get here is by car. There are no visible signs, so you will need to follow the directions from Susan.
Everything you need is provided for, including bedding, towels, and snorkelling equipment. All you will need to bring is fresh food for your stay. The kitchen is fitted with fridge, oven, cooktop, dishwasher, as well as all the utensils you will need and more. When we were there, the pantry was also fully stocked with essentials such as sugar, salt and flour.
There are 4 bedrooms with their own standalone bathrooms, so you could go with up to a party of 8 to split the costs, or as we did, enjoy the sweet seclusion of the 130 acres all to the two of you.
While our visit during the storms was a unique and memorable experience, Thalia Haven is best enjoyed in fine weather. So do check the weather before embarking on your journey.