There's nothing better than rugging up in winter beside a crackling log fire. And we mean a real fire - not a pseudo-fireplace powered by gas with fancy immovable logs. They're nice, but we're talking the warmth that comes from authentic flames. This winter, rub your hands together because we've found seven of the best.
1. THOUSAND LAKES LODGE
Word is that the Marcos Ambrose-designed fireplace at Thousand Lakes Lodge took nine men to shift into place. With that in mind, be assured this sturdy heat box gives plenty of warmth. Up in the alpine reaches near the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, this recently opened lodge was once a training facility for Antarctic expeditioners. Whether you’re fly fishing, bird watching, walking or pedalling in the World Heritage Area, it’s a treat knowing the lodge’s fire awaits. Shared Tasmanian fare and leather couches encourage evening chatter into the Central Highland’s night.
Image – Marcos Ambrose-designed fireplace: Thousand Lakes Lodge
2. FRENCHMAN’S RIVER
At Frenchman’s River in Cygnet it’s not easy to pull yourself away from the Chimineé Philippe double-sided wood fire. It features in the Helmsman’s House, one of two self-catering houses on the property. The second, known as The Writer’s House, boasts an open fire. Once the fire is crackling, pop outside onto the deck. While we can’t make any promises, you might just witness the Southern Lights from here. With uninterrupted views south and a lack of light pollution, your chances are higher. Don’t be surprised if wallabies, bettongs, possums and pademelons keep watch with you.
Image – Chimineé Philippe double-sided wood fire, Helmsman’s House, Frenchman’s River: Kraig Carlstrí¶m
3. CRADLE MOUNTAIN LODGE
Find yourself a deep leather chair and cosy up by a stone fireplace at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge. The Weindorfer Lounge is a fitting place to park weary legs after walking wilderness tracks or reaching a summit. A blanket of snow beyond the window might just add to your winter wonderland. From damp and cold to fiery warm, thaw out over a bold red and Tasmanian cheeses. Located on the edge of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, you don’t have far to go for tomorrow’s adventure.
Image – Fireplace Life: Tourism Tasmania and Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge
4. PUMPHOUSE POINT
Only at Pumphouse Point can you stay suspended high above Australia’s deepest freshwater lake. Restored industrial buildings have been transformed into an intimate getaway in Tasmania’s World Heritage Wilderness. One of the best spots is by the fire in a communal lounge. No need for a TV screen here. Mother Nature in all her moods, provides your entertainment. Help yourself to a local red from the well-stocked bar operating on an honesty system and take a seat for the show.
Image – Stunning Fireplace Pumphouse Point: courtesy Pumphouse Point
5. WINGTONS GLAMPING
Think glamping and one doesn’t usually expect a tent to come with a fireplace. Well at Wingtons Glamping in the Tamar Valley, luxury bell tents are equipped with quaint little European wood fires. So this winter, huddle in close on the Persian style carpets, get the tunes moving through Bose speakers, grab a bottle from the ice-box and spend a few hours over a deck of cards. Just outside, metres from the river is your own private Baby Q Weber to cook up a Tassie feast while you figure out which cool climate vineyards are on tomorrow’s list.
Image – A tent and a fireplace!: Graham Kington and Nathaniel Wicks, Wingtons Glamping
6. RATHO FARM
This property dates back to 1822. It’s home to Australia’s oldest golf course, great trout fishing and is just an hour from Hobart. What’s special in winter though, is its roaring open fire in the original homestead. At Ratho Farm, sitting by the fire has a transformative feel, with much of the décor remaining in original style. Hearing homestead bushranger tales, one can easily be mesmerised by the flames and transported to another era. Hearty country meals at long shared tables and a single malt night-cap top off a night in restored, convict-built accommodation.
Image – Warm and cosy accommodation: Ratho Farm
7. AVALON COASTAL RETREAT
An open fire with water views across Great Oyster Bay. Now there’s a special combination. Nature’s fire and water. Avalon Coastal Retreat has floor heating too, so everything about this east coast stay is cosy during winter. There’s a handmade Huon pine tub and snuggly robes to slip on. What’s more, there’s room for more than one couple. The retreat can accommodate up to six. So gather your friends for a winter escape by the sea, strike a match and ignite one of Tasmania’s most picturesque open fires.
Image – Avalon Coastal Retreat: Tourism Tasmania & Brett Boardman