Adam Gibson
Adam Gibson
Travel Tip

7 Open Air Baths To Soak Up Starry Skies

Alice Hansen
​When's the last time you soaked in an outdoor tub? If your answer is never, you’re missing out on one of winter’s greatest pleasures. Envelop yourself in steamy water while the night breeze lightly brushes your cheeks. It’s pure island air meets deep indulgence. Leave the book behind, your bath comes with a view. Pour a wine, sink into your bath and watch the kaleidoscope of colour as the sun goes down – Tassie’s winter skies are surprisingly clear. Here’s the rundown on Tassie’s most indulgent outdoor baths.

1. The Retreat

Heard of The Retreat? It’s Pumphouse Point’s latest addition to its wild collection of luxurious lakeside stays. Hidden on the edge of the lake and hugged by bush, from the outside its almost invisible, yet from the inside floor-to-ceiling glass delivers the full Pumphouse view. Stay tucked away in the retreat or walk to The Pumphouse where a good red awaits you at the honesty bar. Sink into a deep chair and let the ancient mountains and flames from the fire provide the show. Come dinner, sit down to the shared table in The Shorehouse. Local produce aside, everything is shared here: tips about local walking tracks, where to pick up a fly fishing guide, the best place to swing a leg over a mountain bike or where to push off a dinghy from the lake shore. Don’t worry, you don’t have to share the location of your secluded open-air tub, you can keep that all to yourself.

outdoor bath at The Retreat Pumphouse Point in central Tasmania
Adam Gibson
The Retreat Pumphouse Point

2. Porky Beach Retreat

This King Island outdoor tub is perched high on the dunes of a private beach facing the wild Southern Ocean away from any ‘goings on’ in the main settlement of Currie – which is almost next to none in this laid-back town. With a population of just 700, Currie is small on hustle and bustle and big on friendly faces and fresh produce. Unlike some remote islands that stock canned food and long-life milk, you can expect a shopping list of cheese, beef, yoghurt, crayfish, abalone and locally bottled spring water. Fly away to island time with a King Island winter escape.

a woman in an outdoor bath at sunset overlooking the ocean
Porky Beach Retreat

3. Freycinet Lodge’s Coastal Pavilions

Taking a dip in the crystal clear water of Freycinet National Park to cool down is a must-do in Tasmania during summer, and now there’s a spot in the park to take a dip and warm up in winter. The new environmentally-friendly cluster of Coastal Pavilions are built away from the main lodge, hidden in the bush beside Great Oyster Bay. Each pavilion is custom-fitted to the landscape – some taking in big skies and sweeping coastal views, others tucked away in the bush with passing wallabies and perched kookaburras. The outdoor baths are embedded on the deck overlooking the views.

outdoor bath in front of new pod accommodation at Freycinet Lodge
Alastair Bett (photographer) Liminal Architecture (architect)
Freycinet Lodge’s Coastal Pavilions

4. Hatherley Birrell Collection

Climb into a deep stone bath carved from volcanic stone next to a 150 year old Magnolia tree. The Magnolia Garden Pavilion in Launceston’s heart has views across a heritage garden, and a soak in this bath is pure urban relaxation. As with the full Hatherley Birrell Collection, this modern pavilion is dressed with art. There’s also a moon window so be sure to look up. The roof form takes its inspiration from origami.

outdoor stone bath
Rob Burnett
Magnolia Garden Pavilion - Hatherley Birrell Collection

5. Thalia Haven

You might have seen this coastal bathtub. It’s become rather an iconic tub – a selfie must – whether there’s water in the tub or not. The reason? Its location on Tasmania’s east coast is stunning. Fill the tub to the brim and hop in. There’ll be nothing between you and the lapping waves of Great Oyster Bay. What’s more, it’s coupled with a wood-fired sauna. If this isn’t enough, there’s  5 km of coastline to explore, including your own secluded beach.

a woman in outdoor bath holding a glass of red wine overlooking the ocean
Adam Gibson
Thalia Haven

6. King Billy Spa

Opt for the King Billy Suite at Cradle Mountain Lodge. A double-sided fireplace, complimentary port and that’s right, your own private outdoor tub. The deep luxurious barrel bath sits out on the deck with views across the gnarled, rugged wilderness. Hop in at dusk and you just might have the company of wallabies and other nocturnal mates. Perched on the edge of Cradle Mountain Lake-St Clair National Park, you don’t have far to go for tomorrow’s adventure.

a woman in an outdoor bath at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge
Michael Walters Photography
King Billy Suite at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge

7. Rocky Hills Retreat

Rocky Hills is a secluded retreat not far from Swansea. This ‘couples’ hideaway has a craftsman-built outdoor bath. Made of Huon pine, it’s the best place to sip your pinot as the sun sinks. Keep in mind it takes about half an hour to fill, so turn the taps on early. The entire 250 acre private bushland is all yours. Privacy is only interrupted by the casual appearance of an owl or possum. There’s also a gorgeous art studio where you can lose a wintry afternoon painting, sketching, sculpting or sitting with a good book.

external of accommodation at night
Brett Boardman
Rocky Hills Retreat

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