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Captain of My Own Boathouse at the Bicheno Hideaway

How do you imagine your oceanside holiday? Would you stay in a hut suspended over the sea or in a yurt perched high in the hills above unimaginably tall cliffs?

I would definitely be happy to stay in either of those options if I ever had the chance, but given my beach holiday was in Tasmania (and in winter too) it wasn’t likely to happen there. What I did find, though, was the Boathouse at Bicheno Hideaway. And you know what? I reckon it was every bit as good as a hut or a yurt would have been.

The Milky Way Over The Boathouse

How’s that for inviting?

My first reaction when stepping into our humble abode was that it looked exactly like the photos. It’s not often you can say that about anything when you’re travelling, as photos always seem to represent an idealised version rather than what you’ll actually see when you get there. In the boathouse, though, we walked into an arched living room, as spacious as any I’ve ever had, that was glowing orange from the crackling fire in the middle of the room. Having just stood out on the beach while strong winds whipped around us, that blazing fire was exactly what we needed.

The Living Room

The living room, complete with fire and more room than 4 of us could ever need. This was only half of it.

Had we not had a pretty busy itinerary planned for our time on the east coast, it easily would have been the perfect place to kick back and relax for a couple days. Not only could we all spread out as much as we wanted — between four of us we had three bathrooms and a bedroom to spare — but if we needed to get out of the house, we had our own patio that looked out on the wooded foreshore and had its very own soundtrack of waves breaking on the shore.

Looking Towards the Patio

Looking towards the patio and the shoreline from inside the Boathouse.

Barely 30 meters beyond that patio was our own private entrance to the beach. While it was a rocky beach and the water wasn’t exactly the right temperature for a dip in the ocean, it was still fantastic to be so close…especially since those rocks were covered in orange lichen and thus gave us our own little ‘Bay of Fires’ experience. Also, as a photographer, it makes it so much easier to get up and ready for a sunrise photoshoot when I know I literally just have to walk out the back door!

Bicheno By Morning

The sun pops up over the Tasman Sea on our first morning there.

This rocky beach also provided a backdrop for one of the most memorable moments of our trip. As soon as we got out of our car, we realised just how little ambient light there was around the Boathouse. Since we were outside of Bicheno (which isn’t exactly a metropolis, given its population is 853), the Boathouse seemed to be the only source of light in the area. Step away from that and onto the beach and you have absolutely perfect stargazing conditions.

Sunrise on the Rocks

The orange lichen-covered rocks that were scattered all along the beach at the Bicheno Hideaway.

From my experience, the sky rivalled only Lake Tekapo (which has been declared a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve for its consistently clear skies). The sheer number of stars above us was unbelievable. The Milky Way was clearly visible with the naked eye, and it was hard to pick out specific constellations because of the number of extra stars in them that we weren’t used to seeing.

Most mind-blowing of all, though, were the shooting stars. We could look at any section of the sky and within 30 second spot either a shooting star or a satellite flying across the sky. I was lucky enough to capture the biggest shooting star of the night in my first photo of the evening — and it was big enough to make all of us simultaneously point and yell, “WHOA!!!” Never have I seen a meteor looking quite so fiery and large.

Starstruck

The biggest shooting star of the night.

After sitting outside for so long — in the winter in Australia’s southernmost state — it was nice having a roaring fire waiting for us. I have to admit that I was a bit concerned about whether a house made of plywood could possibly retain its heat, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was certainly cool inside, but the combination of the fire and the space heaters in each room made it warm enough that, once I rugged up in thermals and crawled into my four-poster canopy bed, I was comfortable.

Four-Poster Bed

My canopy bed.

If I had to pick one thing that I didn’t enjoy about my trip, I’d have to say it was the resident rooster. I loved the fact that peacocks lived on the Bicheno Hideaway property — we even had one wander up our back stairs and sit on the porch with us for a while — but after the rooster crowed for 4 hours starting at 4.30am I just wanted to find him and shut him up! Luckily it meant that I was well and truly awake so I didn’t miss the sunrise over the ocean.

Bedroom View

The view from my bedroom — it even had a glimpse of ocean.

If you’re planning on heading down the east coast of Tasmania, I highly recommend spending a day (or three) at the Boathouse at the Bicheno Hideaway. Nick and Arabella, while on an overseas holiday during our stay, made sure that everything was ready for us and were very friendly when we spoke over the telephone.

Also, since Bicheno is a bit further away from Coles Bay and the Freycinet Peninsula (45 mins drive), it was a much better deal, and we loved having our own little slice of coastline. Staying there really was a highlight of our trip — and it’s not often I say that! 

The Bicheno Hideaway is open year-round. The Boathouse costs $180/night in the winter for 2 people ($35pp extra) and $200/night ($35pp extra) in the summer. In the summer peak season there is a minimum stay of three nights.

6 Responses to Captain of My Own Boathouse at the Bicheno Hideaway

  1. Saskia August 16, 2014 at 10:54 am Reply

    Looks amazing! Adding this to my list of places I want to stay :)

    • Kristin August 17, 2014 at 11:44 am Reply

      I definitely recommend it Saskia! It was such a nice relaxing spot to stay. Hope you (and the bub) have been doing well!

  2. Katie @ Second-Hand Hedgehog August 16, 2014 at 6:44 pm Reply

    This is amazing! Such a cozy, comfortable-looking place to stay. And great that it’s so near the beach, too.

    And I know exactly what you mean about the skies at Bicheno. We went in the autumn, and just sat on the beach for hours watching the best meteor shower I have ever seen. Absolutely incredible. Did you visit the Bicheno blowhole?

    • Kristin August 17, 2014 at 11:45 am Reply

      Yeah Katie, I loved how close it was to the beach. Just the icing on the cake really! That’s amazing that you got to watch a meteor shower in Bicheno. One of the best places in the world to watch one I reckon! It would have been such an incredible experience.

      As for the blowhole, we went there on the morning we left. A storm was coming in so there were some pretty impressive waves funnelling through it! What did you think of it?

  3. Freya August 17, 2014 at 8:17 am Reply

    WoW that’s amazing ! Great price as well for such a luxury place.
    I would love to stay there for a few days and just relax.
    That photo of the shooting star is spectacular, great shot

    • Kristin August 17, 2014 at 11:47 am Reply

      Yeah I was quite amazed by the price Freya — it was a really good deal, especially if you got a few more people in there as well. It’s definitely on my to-do list to just go there and kick back for a few days. It would be a great place to just sit and get some writing done too.

      Thanks for the comment on the shooting star shot — I felt so lucky to get that since it really was the first shot I took. I didn’t set up my camera for quite a while when we first got down there since I just wanted to sit and enjoy the stars for a while.

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My Travel Bucket List

  • Go to South America for long enough that I learn Spanish properly!
  • Walk the Inca Trail
  • Finish the Three Peaks Challenge
  • Hike/boat all 9 of NZ's 'Great Walks'
  • Go hot air ballooning
  • New Year's Eve on Sydney Harbour
  • Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro
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