WANDERLUST: ROCKY HILLS RETREAT IN TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA

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Dusk disappeared into night quickly. The elegant light from the rising moon reflected over the ocean and the water looked like it was dusted with millions of glistening diamonds. Turning off the road onto a quietly marked rocky driveway, we drove slowly up a steep hill and were careful not to frighten families of kangaroos casually milling around. Up and up we continued to drive through the dense Australia bush. Shadows from the headlights of our car cast eerie shapes over the trees and shrubs whirling in the wind. After a bumpy two-kilometre drive we finally reached our destination - Rocky Hills Retreat in Swansea, Tasmania.

Shining the headlights onto the retreat, it was difficult to get an understanding and appreciation of the bush and beauty around us. However I knew we were going to be in for a surprise the following morning.

Rocky Hills is located on a hill overlooking the valley out to Maria Island. A modern retreat, it sleeps two people and has a fully equipped art studio, only a short walk from the main building. There is a huge bathroom with a skylight to watch the treetops whilst in the shower, and a huge outdoor huon pine bath on the southern deck - ideal for bird gazing and possum watching whilst the cool wind rustles up the leaves in the trees above.

Back inside, glass windows surround the open planning space across three sides of the building. The retreat is divided up into three spaces; a state of the art kitchen and dining table for six people, the living room with a wood fire, opulent couches and a mini library, and the bedroom and bathroom with a wardrobe, dressing gowns, luxury toiletries, hair dryer, fluffy towels, hot water bottles and foot spa products.

Part of the service includes gourmet breakfast provisions from local growers and farmers. This is stocked and ready for the number of days you are staying at the retreat. And honestly, there really is nothing better than waking up to a fridge stocked with farm fresh eggs, sausages, bacon, various cereals, fresh fruit, milk, cheese, bread, condiments and more.

There is a barbeque for entertaining and three decks to enjoy the panoramic views. For those looking to connect with technology, there is a TV, DVD player, DVDs and an iPod deck. There is also complimentary Wi-Fi, binoculars, raincoats, hats, gloves, a washing machine and dryer.

The property is situated on 250 hectares of scrubby Australian bush and wildlife, offering seclusion, privacy and discretion at all times, and best of all a host meets you on arrival to show you the ins and outs of the retreat.

The following morning, we were woken up by the sound of birds softly calling out to each other. Sitting up in the cloud like king sized bed I was immediately awarded with a vista of impossible beauty. Hundreds of gum trees and eucalyptus trees dominated my view. Directly in front of me I saw the huon bath so I quickly jumped out of bed, ran outside to the bath and turned the tap on. After an hour, the bath was full and the bubbles were aplenty. Sitting in the warm bath, reflecting on the view around me, I couldn’t help but think I had found paradise in Tasmania. Perfect, huh?

TRIP NOTES Rocky Hills Retreat 11901 Tasman Highway Rocky Hills, Swansea Tasmania 7190 Ph: +61 428 250 399 www.avalonretreats.com.au