A four-day trekking trip in Tasmania is full of cold comfort and warm luxury, writes Lisa Martin.
Like an All Black recovering from a gruelling match, I traipse into the icy Tasmanian surf.
I'm usually a big sook when it comes to swimming, sans wetsuit, in chilly water. But not today.
After a delightful afternoon trekking along the far north-eastern coast of Tasmania in the Mt William National Park, I've jumped on the cold-water therapy bandwagon. It's invigorating on weary muscles and after the initial temperature shock, a glorious numbness sets in and I feel very alive.
Science says a cold-water dip is good for the immune system. It's also great for the soul.
Before too long, it's time to dry off and put the hiking boots back on as we finish the last leg of our 9km for the day.
Our Tasmanian Walking Company guides lead us to our glamour-camping headquarters for the evening.
Tasmanian Holm Oak pinot gris and a cheese platter hit the spot on arrival.
As well as being knowledgeable about the ecology of coastal wattle, local history and identifying Tasmanian devil poop, our guides are whizzes in the kitchen. They whip up a feast of Thai noodle salad and barbecued salmon with fresh local produce.
The next day, we set off on the final 14km leg.
Along the way we see Tasmanian pademelons and Bennett's wallabies munching on grass.
The pink granite Eddystone Point Lighthouse marks the halfway point and our lunchtime swim spot as well as the start of the Bay of Fires.
Orange lichen makes the rocks and boulders look as if they've had the Jackson Pollock splatter-paint treatment.
The Bay of Fires four-day lodge walk is a perfect family holiday for baby-boomer parents and their adult children.
On my tour, a Brisbane couple are using the trek to celebrate their folks' 60th birthdays and enjoy some family bonding.
The bay's name refers to Aboriginal fires English explorer Captain Tobias Furneaux saw as he sailed past in 1773. Today, we enjoy walking barefoot along a white sandy beach and a few final rocky hills, before closing in on the architecturally designed, wooden Bay of Fires Lodge.
It's a steep climb to get there. But it's worth it — our lodge host greets us with epsom-salt foot spas, James Boag beers and canapes before a dinner of gourmet laksa deliciousness and an elaborate pannacotta dessert.
On day three, after a cooked breakfast of chargrilled mushrooms and scrambled eggs, we set out on a short forest walk.
Banksia trees shaped like candelabras dot the track as we head to Ansons River for a spot of leisurely kayaking.
My boat buddy and I lag behind the others because we keep getting distracted admiring pelicans.
And just when we thought marshmallow toasting on the fireplace would cap off the evening — an epic lightning storm brews and puts any fireworks display to shame.
flies from Auckland to Hobart, via Melbourne, with return Economy Class fares from $770.
The Bay of Fires is on the north-east coast of Tasmania, north of St Helens. The Mt William National Park is a 2.5-hour drive and the Bay of Fires is a three-hour drive from Launceston.
Tasmanian Walking Company's four-day Bay of Fires Lodge Walks depart daily. A moderate level of fitness is required, but if you regularly exercise and are capable of walking between nine and 14km for the first two days you'll be fine.
After all that walking, soothe your aches with a Kodo massage inspired by traditional Aboriginal techniques, complete with an indigenous smoking ceremony or a Tasmanian peat mud bath at the Bay of Fires Lodge spa.