Incongruous features make a new Tasmanian retreat unique, writes Andrew Drummond.
The unforgiving terrain and climate of central Tasmania was once reserved for only the most hardened fishermen, the most adventurous bush walkers, or labourers with no other employment prospects.
Now a World Heritage-listed wilderness area, Lake St Clair is home to a new wilderness retreat that opened this year.
Perched atop the Southern Hemisphere's deepest lake at the end of a long narrow pier sits the forlorn-looking Pumphouse Point.
The five-storey pump house was built in the 1940s by Tasmania's Hydro Electricity Scheme, and designed to draw water from the plentiful lake and channel it downstream in times of need for the irrigation of agricultural land.
"It was never used," said developer Simon Currant of the pump house, which was fired up twice a year for maintenance purposes until its official decommissioning in 1995.
The brains behind other world-famous Tasmanian accommodation properties (including nearby Cradle Mountain Lodge), Currant immediately saw potential in the well-built, but ageing, art deco pump house and nearby maintenance building.
And after 18 years of battling state, national and global planning and heritage authorities, he secured a 45-year lease for the Tasmanian Government-owned property.
Once the asbestos roof was removed, Currant and his team spent A$5 million ($5.6 million) to create 18 guest rooms.
The glass bricks remain, along with delightful period features including laced ceilings and rounded pressed-steel stair railings.
Most rooms capture an impressive view over the clear, calm, trout-filled fresh water and further towards densely forested peaks - some of the tallest in the state.
Turn on the tap in a guest en suite and the water is piped directly from a couple of hundred metres below the lake surface.
Pumphouse Point is comfortable. But comfortably rustic. There's no air-conditioning. The driveway isn't sealed.
"I don't care if there are a few potholes. I want people to realise where they are," Currant says. "It's a different offering - not boutique - it's more about outside than in. Part of this development is about making no apology for what it is and letting people see it for what it is."
Guests have the use of row boats for a jaunt on the water and can try their luck at fishing.
But if the effort sounds too great, each room has a larder stocked with Tasmanian food and wine. For a more social experience, head to the dining room in the lake house and choose from the a la carte menu.
Getting there: Lake St Clair is about a 2.5-hour drive northwest of Hobart. You can also travel by seaplane, which provides a spectacular bird's-eye view of Pumphouse Point.
The writer travelled courtesy of Tasmanian Air Adventures and Pumphouse Point.