When my mum offered to stay with our kids for a weekend so my husband and I could have a weekend alone, I knew we would have to do something special. I asked around and one name kept popping up, Pumphouse Point.
I took a look online and sure enough this looked like exactly the type of place I wanted us to go.
Perched on the edge of Lake St Clair within the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park, everything is glacial lake and forest views. It seemed like the perfect way to feel like we had gotten away from everything. There is an extra plus though. Not only is Pumphouse Point Hotel located in a unique setting that looked gorgeous, but it’s somewhere different that’s described as an “adults-only retreat”. What could be better for an adult weekend?
I also liked how simple the stay seemed with breakfast and dinner included and an easy way to access lunch. The activities were simply enjoying nature with some tools included to help with this. We booked, and I could not wait.
So did it all stack up? Is it worth the higher-than-usual accommodation cost? Below, you will find our full Pumphouse Point review including what the rooms are like, what facilities exist, what you get to eat and where you can find the Pumphouse Point Lake St Clair.
Pumphouse Point Review
Pumphouse Point Tasmania Location
The first place to start is the location as it’s what makes the Pumphouse Point Tasmania so special. It’s not just by the lake, but on the lake. Read more about this in the rooms section below!
You can find Pumphouse Point, Lake St Clair, Tas at 1 Lake St Clair Road.
Note your phone might not work here so make sure you know where you are going – however, the upside is that there isn’t much else out here so it’s hard to miss it. I had zero coverage with Vodafone and hubby had access sometimes with Optus – no problems within the Pumphouse but it did not work in the Shorehouse.
If you are travelling Pumphouse Point to Hobart or Hobart to Pumphouse Point, The journey takes about 2.5 hours.
From Hobart, drive up the Brooker Highway and Derwent River to New Norfolk. From here, keep following the A10. At Derwent Bridge, you’ll make a left turn on the C193 to Lake St Clair. There are signs to the Pumphouse Point Hotel Tasmania and you really can’t miss it.
Only the very last section of the road into the hotel is unsealed.
Check-In At The Pumphouse Hotel
When we visited in late 2020, check-in was from 11am to 6pm with a later check-in possible. Since we couldn’t leave our kids any earlier, we knew we would arrive just after 6pm and were told to come straight to the restaurant to check-in on arrival. They were waiting for us and quickly got us to our room so we could be back in time for dinner at 6:30pm.
Before our visit, we were given the code for the gate so we would be able to enter the property on arrival with our car.
Note that since this hotel is within a national park, you do need a National Park pass which you can buy from the Pumphouse Hotel Tasmania if necessary.
Pumphouse Point Rooms
The hotel consists of eighteen rooms within two heritage buildings which once operated as a hydro-electric station. They are called The Shorehouse which is next to the lake and The Pumphouse which is over the water on the lake itself.
Within each building, there are a range of room types and prices which can vary by a fair bit. All rooms have views, but note the cheapest ones are not of the lake.
In the Pumphouse, there are three levels with slightly different room types on each level. While they say the best is at the top (I would question this after our stay), any room here is great with water views.
In the Shorehouse, there are rooms with lake or bush views. These rooms are cheaper with the bonus of being close to the dining room.
Finally, on land there is also The Retreat which is a big private suite with lake views, more privacy and more included extras on offer.
With only eighteen rooms across the entire hotel, there are not many rooms of each type so if you have a strong preference, it’s important to book far in advance. All rooms are about connecting with the wilderness, so there isn’t art or netflix and the rooms are built around the views. There is a minimalism to them which works well.
We were coming here to experience something unique and different so there was no way we weren’t staying in the Pumphouse on the lake. Note this does require a short walk across a jetty as pictured. It always seemed to be windy on this walk.
Our Pumphouse Top Floor Room
This room makes great use of the space having a bedroom, bathroom, lounge and a kitchenette area in a relatively small space.
On entry into the room, you are in the sunken living area with couch and coffee table. To our right was the kitchenette which cleverly can be closed behind cupboard doors.
In here are two fridges, one with drinks and one with their larder of food to purchase. There is a microwave, kettle, coffee machines and some basic cutlery, crockery and gear so that you can make and/or eat lunch in your room from your larder.
It’s a good set up with everything you need while keeping the area minimal. I have never seen such a well stocked mini bar, although it did have less options than I expected given this is for multiple meals. I would get sick of it after a couple of days.
On the other side of the sunken lounge is a king size bed with two small bedside tables and a TV on the wall. There is also a weirdly positioned shelf above the bed which stops you from being able to sit up in bed. It’s very easy to knock your head on this.
Finally, there is the bathroom which may be the highlight of the room with great views across to the shorehouse. This is definitely a toilet with a view! There is a shower as well.
Unfortunately, it’s quite easy to see into this bathroom when walking across to the pumphouse (it’s the top left hand window in photos) so you may not want to enjoy the view while using the facilities 🙂
Note the shower has a glass wall between that and the bedroom so this may be awkward if you are staying with someone who isn’t a romantic partner. Annoyingly, it has a curtain in the bathroom which opens up the wrong way round meaning you are squishing past the toilet to get in and out.
There is a heater in the living area and under floor heating in the bathroom. As someone who feels the cold, I wished the room could get a little warmer.
There are some extras in this room like some books and binoculars. There’s also a backpack with picnic gear and ponchos in it making it easy to pack a picnic and go off hiking for the day.
One of the fridges also had containers in it you could use to pack snacks or a lunch.
The room is very comfortable, clean and modern. However, a complaint is that there is only a very small skinny cupboard to put your things. It’s really only hanging space. So there wasn’t really anywhere to put the small backpacks we brought and our clothes which made things a bit messy.
My bigger problem with the room is that the windows are smaller than I imagined and, unfortunately, the room isn’t laid out to take full advantage of them. Only the person lying on the window side of the bed can see out of the bedroom window and there is only a great view out of the living room window from one side of the couch.
The views are great when you have them, but given this is one of the most expensive rooms in the complex, I expected better views from within the room.
I would definitely book the middle level of the Pumphouse next time. There are floor to ceiling windows in these rooms and I wonder why they are cheaper than the top floor rooms. Talking to people who had these rooms, they loved the views.
Despite my small criticisms, this room is amazing and I don’t know how you could not enjoy a stay here.
In addition to the dining discussed below, there are communal lounges in each building as well as honesty bars and wood fires where you can hang out.
The honesty bars are basically very well stocked bar areas where you can take what you want as long as you write down what you are taking to be charged on check out.
In the Pumphouse, there is a big lounge area with honesty bar on the ground floor with great views and a fire. There are games and books. On the second level there is another lounge area with a third sitting area between levels 2 and 3 with games as well.
The Shorehouse also has a huge lounge area where guests gather for pre-dinner drinks nightly. You can also use the rooms at other times. There are many sitting areas, books, games and an honesty bar.
There are e-bikes you can borrow or boats. These are included. It’s easy to grab one, create a picnic with the supplies in your room and head off for a fun day.
The boats are in a particularly scenic area on the opposite side of the peninsula to the Pumphouse.
There’s information about fishing and bushwalking with many walks in the area including a range of shorter walks recommend from the hotel.
We walked to the Lake St Clair Visitor Centre which took us about an hour and then did a short walk from there before walking back to Pumphouse Point. It was a great morning.
You can also pre-book a massage in a private studio. Unfortunately, these are only offered on a single basis – it’s a shame they can’t do double ones in your room.
Pumphouse Point Hotel Dining
Dinner and breakfast are included every day in the Shorehouse dining room.
Breakfast is from 7:30-9:30 and we had to commit to a time in the evenings as they needed to spread people out due to covid restrictions.
Breakfast is a continental buffet with breads, toasters, ham, cheese, bacon, baked beans, granola, yoghurt, small croissants and Danishes, juice and coffee.
It’s not a very big range but it all tasted great.
For lunch, fresh bread can be ordered at any time for free and you can use the extensive minibar in your room to get items to go with it.
Starting in 2021, this mini bar will be included and not at extra charge which I think is a good idea. Most food items in it were around $10 when we stayed.
The visitor centre at Lake St Clair also has lunch available.
Dinner is from 6:30pm after a pre-dinner drink being available from 6pm. Dinner is a set 3-4 course meal and you sit at group dining tables – there were three groups of two at each table.
This worked quite well and we enjoyed talking to the other guests. Although part of me did find it a bit annoying as dinner was served over a long period of a couple of hours. As people who rarely get time away from the kids, I would have liked the option to just eat with my husband or at least to have eaten faster.
Still, the meals are great. There is no choice of what you get so make sure you do let them know in advance of any dietary requirements.
Our first night was soup and bread, beef brisket with some vegetables and a delicious chocolate tart.
The second night we had an empanada for entrée, a gourmet BBQ mixed platter for the main (fantastic although my chicken was a bit pink), baked cheesecake for dessert and then a small cheese and chocolate platter.
The food is simple but well done with good use of local ingredients. It was always more food than I could eat.
There is also an honesty bar in the dining area. There are bottles of wines, spirits and beers. Note that you can only buy wine by the bottle but you can take it with you for later.
If I have one complaint about this hotel, it’s that there is no flexibility with dinner time. We nearly didn’t stay here because we couldn’t have dinner a half hour later when we didn’t think we would be able to make it to Lake St Clair by 6:30pm. Given the high Pumphouse Point rates (which I think are deserved otherwise), I don’t know why there couldn’t be some way to heat up our dinner or some alternative left out for us beyond having to pay for snacks in our room.
This especially didn’t make sense to me after staying here as dinner takes such a long time… a half hour later I doubt everyone even had their entrée yet.
Pumphouse Point is truly in a class of its own. Its unique location, buildings and set up make for a unique experience which is unmatched.
We very much enjoyed our stay here. As parents who rarely have a break from day-to-day life, this place was absolutely perfect for us to relax and reconnect. I’m sure it would be perfect for anyone, particularly couples, who want some quality time together and in nature.
The food, the rooms, the understated elegance surrounded by such beautiful scenery is just amazing.
If you want an experience you won’t forget, definitely come stay at Pumphouse Point.
I hope you found these Pumphouse Point reviews useful. Looking for more information for your stay? Find all our full travel guides to Tasmania’s Central Highlands here.
Sharon grew up in Tasmania, moved away and then came back with her family twenty years later. She loves re-discovering her home state and sharing it with you here.