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Nature boys


Honeymoon: Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge


Words: Damien Woolnough


31th August 2018

Mini-honeymoons are growing in popularity as gay grooms defer grand getaways until after they’ve recovered from the pressures of tying the knot.

The Peppers resort at Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain, Cradle Mountain Lodge, fits the bill for those looking to relax, recharge and retire early to bed for nuptial bliss.

The winding road up the state’s fifth highest mountain gives few hints of the unique beauty at the top as you pass through cleared Pine forests, expanses of copper-coloured rock and shrubby plains. As the road levels out on the top and you turn into the lodge’s driveway a group performing paparazzi tactics on a wombat hints at the areas natural attractions.

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Originally built in 1970 with a main lodge and seven simple rooms, the property has progressed through a number of owners, evolving into a natural resort with a bar, restaurant and 86 private on-site cabins.

We checked into one of the King Billy Suites, a short walk away from the main lodge. The expansive room is divided by a central stone fireplace, pre-loaded with kindling and firestarters, for those who didn’t spend their childhood rubbing sticks together at Boy Scouts.

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Walking to a massage counts as exercise.

A kitchenette contains the essentials, with a coffee machine and fortifying port, while the bathroom and dressing area rival the bedroom for size. Floor-to-ceiling windows bring the outdoors inside but some careful landscaping saves any bedroom gymnastics from prying eyes (Pademelons don’t count).

We decided to postpone enjoying one of the many hikes from the Lodge to try the on-site Waldheim Alpine Spa, for a couples massage. The stress of the drive had taken its toll and surely it’s better to be relaxed before you’re confronted by a Tasmanian Devil on your morning walk.

Is it terrible to say that after 15 minutes of gentle kneading I forgot that my partner was being pummelled at the next table as I abandoned any ideas of romance for complete self-indulgence? The luxe spa with an emphasis on natural timbers and light banished stress along with niggling knot in my left shoulder blade.

An hour of physical recalibration had us more than ready to embark on the Dove Canyon Track but the smells from the Highland Restaurant with its focus on paddock to plate dishes was too tempting.

"Suddenly the five-minute stroll back to our cabin seemed like a grand expedition."

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Beside a gigantic fire ignited by someone who payed attention at Girl Guides or Boy Scouts we waited for our pan-fried scallops with black pudding, beef fillet with sweet onion paint, horseradish mash, melted spinach and bone marrow gratin. The wine list delivered a bottle of Josef Chromy Pinot Noir and all thoughts of hiking evaporated, joining the incredible smells from the fortifying dishes.

Suddenly the five-minute stroll back to our cabin seemed like a grand expedition. Fortunately, we survived, arriving back to the cabin in time to stoke the glowing embers of the fire and turn the heat up.

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Waking up the next morning, with light streaming through the windows, we were determined to finally tackle one of the hikes and put our carefully packed Moncler gear to good use. The site of snow canvassing the region put the idea on hold. This wasn’t a light Jack Frost smattering but full-on Frozen goodness.

The walk could wait, again. Sometimes getting back to nature can just mean stripping off and taking in the surrounds from an outdoor hot tub.

Visit Cradle Mountain Lodge.

 

Editor Damien Woolnough abandoning exercise.

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