Great way to enjoy sublime scenery

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A FORMER Hydro art-deco building, which will soon house the state's latest eco-tourism development, Pumphouse Point, is arguably situated in one of the most scenic locations for accommodation in Tasmania.

It's a photographer's paradise, a wilderness junkie's raison d'etre, and will most surely provide a place of natural relaxation for visitors who enter its grand interiors.

The pumphouse sits at the end of a 230-metre flume, surrounded by the waters of Lake St Clair, within the National Park and World Heritage Area.

Tourism entrepreneur Simon Currant, who first indicated a desire to develop an eco-tourism lodge at the site in the early 1990s, said Tasmania was lucky to be finally getting this $9 million development.

Mr Currant said the ``bed and breakfast'' accommodation, contrary to public opinion, would be accessible to most, with a $280-a-night starting point.

Then  there are the higher-priced rooms and added experiences.

Mr Currant is quick to point out that although it will have a five-star rating, it does not aim to be the new Saffire.

He said Pumphouse Point  would focus on the natural experiences to be had inside the World Heritage area, where the luxurious rooms would provide a base from which visitors could immerse themselves in the environment, if they so chose.

The future vision for the large,   light-drenched heritage  industrial building is explained by Mr Currant.

Even in its current state, serving as a home for swallows with marked walls and a layer of dust, the potential is evident.

``The whole premise is that whatever is out there is more important than what is in here, but this is the vehicle to provide guests with what they need,'' Mr Currant said.

``It is really about what we can deliver outside - the walking, the fishing  and everything else.''

Mr Currant said there would be 18 rooms in total: 12 in the pumphouse and another six in an industrial building renamed the Lake House.

The pumphouse suites will have ceiling-to-floor water view windows, a king-sized bed, an ensuite  and a larder stocked with Tasmanian foods. They will be built across three levels, accessed by stairs or a lift, with the higher-end rooms at the top. 

Two common areas that overlook the lake will be equipped with an unmanned bar, lounge area and woodheater.

A sectioned glass floor will reveal an industrial space below, where lake waters rise and fall, and the pumphouse turbines still remain underneath.

Breakfast and dinner will be served at the Lake House, where meals will be prepared in a module kitchen, influenced by head chefs from the North and South, including Scott Heffernan from Smolt Restaurant  in Hobart.

Mr Currant said there would be between 12 and 15 multi-skilled staff.

 All water for guests would  be treated, and all sewage would be taken away from the site and treated.

Construction  is expected to begin in two months, with its completion scheduled for November  and the site to be open by Christmas.

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