The rugged, raw beauty of Tasmania’s eastern coast has a way of pulling focus. It’s arresting, commanding – both a whisper and a roar. “Be here, be now; be still.”
Placid, turquoise coves are interspersed with surf-pounded rocky bays, the iconic granite formations and ancient forest of Freycinet National Park keeping sentry over it all. The Tasman Sea’s notably tempestuous mood goes from calm to peripatetic in an instant.
But it’s not all wilderness. Only a short distance from the perfect parabola of Wineglass Bay, East Coast Tasmania’s iconic food experiences and wineries carve out a reputation that goes far beyond its shores.
For Kim Forge, the impassioned owner – herself a force of nature – behind Still at Freycinet, the landscape represents rebirth. A place of reset, revitalisation and calm.
Perched on the edge of Sandpiper Beach, the mountainous shards of The Hazards’ shadowing the horizon, Still at Freycinet is a love letter. The three-bedroom, minimalist Nordic house is also the culmination of Kim’s 20-year entanglement with Tasmania’s wild spirit, the landscape and its resilient, generous-hearted people.
Leaving behind the fields of her family’s farm in Canada in 2001, the newly graduated teacher and recent divorcee travelled to Hobart with her son in tow for a year-long exchange. Kim sought purpose, meaning and “a getaway from where I grew up and [to] really reset and figure out what it is I like to do”. She discovered far more than that. (In fact, it was a separate and serendipitous adventure to Victoria a while later that Kim met her now husband, fifth-generation farmer Rod Forge.)
“When you’re on a teaching exchange, the philosophy is that you’re there for a good time, not a long time [so] it was never my intention of moving to Australia, ever,” Kim remembers. “I was experiencing Australia for the first time, Tasmania in particular, and learning more about myself,” Kim recalls. “I went up to Coles Bay quite a bit, probably once a month.”
A life-changing scallop pie (“it was one of the best things that I’ve ever eaten in my life”) and “the beauty of the area; the ruggedness, the pristine, untouched kind of convict [era] feel,” cemented Coles Bay as a special place for Kim. So much so, that purchasing the property “sight unseen” close to 20 years later during COVID was a no-brainer. Well, for Kim at least.
“When we got to see it for the first time, my husband had this sinking feeling, but I had a big smile on my face. He goes, ‘Oh, Kim, this needs a lot of work’. And I went, ‘yeah, it does, but it’s got unbelievable potential’,” Kim recounts. “I’m the glass half full person always,” she laughs.
Prior to that first sighting, Kim, locked away in rural Victoria unable to travel thanks to the pandemic, began planning with verve. By the time they met architect Jennifer Binns onsite six months later, Kim’s brief – and the story of Still – was solid.
Part of that story is Kim’s strong affinity with hygge – the Danish life philosophy that celebrates the joy and contentment found in simplicity and cosiness – drawn from years of travel to Scandinavia for leisure and as a professional curler. Everything from design choices to the inclusion of a sauna was guided by the twin principles of hygge and sustainability.
Keeping the original footprint, harvesting stormwater and opting for passive design strategies, clever choices were made to maximise the block’s positive attributes while addressing challenges like a lack of mains water. The sauna, for example, plays to Kim’s most memorable experience on a training camp in Finland while also saving and recycling the precious harvested stormwater.
The result is a Scandi minimalist dream. Stepping through from the entryway, the bold, architectural lines of Huon-pine feature walls give way to a raked timber ceiling (“the wood blows me away,” Kim says).
The soaring sense of immersion in this wild landscape hits immediately at this Tasmania luxury accommodation – with floor-to-ceiling windows bounding the open-plan living areas and overlooking Coles Bay – underlined by cosy intentionality. Conscious interiors mirror and mimic the geological shapes – undulating dunes, craggy peaks of mountain ranges – and the muted tones of a moody ocean and sunset-washed skies.
“Almost everything was purchased from Tasmanian businesses to promote local economic sustainability,” Kim explains of her process. “It really is all about showcasing Tasmanian products and craftsmanship. Textures were also important to me – having things you wanted to touch: real, rigid and raw.”
The same hygge-led, handpicked approach is applied throughout: underfloor heating; a signature scent (developed with Rewild Co.); a sauna pack with nuts, Tassie cider, chocolate and essential oils; bath salts for soaking in the master’s charcoal bath; and in-house yoga and massages.
There’s a guest book on an iPad brimming with local recommendations and a curated playlist ready to go. If you’d prefer a more personal touch, Still at Freycinet’s local host, Kendra (ex-Saffire Freycinet), is on call 24-7. In fact, it feels like moving into your very own health spa with space for 10 of your closest people.
Swaddled within privacy and exclusivity afforded by the remote nature of Still, venturing out needn’t be necessary.
Breakfast hampers, access to pop-up picnics, heat-and-eat meals and charcuterie boards, and bespoke degustation-style dinners by local chef Chris Lucas from What Grows are all on offer for a stay here.
Utilising seasonal produce and the fruits of his own garden (with the occasional ingredient from Still’s veggie patch), Chris “creates this meal and you come in and you get a two-hour experience,” says Kim. “He cleans up, he explains the food, matches it with the wines. Now people are booking specifically for him too, because no meal is the same.”
These kinds of experiences may sound simple but epitomise the life-affirming luxury of hygge. It’s a lesson this landscape first gave her over 20 years ago, only solidified by a succession of full circle moments and a rich existence.
“The real luxury for us is the luxury of time,” says Kim. Stillness, she believes, means the power to be self-aware and motionless: “In my mind, it means being able to think without distraction. To figure out what’s really important to you.”
Book your stay at Still at Freycinet here.