Yes, it’s a sauna, almost in the middle of nowhere, on private property, available for use by anyone and with payment by donation! I heard about the Tasmanian bush sauna much earlier this year and was excited to finally see it for myself.
Stormlea Road on the Tasman Peninsula is the route you take to reach the Cape Raoul Walking Track. At the road’s end, there’s a paddock adjacent to the carpark where a private property accepts campers for $5/night and freely provides amenities in a generous gesture designed to preserve pristine condition of this part of the south Tasmanian wilderness.
Stormlea Road ends in a carpark that marks the start of the Cape Raoul Walking Track, and Cape Raoul Retreat is the well-signed private property just off to the side.
Andy is the owner of Raoul Bay Retreat which also offers bed-and-breakfast accommodation and a self-contained cottage for $130/night. He’s built all the buildings on the property himself, fashioning bricks on-site for the main house. He has a knack for beautifully finishing his work, and when I went up to the house to buy honey and talk to him, I caught him sanding and painting an interior ceiling.
The Cape Raoul Walking Track has been here for a while, but it hasn’t been properly serviced, and so when Andy bought the property, he was dismayed to find toilet waste littering the bushes. Knowing that it would take officialdom a long time to respond to a call for amenities, Andy offered his own house toilet to walkers — putting up signs advertising that anyone was welcome to come up to the house to use the facilities.
But that still didn’t stop the appearance of toilet paper in the bush. So Andy has built a toilet for the public’s use — with his own time, energy and money — and merely asks for donations from users. It’s beautiful, too. Check it out.
Andy only completed the toilet two weeks ago, so I feel privileged to use it.
The inside of the toilet is finished beautifully. A bucket of sawdust is provided for use in the composting toilet, and appropriate reading material is easily at hand.
Andy's affixed a polite note to the wall asking for donations.
I love the simplicity of this all-timber shutting and locking mechanism!
And with today being cold, blustery, with light rain, it’s the perfect time to get warm and dry in the sauna! I still find it hard to believe that this beautiful place exists out here, and it’s available for use by travellers like ourselves!
Andy built the sauna seven years ago and while he built the main house, it was the only source of hot water for his family.
A collection of wood is kept dry at the door to the sauna, ready to feed the fire.
It doesn't take long before the fire is warming, heating the small room and also the metal barrel of water.
The sauna is divided into two rooms. The outer room is for dressing and bathing (in a shower cubicle with no showerhead — use the bucket with some hot water!).
Brioni is the only one of our girls who is as thrilled by the sauna as me. She stokes the fire and loves to pour water onto the hot rocks to make steam and then periodically opens the window to bring the temperature back down.
I love the fact that Andy is motivated by more than just economic returns. I love that he offers his beautiful, hand-fashioned amenities for donation only. I love that all this is available in a remote part of Tasmania, and I love that I can now share the story of this attraction with other travellers.
Andy deserves to have his donation boxes filled with thankful gifts. So go, have a sauna, make a donation and spread the word that something fantastic is available at the bottom of the Tasman Peninsula for those who want to share in the fun!