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In all my travels around the world I’ve stayed in everything from over-water villas and beachside bungalows to mountain chalets and high rise hotels, but I’ve never been anywhere as romantic as Tasmania’s Pumphouse Point. When I told my husband this, as we gazed out over the misty waters of Lake St Clair, he was shocked. “All that money we spent on our honeymoon in the Maldives, and this tops it?” Erm, yes, sorry but not sorry, because the two nights we spent at Pumphouse Point were pure bliss. Not your usual type of honeymoon bliss. The property doesn’t even have a spa (a huge opportunity for them, in my opinion), but it has a combination of other factors that just took my breath away.

And I’m not alone. The number of proposals and honeymooners has skyrocketed since the property opened a few years ago. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Beauty that takes your breath away

Lake St Clair sits within the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Cradle Mountain National Park. Surrounded by mountain ranges and bushland, the lake is like a very Australian oasis in the desert. As you drive down the long entranceway, you catch glimpses of the water, until it opens up in front of you. Combine that natural beauty with the spectacle of a five-storey building perched out on the end of a jetty, and you’ve got one seriously photogenic location.

  1. Wonderful, wild weather

Tasmanian weather can be tricky. Bright sunny days, snowy afternoons and misty mornings are all potentials almost year round. We got lucky and had a few days of sunshine and warm weather during our end-of-Summer visit. But even if it rains, or snows, watching the weather while snuggled up in front of the fire, with a good local red wine in one hand, and your special someone’s hand in the other, is perfection. Mornings out on the Pumphouse are often a lucky dip too. We woke up one day to a blanket of mist, wrapped around the jetty and out across the lake. Watching it lift as the sun rose was just magical.

  1. Awesome accommodation

The original Pumphouse that perches out on the jetty was constructed as part of a hydraulic electricity scheme back in the 1940s. It housed water turbines that were never actually put to use. Decommissioned in the 1990s, the Pumphouse sat empty until it was leased in 2004 and painstakingly renovated over a decade. Today the building is a study in industrial chic. The bare bones of the structure are built upon with low lying couches, leather arm chairs, Bauhaus-style coffee tables and wood burning fireplaces. Everything is designed not to detract from the view. Common area lounges on two floors have the best views straight out at the lake, but the entire building is surrounded on all sides by water views. Top floor rooms have deep free standing tubs and are worth the splurge, but you’ll get just as spectacular a view from the ground floor rooms, albeit from a different angle. You’re almost floating on top of the water instead of looking down at it. The Shorehouse building, where meals are held, has rooms looking out at the Pumphouse, and guests are free to roam between the bars and lounge rooms in each building.

  1. Activities for all sorts

For the first time ever I met some honeymooners who willingly spent five hours of their day hiking. The walking tracks around Lake St Clair are among some of the best in the country, and plenty of guests take advantage of the longer trails, setting out straight from the end of the jetty into the bush. We chose an easy Platypus Bay walk, driving down to the visitors’ centre for the easy stroll, stopping for a picnic (Pumphouse provides insulated picnic backpacks including champagne glasses!) before scampering back to the fireplace at the Pumphouse. But even if you’re not into hiking, there isn’t a honeymooner out there who can say no to a rowboat! The property has several cute rowboats tied up to the edge of the lake, just waiting for guests to take them out for a spin. It’s an easy paddle out into the lake, and if you’re quiet you’ll spot platypus swimming past the boat or playing along the shore.

  1. The honesty system

Each room has its own Larder, stocked with local produce like Bruny Island Cheese, fresh salami, pickles, quince paste, fudge, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It’s a minibar on steroids. Grab a few nibbles and head down to the bar for an impromptu picnic. You’ll pass by the bar, where fridges are well stocked with craft beer and sparkling wine and the shelves are lined with local reds and whites. There are spirits too, and fresh limes, simply grab what you want and mark it down on the sheets provided. It’s trusting, and absolutely awesome.

  1. Fresh bread, baby!

I’ve saved the best for last. Who does not want a loaf of bread, hot from the oven, delivered to their door? And, it’s free. That’s right, you can order a loaf of bread as many times as you want. It’s perfect as a late afternoon snack, dunked in olive oil and balsamic, with a gin and tonic to wash it down.

  1. Price point

Yes, I found the price to be a big draw card. Rooms at the Pumphouse start at $280 per night. That includes breakfast and as much free bread as you like! It’s a reasonable price point for such a unique experience. For us it was even better value, I used Expedia+ Rewards Points I’d built up to get some dollars off – more spending money for that honour bar!

Whether you’re after an active getaway, a chance to re-enact Hugh Grant and Renee Zellweger’s row boat scene, an escape from reality, or just a spot to curl up with a good book, Pumphouse Point is the spot to spend a few days away from the world.

All images by Lisa Perkovic at Expedia Australia 

Ms Polka Dot says: Those misty waters get me every time – not to mention the local produce that Tasmania does so well.

About Lisa Perkovic: I am the Expedia Australia blog editor and have spent the past decade getting out there, discovering the world and sharing my experiences. I make sure Expedia’s blog is always stocked with the best and most up to date travel stories, tips and news from our team of travel experts!

Polka Dot Honeymoons Directory Mid Banner

Image via Edinburgh Festival Fringe from David Monteith-Hodge

This August, festivals are dedicated to everything from music, culture and colour, to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll himself. Immerse yourself in a bubble of celebration, either in the incredible city of Edinburgh, surrounded by charm in Brazil or in the midst of Elvis’ biggest week in his Graceland home. Whether it’s out and about on the streets of a peaceful city or in a field of music, you and your significant other are sure to celebrate a new marriage with the spirit and the excitement that comes from a festival.

Image via Edinburgh Festival Fringe from The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Edinburgh August Festivals

In Edinburgh you don’t just get a choice of one or two festivals – here it’s a whole month of different festivals combined into the one huge, thrilling party. Start the month with the Edinburgh Art Festival and The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and finish it off with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. It has been dubbed the world’s leading festival city, and we can see why! With over 3,000 events and 4.5 million people visiting from 70 countries worldwide, Edinburgh very quickly becomes the celebration hub of the globe and with it comes an atmosphere unlike any other. Come ready to step into an immersion of the world’s cultures and traditions.

Image via Edinburgh Festival Fringe from David Monteith-Hodge

For someplace close to stay, have a look into the Old Town Chambers. The luxury, award-winning apartments are a lovely mixture of period features, historic charm, and signature individuality. The apartments are located almost on top of some of the best places in the city, including restaurants and tourist attractions. For something just as private and glamorous there’s The Chester Residence. The townhouse apartments are the epitome of luxury and comfort – and it comes complete with a newlywed package! Indulge yourself with champagne and fresh rose petals.

Image via Old Town Chambers

The Edinburgh Festival is a celebration of arts and culture from around the world that will be sure to keep you busy all month long. Indulge in the festival of books where even the most novice bookworm could find solace and joy in the pages of hundreds upon hundreds of books. If it’s not your thing, enjoy a firework show with The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo before moving onto some of Scotland’s most incredible sites from the medieval Old Town to the Edinburgh Castle. There is no shortage of places and things to do to celebrate a new marriage in beautiful Edinburgh!

Image via Edinburgh Festival Fringe from David Monteith-Hodge

Bumba Meu Boi

From a history of African, Indian, and Portuguese comes the story of an ox’s death and its resurrection that has inspired a festival dedicated to the tale told through dance, song, theatre and art. Brazil comes alive with street performers dressed as mythical creatures of all colours who dance and revel across the city. Two rival groups, the Caprichoso and Garantido, square off with colours and banners and then parade through the streets for the official staging of the legend. It’s incredible to watch!

Brazil is lucky to be filled with charming and luxurious hotels to live out your honeymoon, like the always gorgeous Vila Da Santa and the Villas De Trancoso. Both hotels offer fine cuisine, beautiful locations, and a lovely mix of comfort and style. They are also close to some of the best of Brazil, including their August festival.

Image via Villas De Trancoso

Brazil is a city where celebrations and carnivals are truly at their peaks. This particular festival is a theatrical and religious display of their celebratory traditions, and they don’t hold anything back. Music is a key element in this celebration, as is the street procession and the abundance of colours. This is the kind of festival that takes you from the familiar and presents a celebration of the unfamiliar. Along with your new partner, you’re sure to experience something big and exciting.

Elvis Week

Each August fans from around the world come together to celebrate the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and the legacy he left behind. It’s a celebration that takes place all across the globe as impersonators and die-hard fans take to their own cities to truly honour one of the greatest musicians of all time, but it’s in    Tennessee where the ultimate events take place. Elvis Week always includes traditional events like the Elvis Fan Club President’s Event, Graceland Insiders’ Event, candlelight vigils, and special concerts. In the heart of his home and his music, you can’t help falling in love all over again.

Not quite the Heartbreak Hotel, but still something to keep you in the Elvis spirit is the lovely Sewanee Inn. Featuring over 40 charming guest rooms and suites is an inn that offers some of the best views of beautiful Tennessee paired with a ballroom, convenience to tourist attractions and picturesque experiences. For something a little more high-rise have a look at the Hampton Suites in Knoxville. With contemporary accommodation, central location and comfort the hotel is perfect for honeymooners.

Image via Sewanee Inn

Put on your blue suede shoes, pack away the wooden heart and be prepared to embrace Elvis’ most romantic songs all over again. Stroll along the streets of his hometown, visit Graceland and the King himself, and enjoy the feeling of being part of something bigger than yourself – and of course, there’s the impersonators, celebrities, and general cheer that comes with the entire festival.

Ms Polka Dot says: Something for everyone in all corners of the globe!

If a European sojourn is your honeymoon dream, then a few days in Paris should definitely be on the agenda. From grand boulevards to intimate cobbled stone streets, Michelin star meals to casual crepe stands, and luxe fashion houses to street art stalls, Paris offers an exquisite mix of history, style, food, architecture and culture.

Although you could easily while away weeks, if not months, in this trés chic locale, a few days in this beloved city will provide just enough Parisian panache to satisfy your French wanderlust (at least for now).

 STAY

Adèle and Jules

Tucked away in a quiet side street, Hotel Adèle and Jules is a boutique establishment brimming with Parisian style. Decorated with lush colour palettes, luxe linen and quality fixtures, no detail has been overlooked in this gorgeous compilation of rooms and suites.

Some rooms include balconies and bathtubs and each comes with fluffy bathrobes and bath and body products from renowned French perfumery Fragonard – divine! Start your day with breakfast in bed (omelettes and croissants obligatory) and enjoy gazing out the French windows to the city scenery beyond – perfect!

SEE

Take your love by the hand and wander the streets of Paris to really soak up the city vibes, while ticking off your must-sees, from the Eiffel Tower and Sacré Coeur, to Notre Dame, the Seine and the Louvre – then select a couple of museums for a more in-depth visit. Aside from the Louvre, a couple of other fascinating options are the Musée d’Orsay and Musée Rodin.

Musée d’Orsay

Once a thriving train station, this go-to destination is now a spectacular gallery space set across several floors. Showcasing a tantalising array of pieces, comprising predominantly sculptures and paintings, the building is also a work of art in itself! Don’t miss the larger-than-life clocks in the main hall and on the fifth floor, and be sure to stop by the second and fifth floor to see select paintings by Monet and Van Gogh.

Musée Rodin

Set among stunning manicured gardens and a beautifully restored mansion house, the Musée Rodin is a must-see for any art lover. Enjoy strolling around the gorgeous grounds with your love and contemplate the artist’s famous sculpture The Thinker, within an idyllic rose garden setting.

Evening Show – Crazy Horse

After dinner, venture to the heart of the city’s golden triangle to catch a performance at the world-famous venue, Le Crazy Horse Paris. Offering an intoxicating mix of cabaret, dance, art and burlesque, this heritage venue has been an integral part of Parisian culture for more than 65 years. The current Crazy Horse production entitled ‘Totally Crazy’ is a special anniversary show and is a dynamic celebration of Crazy Girl history, interweaving new numbers with the company’s classic choreography.

DINE

Breakfast: Ladurée

If you have already had the pleasure of sampling one of Ladurée’s signature macarons, then you may be delighted to know this pastel pretty establishment also serves up a delicious French breakfast. Pop into the Printemps café to dine on French toast with rose fragranced cream and fresh, flaky croissants, before a big day of shopping and sightseeing.

Lunch: Le Restaurant

Discuss your favourite French Impressionists’ works over rabbit terrine and oven baked cheese at Musee d’Orsay’s glamorous dining hall, simply entitled ‘Le Restaurant’. A voluminous space with chandeliers, ceiling friezes, gilded plasterwork and designer seating, this is a worthwhile detour during your museum visit. Originally part of the former train station’s hotel, the restaurant serves up modern French cuisine and offers floor to ceiling views of the city.

Dinner: Georges

Indulge in French champagne and sunset views of the Eiffel Tower at the iconic Georges Restaurant, perched on the top floor of the Centre Pompidou building. Serving up a fusion of French and Asian influenced cuisine in a vast, uber modern space, Georges is a can’t-miss dining destination. Time your visit for sunset and opt for the truffle infused mushroom ravioli for an unforgettable dining experience.

SHOP

Madeleine

If browsing through stores teaming with gleaming caviar tins, avant-garde chocolates or fishbowls filled with golden honey sounds like a dreamy afternoon, then take the metro to Madeleine – a must-visit neighbourhood for any gourmand. Stock up on truffled delights at Maison de la Truffe, from freshly shaved truffle by the gram (if you dare!) to infused oils, salts and chocolates – this is a Parisian paradise for any truffle lover.

Next, take your honey to Maison Alexandre Stern – a gorgeous boutique offering up intriguing pollen-produced elixirs from around the world. You can sample them in store and mix and match to create your own perfectly curated selection.

Finally, stop by mustard pros Maille to stock up on the perennial French condiment du jour. Here you can sample in-store, browse the extensive mustard selections and create your own take-home combinations. From liquor-spiked varieties to fruity infusions, you’re bound to find a concoction that takes your fancy.

Galeries Lafayette and Printemps

No trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to some of the city’s glamorous department stores – the perfect place to pick up a few new honeymoon pieces! Here you will find haute-couture to high street, all within a stunning sartorial setting. Even if shopping is not on your to-do list – it’s worth stopping by Galeries Lafayette to see its spectacular glass dome – truly beautiful!

All images by Anika Reynolds.

Ms Polka Dot says: With this roundup of fabulous food, places to visit in Paris and things to experience, how can you not want to jump on a plane right now and visit this city that offers so much to tingle the senses?