11 Unique Shacks To Stay Along Tasmania's East Coast

The end of World War II changed the way Tasmanians relaxed, socialised and holidayed. Families reunited after the war and looked to the coastline as a place to escape the realities of everyday suburban life. Often built by their owners on land claimed rather than purchased, ramshackle huts made of an assorted mix of found materials began popping up along the east coast. Not much more than glorified tents, most of these shacks were completely off-grid, with no electricity, water or heating. Single beds were crammed into each room, and tents for the kids filled their backyards. Every summer, extended families squeezed into cars and drove for hours along dusty roads and dirt tracks to set up for the holidays.

Over the following decades, it became common for Tasmanians to have a shack, and they were a source of pride for owners and their families. It was always more about the lifestyle of the shack rather than the shack itself. Folding camp chairs were parked permanently around fire pits, and beach towels hung from every railing. Little wooden boats would be launched on secluded bays to catch fresh abalone, fish and crayfish. Children roamed freely, and families would reunite around the campfire each evening to share their catch and stories of the day.

By the 1970s, many local councils began to impose regulations on shacks, and seaside properties took on value as the best locations became more highly sought after. Owners recognised this newfound value, and began to spend money on their shacks - painting them, and connecting them to power and water. The 21st century saw the most dramatic shack revival, with contemporary touches added to old cottages as they were made available for short holiday rentals. The modern luxuries of suburbia began infiltrating shack life and many original shacks are now almost unrecognisable, featuring designer appliances, linen bedding and modern kitchens. Today, they continue to encourage a lifestyle connected to the outdoors, and no matter the level of modern luxury, escaping to a coastal shack remains a quintessentially Tasmanian ideal.

Whalesong Shack in Falmouth, Tasmania

Whalesong Shack

Whalesong was originally built by a fisherman in the 1980s, and now sits humbly, as a dreamy retreat on the edge of the ocean. The shack has been thoughtfully renovated and styled to celebrate its character - rough sawn timber and drystone walls left as a feature alongside the new sprawling decks and open kitchen. The sunrise-facing breakfast bar entices us to awaken early and gaze upon the ocean glistening under golden sunlight. We spend our days in the cosiness of the lounge, warmed by the original brick fireplace and entranced by the panoramic ocean vista beyond the windows. Pacific gulls glide overhead and a rocky shoreline waits for beachcombers just beyond the glow of the garden firepit. Following a sunset soak in the warm outdoor bath, we fall into bed to the soothing soundtrack of the sea.

Location: Falmouth, Bay of Fires

Book A Stay: Whalesong Shack
Follow for inspiration: @whalesongshack

Moonbird Beach Shack in Beaumaris, Bay of Fires

Moonbird Beach Shack

Moonbird is perfectly positioned to take in the wonder of Beaumaris Beach and the Bay of Fires. Days here are best spent outdoors, exploring the peaceful beaches nearby, or back at the shack, huddled around the backyard firepit. The two queen bedrooms are beautifully furnished, and an airy living area enjoys filtered ocean views and a sunrise vista worth waking up for. There’s a wood-fired heater to keep warm in winter, and a north facing deck to catch the morning sun, as well as an outdoor shower and hammock in the native garden; the perfect place to retreat post-swim. We could easily lose track of the days at Moonbird, caught in the bliss of this dreamy beach abode.

Location: Beaumaris, Bay of Fires

Book A Stay: Moonbird Beach Shack
Follow for inspiration: @moonbirdbeachshack

Muka Akaroa in Tasmania

Muka Akaroa

A cosy surf shack on the fringes of Peron Dunes and the stunning beaches of the St Helens Conservation Area, Muka is a refreshing update on a nostalgic beach hideaway. A hint of humble beginnings comes in the form of a navy besser block facade, but any expectations of an outdated dwelling quickly vanish upon sight of the sleek interior, modern kitchen and stunning entertaining deck. An elegantly styled 1970s caravan adds a fun touch to the stay, offered as a second bedroom and private space away from the main shack. Whether used as a base for exploring, or a quiet getaway spent around the firepit, Muka is a seaside sanctuary thoughtfully rejuvenated for the modern shack dweller.

Location: Akaroa, Bay of Fires

Book A Stay: Muka in Akaroa
Follow for inspiration: @muka.akaroa

House of the Weedy Sea Dragon, Tasmania

House of the Weedy Sea Dragon

A rustic place of refuge from the wildness that beckons outside its windows, House of the Weedy Sea Dragon is one of Tasmania’s quirkiest beachfront shacks. Proudly displaying a coffee table filled with exquisite sea shells and walls adorned with treasures and art, this 1970s cottage is nestled behind sand dunes where penguins return to rest. French doors lead out to an open deck and a firepit overlooking the bay; a splendid spot to enjoy a glass of local wine. The house sleeps six, and when coupled with the neighbouring Semaphore Shack, could be the perfect entertainer’s destination.

Location: Pirates Bay, Eaglehawk Neck

Book A Stay: House of the Weedy Sea Dragon
Follow for inspiration: @houseoftheweedyseadragon

Semaphore Shack, Tasmania

Semaphore Shack

An original Doo Town cottage full of character and charm, Semaphore Shack is the understated neighbour of House of the Weedy Sea Dragon. Boasting a blend of luxury and heritage details, such as the original 1930s floorboards, this humble shack on the shores of Pirates Bay calls visitors to experience the wild beauty of Eaglehawk Neck. Fishing off the jetty, penguin spotting, or oysters enjoyed on the oceanfront deck; whatever the day calls, nature is never far away. When the sun sets, retreat inside and find warmth by the wood stove as the light fades over the bay.

Location: Pirates Bay, Eaglehawk Neck

Book A Stay: Semaphore Shack
Follow for inspiration: @houseoftheweedyseadragon

The Standalone Cabin Tasmania

The Standalone

An intimate retreat for two tucked away in the forest, The Standalone is a quiet place for reconnection with nature and immersion in the Tasmanian wilderness. The timber cabin features a minimalist design and an emphasis on natural connection, with an airy interior and large windows looking out on the trees. Humble luxury is explored here, combining a cosy, considered living space with an outdoor bath and shower, as well as a wood stove to heat the compact cabin. A short trail meanders down to the water’s edge at Lufra Cove - a quiet shell-lined beach with a rope swing and forested surrounds.

Location: Lufra Cove, Eaglehawk Neck

Book A Stay: The Standalone Cabin
Follow for inspiration: @thestandalonetasmania

The Burrows

The Burrows

An original 19th century stone cottage with spectacular views of Freycinet and the Hazards, The Burrows is a uniquely quaint stay on the shores of Great Oyster Bay. The secluded retreat is set on 2.5 acres of private gardens, and has been lovingly restored to showcase its impressive outlook and 150+ year- old charm. The intimate bath house features french doors and a clawfoot bath with a view of the gardens and ocean beyond, while its living room is a space of warmth and cosiness - a sanctuary to relax and get lost in a good book. This adults-only escape is the epitome of luxury, privacy and thoughtful design.

Location: Swansea

Book A Stay: The Burrows Swansea
Follow for inspiration: @the_burrows_swansea

The Luttrell in Hobart, Tasmania

The Luttrell

This lovingly restored 1940s beach house is a nostalgic nod to family holidays of a bygone era - from its stained timber vanity and pink clawfoot bath, to the vintage knick-knacks adorning its walls. The convenience of its suburban location, just 10 minutes from Hobart’s CBD, is as rare as it is attractive. Guests can wander the stalls of Salamanca Markets, or spend the morning pondering the artworks of MONA, and be back in the shack before lunch for a lazy afternoon by the fire. With two cosy bedrooms, both with ensuite bathrooms, The Luttrell is a spacious hideaway suitable for friends or families, within arms reach of the state’s bustling capital - the perfect weekend escape for a taste of Tasmania’s shack life.

Location: Bellerive, Hobart

Book A Stay: The Luttrell
Follow for inspiration: @the_luttrell

The Driftwood Cabin in Tasmania

Driftwood Cabin

A seaside cabin carefully designed to encourage slow living and a feeling of escape, Driftwood is a tranquil abode just an hour’s drive from Hobart. Once a tired shack in need of a lot of love, the cabin has been transformed by chef Sarah Glover into an exceptionally unique stay. The showpiece of the cottage is its custom firepit and fully equipped chef’s kitchen, providing all the cooking essentials needed for a coal-roasted feast. With fishing lines on-hand and waterfront access to dive for scallops, Sarah encourages her guests to tap into their creativity and embrace her love of wild cooking on the fire.

Location: Primrose Sands

Book A Stay: Driftwood Cabin by Sarah Glover
Follow for inspiration: @driftwoodcabin

Bruny Boathouse in Tasmania

Bruny Boathouse

Overlooking the D’Entrecasteaux Channel in a quiet Alonnah street, the Bruny Boathouse is a stylish, modern take on the classic coastal shack. Vintage timber oars, nautical illustrations and bottles of sea shells adorn the walls and shelves of the airy interior, and with two bedrooms, it is one of the few shacks we’ve featured that can comfortably cater for families. Watch yachts sail by from the upper deck or fall deep into the books of the boathouse’s library wall. The firepit area is an entertainer’s dream and a splendid spot to roast marshmallows as the sun goes down over the water.

Location: Bruny Island

Book A Stay: Bruny Boathouse
Follow for inspiration: @brunyboathouse

Sheepwash Bay in Tasmania

Sheepwash Bay

A fully off-grid cabin built from reclaimed timber, the Sheepwash Bay shack is perched above the shoreline in the bushy surrounds of a 37 acre rural property. Waking to the aroma of fresh sourdough and views of the distant Hartz Mountains, mornings are best spent beachcombing the rocky coastline, collecting fresh produce and eggs from the garden, or snuggled up in the fire- warmed shack watching the weather pass by. A traditional outhouse surprises guests with a view of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel from the dunny, and an outdoor bath tub has the perfect vantage point for a sun-drenched afternoon soak.

Location: Bruny Island

Book A Stay: Sheepwash Bay
Follow for inspiration: @sheepwashbay

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Our second coffee table edition heads to the shores of Australia's wild southern state to explore Tasmania's East Coast. From the sandy coves of the Bay of Fires to the battered cliffs of the Tasman Peninsula, this region of frigid seas and wind-lashed landscapes calls visitors with its isolated allure. 

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