Dropping anchor at Captains Rest, Tasmania

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There’s only a certain amount of time you can daydream about a place before you simply must give in to its charm, pack your bags, and make your way there. Such was the case for me, as soon as I stumbled upon Captains Rest — a cabin tucked away on the edge of the sleepy fishing village of Strahan, Tasmania.

You may have seen photos of it here and there yourself, with its by now iconic, built-in day bed commanding the living room, hugging salvaged Georgian windows that looks straight out onto a sublime bay. This was the very spot that I first caught a glance of online, and thought to myself, ‘boy that looks like a good spot to spend an afternoon reading’.

But before getting to know the house itself, I had the absolute pleasure of getting to know the person responsible for Captains Rest, and she goes by the name of Sarah Andrews. I interviewed Sarah for an article I was writing for Domain and sent her a series of questions asking if she may be so kind to tell me her story. And that she did. The answers she wrote back, truth be told, wrote themselves. She told me a story of how she once sailed the Pacific Ocean alone in a boat, or rather, a floating home, she named “Gabrielle”. She told me about the sadness she felt when that same beloved boat sunk, taking everything she owned down with her. And certainly, she told me how she came about this once run-down shack, perched on the water’s edge, and the journey it took to give the home a brand new lease of life.

[You can read the full article here]

And so, when the day came to stay and experience Captains Rest for myself, I packed with me an overwhelming sense of curiosity, built-up from learning already so much about this home and the woman behind it — before having even arrived at its front door. A two-hour flight from Sydney, a day detour in Hobart, and a four-hour drive later, my husband and I arrived in Strahan.

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It’s true, the windows are undeniably the first thing you notice as you walk through the door — they frame the bay as if they were the canvas of a painting. And yes, Sarah’s eclectic taste is all around, with each and every item used to decorate the place, whispering a story of its own — from the books, the oil paintings, and the dried, aged flowers scattered throughout. What’s more, rather than a guestbook, there was a bundle of ripped out book pages where visitors have written either love letters to Sarah, to the house, and even to themselves. I, of course, made sure to write my own during our stay.

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There was a sea of linen in the bedroom, more oil paintings and collected treasures adorning the kitchen shelves, and a deep claw-footed tub in the bathroom, tempting travellers to pause, and while away the hours.

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And then there it was — the day-bed — the pull that brought me here in the first place. With a mix of velvet and linen cushions, enough to be swallowed up in and demand any outside thoughts to drift away.

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Outside, a little jetty snuck out into the bay, with rowboats anchored here and there, including a crisp white one for our use, and one, although shipwrecked and unused, put on a lively display. And then there were the four ducks, consisting of the mamma duck, and her three little male ducklings. Whilst for most part, those who venture to Captains Rest, come to seek solitude, including myself, whenever we were followed around by these darling ducks outside — I found myself being thankful for their company.

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What unfolded over the course of two days here, I’m convinced, was pure magic. From the rain pitter-pattering on the tin roof, to the fire crackling in the fireplace as I read — I remember feeling torn between wanting to keep this place somewhat a secret, and wanting to spread the word far and wide for all to know. But I’m sure like Sarah would know far too well by now, a place like this needs to be shared. And just as Sarah proudly welcomed me to visit her safe harbour, I highly recommend for you to pack your bags and do the same.

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*Sarah is currently holding exclusive and one-off Airbnb Masterclasses in various locations throughout Australia. Her next one will be held at Trentham, Victoria.