Wheelhouse Luxury Apartments

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Getaway Logo Thursday October 12th 2006

Recently featured on the Nine Network's 'Getaway' program.

Interior feature of Wheelhouse Apartments Independent Traveller
November 12th 2005

Five Best Aquatic Aussie Hideaways
Sand and Sundowners: Sophie Lam finds a wealth of waterside boltholes Down Under

These two properties on the west coast of Tasmania are inspired by the sea. Each resembles a fishing trawler (albeit a luxury one), with the glass-fronted living room cantilevered over a cliff above Macquarie Harbour.

The nautical theme is continued in the bedrooms (one sleeps two, the other four), which feature porthole windows.

On the deck, these is a barbeque where you can grill freshly caught crayfish while sipping a sundowner.

Wheelhouse Luxury Apartments through the 'porthole' Sunday Mail - Escape
September 4th 2005

Breath in Life and Luxuries
It’s not all hard work sharing air with some 2000-year-old giants, decides Robyn Grace

Every breath you take in Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area increases your life expectancy by five minutes. Or so we’re told.

Everyone laughs of course, but there’s no doubting the sound of 30-odd tourists hyperventilating as we stroll past a 2000-year-old Huon Pine.

We’re at Heritage Landing on the banks of the Gordon River at Strahan in northwest Tasmania, a site made famous by the 1980s Franklin Dam dispute.

The state government proposal to dam the Gordon River sparked Tasmania’s largest-ever protest and was eventually quashed.

Lucky for us.

The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area covers 20 per cent of the state and is a stronghold of temperate rainforest and alpine vegetation.

It’s a haven for many species extinct on the mainland and holds evidence of Aboriginal occupation dating back 36,000 years.

Heritage Landing is our second stop on our day-long trip with World Heritage Cruises, an awesome ride up the Gordon [sic] to one of Australia’s oldest convict settlements, Sarah Island.

Tour guide and historian Richard Davey gives an animated account of life in the penal settlement, established in 1822 to "put the fear of God and hell" into Van Diemen’s Land prisoners.

Strahan, 300km northwest of Hobart, is a heart-warming mix of natural beauty and luxury of rich cultural history and new development.

It may be the state’s westernmost outpost, but this town knows its tourists - and it lays on the fine dining and top-notch accommodation.

We stayed at Wheelhouse Apartments, a striking pair of boat-like buildings designed and run by a husband-and-wife team, Richard and Andrea Dyson.

The buildings took three years to complete but the end result is spectacular, with floor-to-ceiling glass overlooking Macquarie Harbour and simple, luxurious touches making an elegant statement.

Winter is a slow time for restaurants in Strahan and at Risby Cove on Strahan’s marina, we were the only customers for most of the evening, but that didn’t stop it from serving up what was one of our all-time best meals in Tasmania.

I’m no food expert but I’d have to be swimming to get seafood any fresher.

After an amount of wine that can be justified only by being on holidays, we taxied back to the Wheelhouse, bellies full and ready for a dose of luxury.

Neck-deep in bubbles in the apartment’s roomy spa bath, a thought occured: If the average adult breathes 16 times a minute and we spent 15 minutes in the world heritage area, we’ve gained about 20 hours more life.

Does that mean we can stay longer?

Interior feature of Wheelhouse Apartments OutBack Travel Guide

Floor-to-ceiling glass windows on living rooms cantilevered out towards the clifftop provide a unique perspective on Macquarie Harbour from these two self-catering apartments in Strahan.

Designed and built by local builder Richard Dyson, with interior design by his wife, Andrea, the apartments have a distinctly maritime look and feel.

Porthole windows, polished timber floors pitch-caulked in places, stanchion wire hand rails and an external cladding of sky blue add to the impression of staying on a beached ocean liner. Even the stone foundations, which came from Fingal on the east coast, contain scallop shell fossils.

The apartments are a five-minute stroll from the centre of Strahan and the Dysons confess that they are so proud of thier handiwork that they actually stay there on the rare occasions when the property is not booked out.

View from the Wheelhouse Apartments Gay Times - Travel

I spent the night at the extraordinary Wheelhouse Apartments, two self-contained units built by the current owners back in 2002, which afford more ‘edge of the world’ views across the harbour, through floor-to-ceiling windows from which, if you’re lucky, you may spot dolphins as they follow the fishing boats back into the bay.

The apartments are currently up for sale, and I utilised the five-hour drive back to Hobart (where I was booked for 2 final nights) plotting ever-more extreme ways to raise the money to buy them.

Wheelhouse Luxury Apartments through the 'porthole'

October/November 2004

View from the bridge
Ship-shape accommodation in western Tasmania

An air of the surreal hangs about the Wheelhouse, twin holiday apartments on Tasmania's western coast. It's not so much that they're built to resemble fishing trawlers; rather, it's their position, marooned high and dry on a cliff overlooking Macquarie Harbour.

They make up just one of more than 200 properties in Turquoise Holidays' newly expanded Australian beach house collection, many of which are similarly quirky or unusual.

The Wheelhouse's design makes the most of the stunning sea views: living rooms are cantilevered towards the cliff-edge, with vast sloping windows to make guests feel as though they're on the bridge of a ship.

And each apartment sleeps up to six, so you can bring along your own crew.

Interior feature of Wheelhouse Apartments Times Travel
September 2004

In a league table of the world’s best sundowner spots, the Wheelhouse Apartments are a surefire title contender. Perched on a cliff above the west coast town of Strahan, they look out across Macquarie Harbour — an inlet more than six times larger than that of Sydney — providing a truly epic location to crack a cold one and watch the sinking sun.

It’s a setting fully exploited by Richard Dyson, its builder and owner. Both properties have living rooms raised on steel beams with enormous glass fronts angled outwards and upwards. From inside it appears you are directly over the sea, advancing like the prow of a ship. Upstairs, spa baths and beds have equally memorable if less expansive views.

"We watch winter storms roaring in," says Richard. "You see rain squalls smash into the bank below and shoot up." On more sedate days you can spot pods of dolphins.

The cool contemporary design of the apartments lives up to the setting: stainless steel kitchens with Italian marble tiles, superb bathrooms and a wealth of mellow Tasmanian oak, myrtle, cedar, celery and huon pine. To get a unique perspective I took a sea-plane from Macquarie Harbour, heading over the 25-mile (40km) long Ocean Beach, lashed with huge surf, and out across the vast wilderness of the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.

Ian Belcher

Wheelhouse Luxury Apartments through the 'porthole' Sydney Morning Herald - Travel
Saturday May 15th 2004

Out of the Wilderness
The Apple Isle has some classy new places to rest your head, reports Kendall Hill

Perched on a cliff above brooding Macquarie Harbour, these two apartments are gorgeous. Huge walls of angled glass capture dazzling views of the harbour while cedar finishes lend a warm luxury to the modern, two-storey structures.

The apartments comprise two bedrooms, with a spa in the sprawling main bedroom upstairs, two TV's, two bathrooms, and all the comforts of a well-appointed home - including full kitchen and laundry facilities.

While blissfully isloated from the tourist heart of Strahan, the property is just a few minutes from the action.

View from the Wheelhouse Apartments Good Weekend - The Age Magazine
52 Weekends Away
25th October 2003

The waters of Macquarie Harbour lap quietly on the shoreline below The Esplanade leading to Strahan, a fishing, timber and tourist town on Tasmania’s West Coast. The cliff near the post office is too steep for a slipway, yet the hilltop above seems to have some resting craft: five metres above the road at Strahan Point are two dwellings that look like a couple of beached fishing trawlers. It appears as though the wheelhouses have been sheared off, bolted to steel girders and cantilevered towards the water. And that is exactly what the owners had to do to satisfy the council’s building regulations.

Less than a year old, the Wheelhouse Apartments have floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the fishing trawlers, yachts, dinghies and the Gordon River ferries on the harbour below and, in the distance, offer uninterrupted water views to the south.

There is no wheel to steer the apartments, but there is a rusty screw propeller near the rear carport. The maritime theme continues: there are porthole-style windows in the main door and above the spa in the first-floor bedroom, and the upper floor is designed to resemble the deck of a boat. Local timbers such as Celery-top Pine, Huon Pine, Myrtle, Sassafras and Tasmanian Oak feature in the floorboards, doors, furniture and window frames.

Spend a bit of time looking out for the design surprises such as trapeze lighting threaded through a longboat oar on the ceiling, or the colourful foundation stone imprinted with seashell fossils, and the hidden laundry.

All in all, these apartments are uncluttered, practical and supremely restful. Where better to scrape off the barnacles?

Glenn Mulcaster

View from the Wheelhouse Apartments Australian Gourmet Traveller
July 2003

As you approach the Wheelhouse Apartments through the back streets of Strahan, you might see a sign for freshly cooked West Coast crayfish. Buy some, because once you settle into these unique apartments, perched on a cliff overlooking Macquarie Harbour, you won’t want to leave.

Everything about the venue is larger than life - from the dry-stone foundations and the soaring timber walls to the massive slanted windows that seem to hang over the cliff edge.

Relax in the comfortable living area or the upstairs spa while drinking in the views of the harbour, where colourful fishing boats sail across sparkling waters.

As evening approaches, sit out on the balcony and admire the stunning sunset. Later, enjoy a meal prepared in your well-appointed kitchen before retiring upstairs to the massive bedroom, where even more spectacular views await.

The next day, take advantage of staying in the heart of the World Heritage Wilderness area and explore the wild surrounds and ancient forest.

Roger McShane

Interior feature of Wheelhouse Apartments Ract Magazine
June/July 2003

At Strahan, on the west coast, the cliffside Wheelhouse Apartments face the vast Macquarie Harbour for magnificent views. The architecture of the two contemporary units reflects the influence of sails on vessels anchored nearby, just as the suspended lounge room makes guests feel as though they’re on the bridge of a boat. Inside you’ll find local timbers - like the myrtle floors and built in wardrobe and luxurious touches like marble tiles, stainless steel appliances and a fabulous spa.

Richard and Andrea Dyson completed the units in late 2002 as a labour of love. Full-length windows frame vessels cruising to and from the Gordon River, gateway to the World Heritage Area.

Wheelhouse Luxury Apartments through the 'porthole' Herald Sun - Travel
Friday May 2nd 2003

Cliff-top chic
Bonus: Ever-changing cliff-top views

The new Wheelhouse Apartments are in one of the most picturesque towns in Tasmania. Their cliff-top position provides sensational views of sunsets over the water, visiting pods of dolphins and ever-changing vistas of the coast’s wild weather. Designed to give you the sense of being inside the wheelhouse of a ship, the downstairs lounge features a huge three-panelled glass wall that slopes outwards and upwards. And, upstairs, the views are just as sensational from the bed or spa.

Local timbers of myrtle, celery and huon pine are featured. Some external walls are clad in rare Fingal stone (look closely and you can see fossilised shells and tree ferns), while the apartments seem to float over the land on two huge steel beams.

While the apartments are self-contained, dinner at Franklin Manor is highly reccommended. Two-star Michelin chef Meyjitte Boughenout’s nine-course tasting menu is turning Strahan into a dining mecca.

Jennifer Lamattina

Articles have also appeared in:

Family Circle, August 2005, Life | Travel Section
"Perched on a cliff, these two modern designer houses are the ultimate Strahan stopover. Watch the wild weather from panoramic lounge windows. Very indulgent."

MNP 2004-2005, a Russian publication

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