Halfway between Launceston and Hobart on the Great Eastern Drive, Piermont Retreat overlooks Great Oyster Bay and Freycinet National Park. Hemmed by eucalyptus and pine trees, it’s surrounded by an abundance of organic farms, Melshell Oysters and celebrated wineries like The Bend, Freycinet and Devil’s Corner.
The perfect summer getaway, owners Marie von Haniel and husband Juan Maiz Casas have put a lot of love into expanding on the gorgeous 230-acre property originally taken on by her father.
The retreat’s sustainably built stone cottages with raised decks have gorgeous textural finishes like whitewashed, rough rendered walls, and come equipped with spa baths and log fires for the colder months. Spoiled with two private beaches, Piermont Retreat also has an outdoor pool, tennis courts, a polo field, an amphitheatre and kayaks on hand.
Homestead Restaurant, run by head chef Tristan Stephens, formerly of Vue De Monde, is housed in the original 1838 property. It and the cottages interiors have had a striking makeover by award-winning Melbourne outfit Hecker Guthrie.
“We’re pretty locally focused,” Stephens says. “We’re really driven by local produce like Long Mane Farm pork, which is just down the road, and I do a lot of foraging for flowers and herbs as well.”
Evoking the magic of a campfire on a summer’s night, Stephen uses a blowtorch on a pepper-crusted kangaroo dish to create an intoxicating smoky flavour. It’s served with Tasmanian mountain pepper leaves, caramelised onion skins and roasted garlic mashed potatoes, plus speck made on site.
A tartare of Robins Island purebred wagyu beef is served with smoked quail’s egg, Russet Burbank potato crisps, cornichons and black truffle mustard. Oyster Bay pine-cured ocean trout comes with Westhaven goats curd, rye croutons and a touch of trout caviar.
“It’s a great Pinot area around here, so we get quality wines to match up with our five-course degustation menu,” Stephens adds. “The Bend winery, who are great friends of Piermont, do a fantastic Riesling too.”
Hamish Guthrie, co-founder of Hecker Guthrie, says the vast windows on two fronts of Homestead Restaurant presented a hurdle. “It creates a spectacular ocean view outlook but it’s challenging to create intimacy with that, especially when you don’t have that aspect.”
The solution? Creating competing focal points. “There’s a fireplace that adds warmth, texture and informality to the space and we created a grand banquette too that grounds the space and gives some solidity to it.”
With larger shared tables and a bar area great for groups, there is also a series of smaller tables designed for two. “They are separated with space and screening elements, creating intimacy, or you can come and meet your neighbours and share conversation,” Guthrie says.
“When you’re staying in a retreat like this you want to have this sense it’s yours for the time your staying there. The restaurant is all part of this connected experience.”
Hecker Guthrie also oversaw the rejuvenation of the cottage interiors, allowing Piermont Retreat guests to settle in for the long haul or treat them more like a short stay hotel room. “You can open up the kitchen space and engage with it in a more residential way or you can shut it down if you’re there for a night and have no intention of cooking,” Guthrie laughs. And with Homestead on your doorstep, fired by Stephens’ passion, why would you?
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Image credit: Piermont Retreat