Satellite Island, Tasmania's Ultimate Hideaway

Photo by Lisa Liew

by Kara Rosenlund, The Daily Telegraph, March 22, 2016

Once the wild, ragged home of a reclusive writer, Tasmania's Satellite Island is reborn as a naturally chic and beautifully isolated retreat.

While travelling around Tasmania, the name Satellite Island would be whispered to me frequently, as if it were some mythical place from old seafaring times. Once, the wild and ragged island had been home to a reclusive writer, painter and poet, Ian Alstergren. But when Will, his nephew, inherited it, he wanted to give other people the opportunity to share this unspoilt wilderness, teeming with vivid sealife and an abundance of native birds. For the past couple of years , a handful of visitors have been allowed to stay, too, and fall under its hypnotic spell.

The 84-acre whale-shaped island sits in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, off Bruny Island in Tasmania, and feels thrillingly remote. From the moment the family workboat comes to collect you off the shores of Bruny, you can feel the weight of anticipation in the salty sea air. 

Life here, though, isn’t about adrenalin. It’s about chilling out and getting back to nature. Endless days are spent walking the rock shelf and getting back to basics, watching the tides beat against cliffs and the winds rustling through the trees. Activities, naturally, revolve around the seasons. The on-call-round-the-clock manager, Richard Roe, can help you shuck fresh oysters straight off the rocks, fill buckets of mussels which ring the island, and even dive for crayfish. Picnics can be arranged in the wild grasses on top of the island peak and bonfires can be lit on sunset, as you watch the herd of deer spring and dart across the plains. If you don’t fancy self-catering, or barbecuing salmon caught on Satellite’s own fish-farm, there’s a little boat to take you to Bruny, and its famed restaurants and gourmet treats.

When the weather turns blustery, there is a choice of shelter: the waterside two-bedroom Boathouse or the weatherboard-clad, three-bed Summer House, 54 steps uphill to the north of the island. Once a ramshackle old farmhouse, the latter is now a stylish, light and understated contemporary beach-style home, created by Will Alstergren and his wife Kate, who, with their three teenage sons , split their time between the island and Melbourne . Kate has cleverly brought into the décor the colour palettes of the outdoors, echoing the natural textures and colours: the greys of the rock shelf, the blues of the smooth pebbles on the beach and the pale hues of the sun-bleached driftwood. Personal touches – shells, antlers, feathers and maps – scattered around help tell the story of the location, alongside family heirlooms such as a 19th-century Scandinavian dresser, and pretty local pottery.

While the interiors are charming, it is the natural world that is the real attraction. Mussel beds encase wave-washed rocks, flocks of seabirds ride the coastal winds and crayfish clamber over ancient underwater shelves. The island brims with life. The real luxury is having the time, space and privacy to enjoy it. 

Satellite Island (0061 400 336444;; from £2,940 a night  for 12 ; The Boathouse, £970, for two).


This article was written by Kara Rosenlund from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.