Lettes Bay, on Tasmania’s west coast, has been a popular retreat for locals for more than a century and now woos visitors.

Story + Photos Paula Heelan

On a glistening summer day in 2019, artists Claire Lloyd and Matthew Usmar Lauder stood on the water’s edge at Lettes Bay, a historic hamlet on Macquarie Harbour and home to a cluster of about 25 brightly coloured shacks. Captivated by the expanse of sweeping, still water flanked by rugged ranges and tangled rainforest, Claire drew breath. “Wow. What do we need to do to buy a place here?” An hour later, after Matthew had wandered around, he told Claire he’d met a local who was selling his shack. “I asked Claire what she thought,” Matthew says. “Unlike me, she’s an impulsive person, so it was an instant ‘yes’.”

This chance meeting led to their purchase of the bay’s most private shack (tucked against a steep precipice and overlooking the bay) and the couple’s renovation adventure in this extraordinary part of Tasmania’s wild west began.

This story excerpt is from Issue #154

Outback Magazine: April/May 2024