Blue Lake Lodge is a luxurious getaway on the shores of Tasmania’s Arthurs Lake, which provides some of the world’s best trout fishing.

Story By Andrew Bain

Tasmania's Central Highlands are littered with lakes but among anglers one lake stands apart. Arthurs Lake is the state’s fourth-largest body of water, and the second-largest in the highlands, but it’s the trout in its waters that truly makes Arthurs Lake a Camelot.

Tasmania’s Inland Fisheries Service notes the lake as having more anglers than any other waters in the state. For John Cowley, owner of Blue Lake Lodge, the only lodge on the shores of Arthurs Lake, the attraction of fishing at Arthurs Lake is even more palatable. “This lake has the best-tasting fish,” John says.

Set among a forest of gums and a jumble of rock, Blue Lake Lodge is all but hidden from the outside world. By Tasmanian standards it feels remote – there’s no mobile-phone coverage and a ridge isolates it from the sound or sight of any road traffic. Even boats on the lake get only a tree-shielded glimpse of the lodge. Yet for all that, it’s less than two hours’ drive from both Hobart and Launceston, providing quick and easy access to a trout paradise.

Not that everything here is about fish. When John and wife Janina purchased Blue Lake Lodge in 2007, neither were fly-fishers, giving them an outside perspective. “I just loved the serenity of the place,” Janina says. The Hobart born-and-bred businesswoman spent several decades working in Queensland and loves being back on the Apple Isle. It’s also a welcome change of pace for former News Limited executive John, who spent more than 40 years working across Australia and in London and Hong Kong for Rupert Murdoch. Together, John and Janina are accommodating hosts, keen to share their unique piece of bush and love of the lake with visitors, especially now water levels are up after years of drought.

In front of the lodge, overlooking the lake, the couple has added a large deck resembling the prow of a ship and beneath the deck created a wine cellar capable of storing about 700 bottles.

With the lodge nestled among 40 hectares of almost entirely native scrub, they also carved out four walking trails. One heads into the so-called Prairie, a clearing of lichen-splashed rocks and hauntingly beautiful dead trees where it’s common to see deer. Another trail goes to the Devils’ Den, winding through scrub littered with wombat scat to a hollow once regularly visited by a family of Tasmanian devils. Devils are still occasionally sighted, and there’s a chair set back from the den for discreet viewing. John and Janina are currently creating a fifth trail that heads into a rocky cove inhabited by a number of wombats.

This story excerpt is from Issue #77

Outback Magazine: June/July 2011