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History inspires Recherche resort

Edition158 Canoe

Celebrated architect Robert Morris-Nunn has drawn up preliminary plans for a unique floating eco-tourist resort at Recherche Bay.

Professor Morris-Nunn plans a series of seven moored barges, each bearing a two-storey building, in a design inspired by the water craft of the first Tasmanians and his own recently completed floating pier at Brooke Street in Hobart’s CBD.

The architect who designed the globally acclaimed Saffire resort at Freycinet, said: “I’d like to think it could have a transformational effect on Tasmania.

“If I had to be specific, I’d like to think it could be the best thing I have ever done.”

The luxury resort would include only 20 suites with a dining area for 45 guests on a main central pontoon which could echo the hull shape of an 18th century European sailing ship. Positioned in a beautiful bay that was the scene of an amicable meeting between French explorers and indigenous Tasmanians in the 1790s, the resort will interweave Aboriginal, French and modern Tasmanian themes.

“It will have an international dimension with its direct French links, and we feel it will bring to our shores a very different breed of traveller, one with a cultured sense of intellectual inquiry,” Professor Morris-Nunn wrote in The Mercury in February.

“It will become an exemplary example of the best in international cultural tourism.”

The project has passed the first stage of the State Government’s expressions of interest process for wilderness developments and was quickly given a public endorsement by the Tasmanian Greens.

One-time Chairman of the Tasmanian Heritage Council and former CEO of the Conservation Trust, Michael Lynch, is a co-proponent of the project.

Mr Lynch said: “When somebody of Robert’s calibre comes along with an idea that respects the land, but at the same time enables people to appreciate it, how could you not be involved?”

The resort itself will only be accessible by boat or seaplane.

Some land along the nearby shoreline will need to be leased to enable construction of proposed backpacker’s accommodation, a visitors’ centre with a café and a market garden featuring varieties of vegetables and herbs similar to those planted nearby by French explorers in the 1790s.

“Had circumstances turned out differently, the visits of the French and the repercussions arising out of these historical events could have created a vastly different future for Australia,’’ Professor Morris-Nunn said.

“I really want French to be spoken at this resort; the English can be there as a second language. I would love to be greeted by someone [with] an absolutely thick French accent.

“I think [the resort] would be a very significant drawcard – it is sort of what David Walsh does with his artworks.

“He challenges people and they love it and I think this could be the same.”

Tourism Industry Council Tasmania spokesman, Luke Martin, said the project could define Tasmania for decades to come.

“It is on water, it would be extremely low impact, it could be moved in the future,” Mr Martin said. “When you have a signature project like this for a destination, it generates tourism for the whole region.”

Meanwhile, the Government has also given first-stage approval to a proposal by tourism entrepreneur Simon Currant for guided tours to a Mt Read Huon pine tree that is accepted as the planet’s oldest continuous living organism at 10,500 years. In addition, a tree-climbing course in the Mount Field National Park, a surfing centre at Goat Bluff and a 40-bed boat to cruise the Gordon River are among 13 proposals to receive first-stage approval in February.

5 March 2015, Edition 158

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