Tuesday 24 May 2016
Hansard of the legislative council

Thousand Lakes Lodge

Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Mr President, I welcome back the member for Apsley - she is more settled than when we last saw her here.  I also congratulate and welcome our new member for Elwick.  Well done.
The Antarctic training facility, Bernacchi Lodge, in the Central Highlands, 12 kilometres west of Liawenee, was a very sad sight until recently with sheets of wall cladding flapping in the wind from the building, which was abandoned in 1999.  It was planned to be demolished a few years ago.  The Bernacchi Lodge was built at Lake Augusta in 1980 at a cost of $425 000 to train and prepare Antarctic staff for their expeditions.  It was named after Louis Bernacchi, a Tasmanian who, in 1899, was a member of the first party to spend a year in Antarctica.
The building is no longer in a state of disrepair.  It has been repurposed as a premium alpine wilderness lodge that will be a very warm and welcoming haven for those who are exploring the World Heritage Area.  It will provide convenient and contemporary accommodation to be a base for walkers, anglers and adventure seekers alike.  Bernacchi Lodge has just been renamed.  I was there about three weeks ago with Marcos Ambrose and when he was showing me around he said there are a thousand lakes in this area.  I did not realise that in the Central Highlands there are a thousand lakes.  I did not realise he was workshopping the new name for the lodge which is the Thousand Lakes Lodge.
It is expected to open in August/September after expenditure of about $1.3 million and the developers are already taking bookings for a full public opening in October.  There are nine rooms and 13 bathrooms so wherever you get caught short in the building you will be quite okay.  There are five investors in the lodge with NASCAR and the former V8 driver Marcos Ambrose leading the redevelopment.
The developers are sensitive to establishing a low impact, sensible redevelopment as they convert an old piece of Tasmanian infrastructure into their contemporary and unique experience.  They are working closely with all stakeholders in the World Heritage Area including, of course, Parks and Wildlife which took over the lodge when the Commonwealth gave it to Tasmania all those years ago.
Bernacchi Lodge Pty Ltd was recently successful in gaining $340 000 from the Tasmanian jobs and investment funding.  That grant money will go towards interpretation work inside the building.  With all the work that has gone on, with the reclamation and the revegetation, the recreational vehicle park, it is going to be a superb facility.  I know that Marcos and his fellow investors have carefully researched the categories of potential guests and have developed a very sophisticated marketing strategy.  It is obvious it is going to be a major tourism asset.
Their primary demographic is well-educated professionals, aged over 50, who enjoy being active and have a sense of discovery.  When they go on holidays, they prefer areas to be less crowded and more interesting places, and they want to keep on learning, which is the important thing for them.  They do want to attract younger people like ourselves who seek adventure and off-the-beaten track experiences.  These will include anglers and their bookings would be aligned with the trout fishing season from August to April.  We have a sad, derelict building with its outer wall flapping in the wind of the Central Plateau transformed into a tourism asset because of the vision of Marcos Ambrose and his fellow investors.  This state is again proving that we have people with vision and determination to accomplish what others may have seen as a demolition exercise.