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Sunday 23 January 2022

Dogs are valued guests at a Tasmanian beachfront hideaway


There is something special about sharing a holiday with the whole family - including furry friends. 

It is even more special when you are staying in a beach shack just 50 metres from the ocean, waking and falling asleep to the sound of the waves. 

For the past two days the three of us have been enjoying our own delightful beach shack right on the ocean on Tasmania's East Coast. 

That's my wife and I and dog Albi; who usually has to be left at home when we travel. 

Dog lovers living in, or visiting, Tasmania should jot down the name of Sandpiper Ocean Cottages, where well behaved dogs (sit Albi!) are not only allowed but welcome. 

Albi has raced up and down deserted Denison Beach (above), sat on an enclosed veranda overlooking the ocean and snuffled around the bush. And slept. A lot.

Sandpiper Ocean Cottages are located just 8km north of Bicheno on the East Coast of Tasmania right on Denison Beach, which is often completely deserted. 

You are a 30-minute drive to Freycinet National Park and iconic Wineglass Bay, while the Bay of Fires is an hour to the north. 

Set on four acres of coastal gardens, each cottage at Sandpiper is private, spacious and well equipped for a stay of however long you wish.

There are some lovely touches like tea, coffee, biscuits, breakfast provisions (including eggs from the family hens and local jam). 

There is also a mini bar with wines from McLean Bay (grapes grown just down the road) and Thorne Clark “Sandpiper”.

Think fully equipped kitchens, laundry facilities and decks on which to wile away the hours with a book. There are spacious lounge and dining areas, wood fires in most cabins and covered rear decks with gas barbecues.

A private trail takes you the two minutes down to the beach, where you can walk barefoot for miles on the white sands, swim safely or fish from the beach.

The two-bedroom cottages are called Sandpiper, Beachcomber and Driftwood and can sleep up to five people. 

Hanalei is wheelchair/elderly friendly with walk-in shower, ramp access and extra wide doors.

We stayed in Ocean View (below); modern, fully self-contained and designed for couples. There are views of the ocean and Albi made himself very much at home on a specially provided blanket on the couch. 

"We love dogs, as we have two of our own, and we want them to enjoy themselves just as much as their owners," say owners John and Annette Hughes. "A lot of he time we find dogs are better behaved than children." 

For those wanting a bit more space and seclusion, The Beach House is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with ocean views on 40 acres with its own beach access. It sleeps six people.

Now the nitty gritty. Sandpiper Cottages charges a flat $10 fee for each dog, and each cottage has its own gated deck. Pooches are welcome inside (though not on the beds) but are not allowed to roam free on the property due to the local wildlife. The beach, however, is a different matter. Seagulls beware.

Sandpiper Cottages have beach gear (chairs, umbrella, boogie boards) to share. Dusk and dawn bring out the local pademelons, quolls, devils, wombats and deer.

Just down the road the delightful holiday village of Bicheno has shops, community garden galleries, the "must visit" Farm Shed East Coast Wine and Gin Centre, Blue Edge Bakery, Food and Brew, the Sea Life Restaurant or the Beachfront pub.

Wander over the the Gulch (above) and enjoy fish and chips or crayfish from Tasmanian Coastal Seafoods or the Lobster Shack.

Take a glass-bottom boat ride or fish from the pier, take a Bicheno Penguin Tour or Devils in the Dark Tour. Or just explore the many coves and beaches.

There are several cellar doors close by: Pop into Freycinet Vineyard for a bottle of delicious dry riesling, Devil's Corner, Spring Vale, Gala Estate, Milton or Craigie Knowe, with its own on-site patisserie.

I've saved the best news for last. Low-season tariffs at Sandpiper Ocean Cottages start from just $170 per night. And if you stay for three nights or more, mention Gourmet on the Road and get a free bottle of wine. Deal!

Book direct on for guaranteed best deals. See for holiday ideas.

# The writer was a guest of Sandpiper Ocean Cottages and East Coast Tasmania but plans to return as a paying guest.

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