When all your favourite things – wine, spa treatments and a million-star experience are combined – there is much to like. Try vineyard glamping in Tasmania at Swinging Gate Vineyard near Launceston on the Tamar Valley Wine Route.
Swinging Gate Vineyard glamping in Tasmania with spa pampering
It’s the sort of view that you could lose yourself inside. Rows of hand pruned bare grapevines fading into the glowing orb of a setting sun framed by an oversized, triangulated window. Despite the rapidly approaching chill of a frosty night, I’m cosy on my king size bed, luxuriating under a thick throw rug with an electric blanket on standby. There’s everything I need almost within reach in this six-metre geodesic dome engineered to withstand anything a Tasmanian winter can throw at it.
Wake up to these views when vineyard glamping in Tasmania. Photo: Kerry Heaney
The Domescapes Pinot dome at Swinging Gate Vineyard on the Tamar Valley Wine Route looks a little like an igloo in a field of green. Hidden beneath the dome’s shiny stretched white exterior is a mellow wood-toned 28 square metre hotel-style room. It has all the high-end comforts you expect and need, including an ensuite. There’s a cute, pint-sized Smeg fridge filled with breakfast hamper goodies, a couple of almost ridiculously thick towels next to the ensuite and books to browse. The only thing missing is a television screen, replaced instead by a vineyard vista just above the mist. This is what you get when glamping in Launceston.
The dome has all the high-end comforts you expect and need, including an ensuite. Photo: Kerry Heaney
This glamping feel is luxury in a pared-back way combining the freedom of camping and the million-star views with a comfy mattress and heated dome.
The dome looks a little like an igloo amongst the green vineyards. Photo: Kerry Heaney
Swinging Gate Vineyard
Swinging Gate’s 9.3 hectares of vines were planted over 30 years ago. Still, it wasn’t until 2014 that this premium slice of the West Tamar valley started to receive the attention it deserves. Doug and Corrie Cox aided by rescue dog Nellie the Staffy took on restoring the vineyard and creating wine focusing on the deep and complex flavours in the cold climate grapes. Doug’s tender loving care has lifted the fruit yield from this neglected block from 20 to 80 tonnes a season.
Below: Swinging Gate Vineyard Photo: Kerry Heaney
Inside the Swinging Gate Winery cellar door. Photo Kerry Heaney
A 30-minute drive from Launceston, the Sidmouth vineyard is a popular day destination for locals who like the low fuss cellar door. Converted from a machinery shed’s raw bones, its rubbed back shabby chic-styled interior is warm and cosy with pops of pastel colour. It’s a bit too chilly to don the fluffy white robe and march up the hill from the dome for my massage at the day spa next to the cellar door. Instead, dreaming of a hot stone massage, I rug up with easy to peel off layers and venture off on the gravel path.
Glamping in Tasmania at a winery with a spa! How good is that? Photo: Kerry Heaney
Inside the day spa at Swinging Gate Vineyard. Photo: Kerry Heaney
Winery spa relaxation
Waiting for me next to the entrance is the rather serious face of Nellie. A wine dog calendar star, Nellie poses like a pro for a few shots holding her calendar but only to amuse the tiresome human I am sure. Later, with her paw firmly on top on my foot, she pronounces me acceptable. Inside the day spa at Swinging Gate Vineyard the gentle hands of Corrie smooth my tired flesh and find those tight muscle cores where I didn’t even know that it hurt. With skills honed over 15 years of experience, she massages, exfoliates and moisturises until my body feels like it belongs to someone else. Corrie’s handmade products incorporate Australian botanicals and soothe my soul as much as my skin.
What you’ll taste at Swinging Gate Wines. Photo: Kerry Heaney
There’s even more indulgence with a grazing platter and wine tasting at the cellar door after my massage. Doug leads me through wine flights of Pinot Gris, Frontignac, Rose and Pinot Noir to finish with his deliciously sticky Amarone style wine. A former horticulturist, Doug uses a light hand to coax his old vines on this delicate landscape. He says the cool nights and the block’s sunny aspect promote perfect conditions for premium wine production. For someone who started his winemaking career as a teenager using his mother’s bathtub, it’s a bit of a dream come true.
Later, tucked between high thread count sheets and reading by the soft glow of a bespoke wooden Swell pendant light shade, I’m somewhat amazed by the feeling of tranquil serenity. With the curtains pulled against the cold, the dome is a warm nest where you are cocooned from the world. In the morning, it’s hard to leave the bed’s warmth, but the need to unveil the vineyard’s beauty under a blue sky is strong, and I’m not disappointed. The breakfast basket reveals lots of local goodies which I enjoy before taking the slow road back to Launceston.
Nellie the winery dog. Photo: Kerry Heaney
Tamar Valley Wine Route
Producing premium cool climate wines, the Tamar Valley is Tasmania’s oldest wine-growing area. The valley is home to numerous vineyards within easy driving distance and there are plenty of cellar door tasting opportunities. The Tamar Valley Wine Route takes you through the valley on good roads and light traffic. You’ll enjoy the views of rich farmlands and stop at small towns and villages along the way.
Staying at Domescapes Swinging Gate Vineyard
There are three domes at Swinging Gate Vineyard, king-sized beds, all with ensuites. The Sauvingnon Glampers Dome has the extra twist of an outdoor bathtub. A Swinging Gate Vineyard cellar door wine tasting is included when you book. Find out more at Domescapes.
More things to do in Tasmania
- Have fun with these five top things to do in Launceston
- Enjoy the ultimate Tasmania seafood experience
- See snow in Australia
Disclaimer: Eat drink and be Kerry travelled as a guest of Tourism Tasmania.