Customer Reviews

Review from
27 Mar 2009

Helvetia Swiss Retreat was a delightful home base for our self-drive holiday in Northern Tasmania. We stayed there for three days and explored the rich array of spectacular natural features which are all within a drivable radius. On the road in, you get a grand view of Mount Roland. Nearby is Lake Barrington, Devils Gate Dam and at Mole Creek there is the Alum Cliffs, Trowunna Wildlife Park and limestone caves. About one hour away is Cradle Mountain and Liffey Falls (simply majestic). Three days was not long enough to see it all!

This is boutique accommodation on a budget. While it is not modern, it is spotless, has all the comforts of home and is brimming with retro charm plus it has a wonderful wood-fire heater to make it a year-round possibility. At less than half the price of everything else we could find within reach of Cradle Mountain, we feel lucky to have found Helvetia and we were hesitant to share our discovery but we think it does deserve more recognition on the Internet.

Absolutely private: it feels like it is just you, sheep in the paddock and the mountains in the distance. There is one other unit which you share an entrance with, but you don’t even notice when they are there.

For meals, you can stock up at the Sheffield Supermarket and then self cater using the full kitchen. You could easily not leave for days-on-end and just enjoy the solitude. There are other culinary options: Sheffield has two bakeries, an old pub and one or two take-away and pizza places, nothing is really amazing. Further afield there is a honey farm at Chudleigh, more cafes in Deloraine, and the Elizabeth Town Cafe, well worth visiting at any time of the day.

Helvetia would only suit travellers with a car. It is on a farm, 5-10 minutes from the small town of Sheffield and is entered via an unsealed driveway. It is configured as a studio with the kitchen, dining, lounge and beds all in one big room. It has one double (not queen-size) bed and two singles which means it would be best for a couple or a very small family who can survive without privacy from one-another. Budget honeymooners should consider it. A small group of friends looking for backpacker accommodation would also love it. However, it would not be ideal for two couples unless they were all very close! The farm animals are friendly and can come up to the window at night and rub on it, which we loved but others may not. The retreat’s manager lives 100 metres away in a separate farm house and doesn’t bother you except to light the fire for you in the evening. This is a description of the left side unit and I don’t know if the one on the right is identical or not. The interior photos on the website are perfectly realistic so I haven't taken any.


TakeABreak Reviews

"After a long drive it was great to have a welcoming woodfire ablaze welcoming us to our second home. We all slept in the same room but the kids loved this and this increased our bonding experience. The sheep and goats were an added bonus as were the listening to the frogs croaking at night. It was lovely and quiet and the owner left us alone to enjoy our experience but was only 2 minutes away if we needed anything. A beautiful property with views of Mount Roland in the distant. Thanks. :)"
- Karen - September 11

"Quiet, clean tidy and well presented.
Nice gardens to roam around in with a 6 year old."
- Peter, TAS - March 10

"Very pleasant indeed. Prior to our arrival we had spent a week in the Tasmanian winter, but when we arrived at the Helvetia Retreat there was a fire in the stove and we felt warmer than we had in all our time in Tasmania. The proprietress was very friendly and made up the fire every day. The accommodation was very readily wheelchair accessible (including the bathroom which is sometimes difficult) and very comfortable. Our only regret is that we couldn't stay longer. "
- Jeff, SA - July 09