When we built our Transit Hill Rooms in 1933, we had some excess building materials. Instead of storing them for another day, or selling them, we built a boat – the Albatross – and a boatshed to go with her. The boatshed was on the edge of the lagoon and stood for 50 years before some local kids, now adults (and, yes, we know who you are), flicked a cigarette butt into some mattresses and burnt the building to the ground.
Twenty-five years ago, we built a replacement boatshed in the same spot as its predecessor and still use it as a working boatshed today. We store boats, motors, fuel tanks, umbrellas, surf boards, anchors from local ship wrecks and all sorts of flotsam and jetsam from the Pacific Ocean. It’s also haunted, but that’s another story.
The boatshed deck is colonised every evening by our guests, with beer and wine in hand. You see, the boatshed deck is one of the best places in Australia to watch the sunset. No joke – they are consistently amazing. The clouds normally turn yellow, then orange, then pink, then purple, and underneath them to the left, Mt Gower and Mt Lidgbird put on their own dazzling light display. There are nights when at least 20 guests stand side by side with their cameras in the air to capture the moment. In the spring and summer, nesting Mutton birds return on dusk to their surrounding burrows and start their peculiar – some say spooky – calls. It’s a unique experience.
One night every week, we serve sunset canapés as an appetiser for our five-course dinner. Guests are offered duck summer rolls, peppered Yellowfin tuna, Sichuan spiced quail, grilled haloumi, zucchini fritters or any one of the many seasonal options. Like all hospitality people, we see a direct connection between the combined noise of guests and their level of enjoyment, and sunset drinks with canapés can be raucous.