This is a place with an undoubted cache, somewhere you go to enjoy a special time away in Tasmania, where you can expect the finest food and wines and probably the best collection of whiskeys anywhere. Saffire has just been awarded "Best Fine Dining Restaurant" and "Best Deluxe Accommodation" in the state at the Tasmanian Hospitality Association Awards for Excellence. It is architecturally stunning and environmentally friendly and it is set neatly and unobtrusively in a corner of Coles Bay.
It is a 'now you see it, now you don't', beautifully appointed complex which has a policy of low lights so that the environment is not unduly disturbed or lit up. The substantial villas or bungalows have the very latest gadgets and facilities available and the service is next to none. So, all I can say is that this needs to be savoured and experienced in all its glory.
But today the reason for writing about Saffire is to introduce you to some little devils - when we were there, we met Murray a Tasmanian Devil who was a small male. Murray found it hard to cope with the women in his life, but he soldiered on and lived a happy and pampered life.
His keeper would make sure he was given the bets bits of kill and that he was protected from the ladies when he needed time alone or in the company of his brother Malcolm. The devils are all in a comfortable enclosure on the premises and it was actually great to be able to talk to the warden and hear about their individual stories and histories.
He knows each one well and can explain their behaviour and habits in a very engaging way. We watched them eat and play and by the end of our stay grew quite fond of the slightly nervous and hapless Murray, who seemed to get chased by some of the stronger, younger, more energetic women devils.
I have just heard that Murray has been put to sleep because he had reached the ripe old age of seven. Saffire reported that "Murray was showing the effects of extreme old age. He had some muscle wastage and deterioration in his hind legs, which is not uncommon in very old devils. His appetite certainly wasn't affected at all, but he found it harder to move around and his quality of life was compromised."
He had enjoyed a long and happy life.That made me momentarily sad as he was such a character but the lively girls, Weenie and Moinee, are carrying on without him, though his brother Malcolm feels his absence.
The happy news is that the little group have now received some new members, Freya, Lucy and Suzy Smiles who have all adjusted happily to their new home and so the family is bigger and perhaps more robust.
As most of you know, the Tasmanian Devil has been ravaged by the Facial Tumour disease which has seen its numbers drop to the point where their future survival was in doubt. Recently, however, scientists have discovered some heartening news - that the cure may be in the devils themselves. The Devils own antibodies may prove to be an effective remedy to the disease. Scientists could develop vaccines which stimulate production of these antibodies in a process which is called "active immunotherapy", something which is being pioneered in human cancers as well.
So if you are in Freycinet, don't miss visiting these little devils and taking an active part in their survival. They need your support and the small reward is staying at the fabulous Saffire