This summer, after months of preparation, Tasmanian Luxury Lodge Saffire Freycinet launched their newest and most immersive guest experience: The Saffire Beekeeping Experience.
For almost 10 years, Saffire Freycinet's range of unique and immersive experiences in Tasmania's natural environment have received world-wide acclaim, a variety of awards and extraordinary guest feedback – most notably the famous Freycinet Marine Farm Experience, ranking thirteen in Lonely Planet's global “Ultimate Eat-List” guidebook last year.
Guests can now trade the oyster farm waders for a full-body apiarist suit and venture into a nearby private apiary, overlooking the Hazards of Freycinet. With the safety and guidance of Saffire Horticulturalist, Rob 'The Bee Man' Barker, guests approach the hives to witness thousands of Tasmanian bees at work, and extract warm, fresh honeycomb to experience the breathtaking natural phenomenon of honey-making.
“With up to 60,000 bees per hive, beating their wings 230 times each second, this is actually quite an adrenalin-filled experience,” says Rob Barker, although his calming influence on both guests and bees alike ensures the bees are undisrupted throughout the encounter. “Such immersion in nature is as fascinating as it is exciting, particularly as bees are the cornerstone of our ecosystem, without which our world would be a very different place.”
The experience was launched mid-December 2018 and creates yet another link between Saffire guests and local producers of premium Tasmanian food and beverage. "Rob turned up at Saffire one day selling his locally produced honey," Saffire General Manager, Justin King. "We tried it, realised it was exceptional and began using it in our kitchen immediately – but it was Rob's passion for bees and the creation of honey that helped us realise there was a bigger opportunity here for our guests."
Saffire's culinary experience stipulates that 80% of produce is sourced locally on the island, with the Tasmanian-born executive chef Iain Todd often incorporating the raw, wild, unheated and pure honey from the apiary in a variety of dishes on the daily-changing menu.
The Freycinet Peninsula is rich in biodiversity, and Rob's bees forage happily on the area's flowering native flora such as the abundant and medicinal leptospermum scoparium (manuka), fragrant kunzea ambigua, and bursaria spinose (prickly box). The flavour of resulting honey is ever-changing with the strong seasonal variation, unlike monofloral varieties often found elsewhere. This results in a honey with a completely distinctive, unrepeatable flavour profile, and also has the highly sought-after medicinal qualities of manuka honey. “Talking to international guests, they're shocked at the flavour in Rob's honey because it has a terroir you just don't get in Europe and the United States,” says Chef, Todd.
As if the excitement of this new experience wasn't enough, the Saffire team are also 'buzzing' following yesterday's announcement that Saffire has been recognised as the Best Luxury Hotel in Australia and South Pacific 2019, by the world's largest travel website, TripAdvisor, for the fifth consecutive year in a row.
- Exciting new hive-to-honey experience, with immersive guided tour of local Freycinet apiary.
- Guided by Saffire's horticulturalist Rob Barker, producer of Wild Hives honey
- Guests equipped with beekeeping suits, for up-close look at bees creating Tasmanian honey.
- Exclusive to guests of Saffire Freycinet and included in the Saffire rate.