Sarah Andrews lives life on her own terms – but this wasn’t always the case. For years, she tried to live a regular life, (‘wife, mortgage, stuff, job’) but what she really longed for was to be on the road, with no one to check in with, and nowhere to be.
This pipe dream eventually became Sarah’s reality, when she set off to sail from Mexico to Australia. Unfortunately, Sarah got caught in a storm that saw the boat she had called home, and the life ‘she was deeply in love with and never wanted to leave,’ sink to the depths of the ocean. Sarah says, ‘I’ve been searching for a place ever since to rest again. I found it here, and in this little cabin. I’m the captain, and she’s my rest.’
Sarah first came about this Strahan property when flicking through a copy of Country Style magazine in 2016. ‘I saw a tiny insert about a fishing village in the middle of nowhere that time forgot in Tasmania. I saw a little shack perched on the edge. I made a few phone calls, it was for sale, and I bought it on the spot.’
The plan was for the property to become Sarah’s home, so she set out to design her absolute dream space. On the top of her list – at least six spots to sit, so no matter where you were in the home, you could gaze out at the water. ‘Who needs function? I want beauty. A bath, and to watch the stars from it. A timeless slice of the universe, that always was and always will be.’
Getting the space up to scratch required significant work – far more than Sarah anticipated when she put in that hasty offer! She arrived to find the property had no power, no water, and was on such a lean that she experienced horrible vertigo.
With little budget to spare, Sarah set out across the state to source old doors and windows to give the space its wonderfully eclectic, lived-in feel. ‘The isolation was incredibly difficult,’ she recalls. ‘It was just me in my little car, driving all over Tasmania for bits and bobs. It took time, and patience, and frustration.’
A few months into the renovation, life intervened (‘a surprise divorce and a scary health diagnosis’) and Sarah decided the property would instead become short-term accommodation. ‘My secret place really needed to, quite quickly, help support me financially through a tough time. Which, spoiler alert, it did.’
Others had doubts about this vision, but Sarah always believed in its potential. She recalls a time a local came up to her and said ‘You know you’ll only rent this four weeks a year over the high season, don’t you? No one visits any other time.’ Today, Captains Rest is booked solid, months in advance.
The reviews of Captains Rest speak for themself. Against all the odds, Sarah has created a remarkable space that’s become both her financial and mental saviour, and is cherished by all those who frequent it. ‘Here, I am happiest. And it’s strange to me that everyone else is too. It’s come as a total shock to me that maybe I am not so different after all.’