The little penguins of Low Head are nothing if not predictable. Every evening the colony gathers in the shallows near the mouth of the Tamar River on the north coast of Tasmania, waiting for the cover of darkness. As the purple sky fades to black, tour guide Cindy Darko leads us to the beach as the first penguins pluck up the courage to make the dash. She shines a yellow torch beam on the forerunners, like a spotlight illuminating escaping convicts. Where one goes, the rest follow, and we watch spellbound as dozens waddle the gauntlet straight past our feet, over the rocks and to their nesting boxes burrowed among the box thorn bushes. Many of the boxes – designed to keep the birds safe from predators – were assembled by local school children, who even adorned the interiors with artwork.

It’s only a few minutes’ drive back to Low Head Beach House, our own sleek, three-bedroom nesting box in the sand dunes, clad in zinc and anchored by stone, nestled above a gently curving beach. Full height glazed sliding doors frame a view you could never tire of, across Lagoon Bay to the comely Low Head Lighthouse on the headland, and over the river – an estuary, really – that weaves 70 woozy kilometres inland to Launceston.

While the home is embedded in the landscape, the landscape is also embedded in the home. During construction beautifully coloured pebbles were collected from nearby East Beach and sprinkled onto the aggregate in the polished concrete floor. Like the penguin’s nesting boxes, local artwork colours the interior, with Launceston artist Nigel Lazenby’s brilliantly coloured renderings of she-oak seeds popping against the home’s neutral palette. The result is a home that home that dazzles every bit as much as the pebbles…

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