'Flaming bays of fire!' exclaimed British explorer Captain James Cook when in 1770 he and his crew first spied the far northeast coast of Tasmania. The leafy green heath, speckled with wildflowers and lining a series of crescent-moon bays, was ablaze with fires set as part of a passive primeval land-management programme designed and implemented by the indigenous Aborigines to help regenerate vegetation. More than 200 years later, the Bay of Fires, as it became known, remains almost as pristine as when Cook sailed the Pacific Ocean. It is also the site of a luxury four-day trek on which guests are encouraged to have as little impact on the environment as the original inhabitants. The words trekking and luxury are rarely associated - except in this case. Run by the innovative Cradle Mountain Huts company, the Bay of Fires walk leads small groups into Tasmania's stunning Mount William National Park with three days of easy beach walking, stylish accommodation, down-to-earth service, scrumptious gourmet food and two fabulous guides. Our group met one crisp and early Launceston morning - three investment bankers, a wine maker, a 12-year-old girl, two vivacious young guides and me - before having our equipment checked, chomping down a few freshly picked local apples, jumping on a bus and heading for the beach. Our guides, two self-declared chocolate aficionados Rhyc and Jo, led us into the Bay of Fires, enchanting us with tales of Tasmania's weird and wonderful native flora, fauna and Aboriginal culture. A series of dazzling bays lined with snow-white sand and azure water, and enjoying a significantly milder climate than the rest of the island, the Bay of Fires was once a gathering place for Aborigines. These hunters and collectors migrated to Tasmania during the last ice age, and remained there, quietly co-existing with the world around them until the country was made a part of the British Empire - and the Tasmanian Aborigines were wiped out. Remnants of their 10,000-year history on the island remain, especially in the form of middens (shellfish graveyards) but also caves and rock art. The first night of the hike was spent at the Shed, a semi-permanent structure tucked behind sand dunes about four hours' walk from the bus drop-off. Eco-friendly, with solar power, gas and composting toilets, it looked like an oversized tent at a new-age boot camp. But there was nothing of the boot-camp about the menu. The food was fresh, gourmet and served in large quantities. Rhyc and Jo barbecued up a storm: porterhouse steaks, gourmet chicken sausages with Asian herbs, couscous salad with chargrilled vegetables, a gargantuan tray of antipasti - camembert, smoked cheese, almond and fig preserve, semi-dried tomatoes, marinated olives - and bottles of Tasmania's best beers and wines to wash it all down. And this was only the first night: there was better to come. The next morning, another perfect summer day, we continued down the glimmering coastline, past long beaches interrupted by sunburned boulders, small coves so coated with shells we could not see the sand, the occasional fishing boat and a scattering of the great Aussie dream: dilapidated fibro holiday shacks among the gum trees, with a dinghy out the front, a barbecue out the back and an old rocking chair. Denis couldn't stop smiling. For the 40-something investment banker from Melbourne, who frequently works in Hong Kong and Singapore, this was sheer heaven: two feet for transportation, no mobile phones, superb food, and the Lodge, our home for night two. No sooner had we arrived, bedraggled and perspiring, than ice-cold beers were presented, shortly followed by platefuls of scrumptious orange-liqueur cake and brownies, the chocolate still runny from the oven. The architect-designed, solar-powered Lodge is completely sustainable and is so integrated into its environment you don't notice it until you're standing in front of it. It can be reached only by foot, in line with the Cradle Mountain Huts' philosophy that the journey is as important as arriving. Getting there is worth the effort. The Lodge has million-dollar views looking out over a magnificent, pristine landscape of beaches, boulders, foliage in every hue of green and the infinite blue of the Tasman Sea. It is also pretty swanky, with open-plan living quarters, floor-to-ceiling windows and deckchairs on the verandah just itching for another round of beers. We put our feet up there for the next two nights, interrupted only by a little sea-kayaking. Later we would take the short walk out to the nearest road where the bus was waiting with more food, and a fresh supply of chocolate, but first there was a forest-lined river to explore. We paddled down it to the ocean, spotting sea eagles, racing each other and mortified as 12-year-old Toddy and her father held the lead. This is one of the most beautiful stretches on Australia's beach-a-plenty coastline and must have been paradise for the Aboriginal tribes that fished abalone, lobster and oysters from its bountiful waters. Fortunately, that paradise remains intact. The walk was not difficult, but a reasonable level of fitness is recommended. Accompanying children must be over 12. Three-night, four-day, all-inclusive Bay of Fires walks leaving from Launceston cost A$1,465 (HK$8,900). Tours operate from October to the end of April. For details, contact Cradle Mountain Huts, tel: 613 63 312006; fax: 613 63 919338; www.cradlehuts.com.au .