It would be a shame if on your way to visit the well-known Port Arthur Historic site, that you didn’t stop and experience the rugged yet surprisingly beautiful Tasman Peninsula.
Even if you have no interest in Australia’s early convict history, the natural attractions here are more than worthy of a few days’ exploration. If you have more time to spare than a long weekend, even better!
The Tasman Peninsula is an easy 90-minute drive from the Tasmanian capital of Hobart. The natural bushland setting is a real attraction of the area and much of the peninsula is protected as a national park.
COASTAL ROCK FORMATIONS
Geographically speaking, the Tasman Peninsula is fascinating. The dolerite sea cliffs, the tallest in the Southern Hemisphere, rise majestically above the ocean. Other unique natural wanders include the Tessellated Pavement, the Blow Hole, the Tasman Arch, the Devil’s Kitchen and the Remarkable Cave. Apart from the sea cliffs, which are viewed best by boat or walking trail, these attractions are easily accessible by car or tour bus.
WALKS AND HIKES
Tasmania is well known for its walking and hiking opportunities and the Tasman Peninsula is no excepting with no less than 5 of Tasmania’s 60 great short walks located here. The Tasman Peninsula is also home to the well-known Three Capes Walk: a four-day and three-night journey exploring the unique coastline of the Tasman Peninsula.
The Tasmanian pademelon (which is found nowhere else in the world) and Bennett’s wallabies are a common sight when exploring the Tasman Peninsula. Echidnas, possums and wombats can be spotted too.
If your holiday isn’t complete without the ocean spray in your hair as the boat under you scuds across the water, you will be pleased to know that fur seals, penguins, dolphins and migrating wales are also spotted regularly here.
Most people visit the Tasman Peninsula on a day tour from Hobart to see the Port Arthur Historical Site, but there is a lot more history to be explored here.
The Historic Mine site is a fantastic free place to visit. Explore the crumbling ruins of the mine site at your own pace and walk into the old, dark, solitary confinement cells. The worst behaved offenders from The Port Arthur Penitentiary were sent here for hard labour.
The Dog Line is a historic site of interest located at Eaglehawk Neck, a 30-metre-wide isthmus that in convict times was guarded by a line of dogs to prevent convicts escaping. Now a museum, you can view the officers’ quarters still standing today.
WHERE TO STAY
Port Arthur Holiday Park is located only 12 minutes from the centre of Port Arthur. It’s beautiful natural setting and the small, curious and incredibly cute pademelons that visit at dusk and dawn are a real highlight.
Accommodation options include water view cabins, bunkhouses, safari tents, ensuite and powered/unpowered sites. The facilities are modern and clean and include a playground, camp kitchen, pump track, outdoor pizza oven and fire pits.
GETTING THERE AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne. From there, you can either ferry across the Bass Strait on the iconic ‘Spirit of Tasmania’. If you are pressed for time, catch a domestic flight directly into Hobart.