If the island State of Tasmania is Australia’s heart-shaped earring, the Tasman Peninsula is Tasmania’s H-shaped dangling decoration, linked with the rest of the state by an isthmus only 100 m wide. It is certainly one of the State’s gems with an unusual and spectacular coastline, great natural beauty, and historical significance.
Port Arthur is on the “must do” list of every visitor to Tasmania, and we’ve been there many times, so we took that off our list. But that left more than enough other Peninsula “must do’s” for several visits.
Our first visit was hosted by my sister and her husband, and as lovers of nature, Tasmania, history and walking they were enthusiastic and well-informed guides. Here are some of the things we saw and did over two days… click on any photo to enlarge it – and in some cases read the text.
Dunalley’s ravaging by bushfire in January 2013 brought it to the world’s attention, but in Tasmania and to many tourists it is famous for this place (which survived the inferno): it still sells (freshly prepared) fish & chips without a list of options and wrapped in newsprint like my generation: remembers.
We weren’t up to F&C at 10 am but the Fish Market’s photoboard of the day when Dunalley lost so much did grab us.
Dunalley’s best-known resident is always relaxed and happy despite living in the Canal.
This view of the Tasman Peninsula’s east coast is rightly world famous.
My brother-in-law is a retired engineer and felt the urge to work out on the b each the sun’s angle on one of the shortest days of the year: Sloping Beach.
The Coal Mines at Saltwater River were one of the many enterprises worked by convicts in the early 18th century. The workforce lived and worked in terrible conditions and the coal was of poor quality.
The Saltwater Coal Mines convict outstation were located (as were so many convict stations) in a place of great beauty – and remoteness.
Recalcitrant convicts were punished by being confined to underground cells.
These cells were tiny, solitary and admitted no light… just imagine.
These tiny cells let in some fresh air through this small opening, fitted with a baffle to keep light out.
The Remarkable Cave has two inlets at the ocean end. When I last visited here in the 1960s safety was less stringent and at low tide we could walk through the cave and photograph the two entrances.
Tasman N Park’s Maingon Blowhole is one of many along this craggy coastline.
On Crescent Bay Beach with Cape Pillar and Tasman Island behind us – but more interesting things to see.
The dolerite columns of Cape Raoul were used during World War 1 to train gunners!
The most visited of the Peninsula’s many blowholes is at Eaglehawk Neck.
Tasman’s Arch is also large on the tourist trail but just one of several grand coastal rock formations.
The Devil’s Kitchen is just as dangerous as the other coastal formations near Eaglehawk Neck. This break in the rock cliffs has lost its arch.
The National Park people have done well to explain how this region’s spectacular features were formed.
On another day we took a boat cruise along the Tasman Peninsula’s east coast. Here is Tasman’s Arch as seen from the water.
And the Devil’s Kitchen as seen from our powerful cruise boat.
Is this what gave Waterfall Bay its name?
We lost count of the caves, blowholes, arches, gulches and rock columns…
The boat’s skipper sometimes voyages through this arch – but not this time, thank you.
… and the rocky islands.
The Candlestick with its more solid neighbour, the Lantern, are the best known of the sea stacks or dolerite columns, and (believe it or not) they are a mecca for (some) climbers.
Cape Pillar has the highest sheer rock faces in Australia – 300m or 1,000 feet.
Off Tasman Island we spotted a Southern Right whale and calf – despite trying to follow them for almost an hour this was the best photo I could get.
We passed several seal colonies basking in the sun – the rock stata and patterns were also fascinating.
These seals showed some interest in having their photo taken.
Tasman Island and its lighthouse are landmarks for sailors on Tasmania’s East Coast.
When Tasman Island’s light was manned, supplies and staff were landed by ropeway to this strage and then hauled up the steep trackway!
Not my photo but taken from the Tasman Island Cruises’ website. My sister witnessed this display when she and her family took this cruise!
Our cruise vessel and fellow passengers: a nimble little ship with 1400 hp to keep us out of trouble.
The boat – another website photo I could never have captured myself.
On our final day we visited the Tesselated Pavement, also at Eaglehawk Neck – amazing geology which I won’t explain here.
On the Tesselated Pavement we admired these Masked Lapwings (Vanellus miles) which as kids I knew just as terra firma loving plovers…
… and these hardy beach-birds, a pair of Pied Oystercatchers (Haematopus longirostris).