The rest of our time on the Tasman Peninsula

In addition to Port Arthur we made sure to visit some of the number of other points of interest while we were on the Tasman Peninsula. A short drive north-west of  Port Arthur is the Coal Mines Historic Site. Entry is free and you can take a self guided tour around what was Tasmania’s first operational mine. There are plenty of signs explaining the history of the area and a good couple of hours can be spent here exploring the whole site. Convict labour was used here and was generally made up of those from Port Arthur that continued to misbehave. It was a bit hard to reconcile the beauty of the surroundings with the harsh living conditions that would have been prevalent during the mine’s operation.

Coal Mines Historic Site

Coal Mines Historic Site

Striking a pose at the Coal Mines

Striking a pose at the Coal Mines

Coal Mine Ruins

Coal Mine Ruins

To the south of Port Arthur we visited Remarkable Cave. There is beach access to the cave but we took ourselves down to the viewing platform via some steps which were accessible from the Safety Cove Road car park. We spent some time watching the water flow through the cave and also took a number of photos. What we didn’t realise, until we later spoke to someone else staying out the back of the Dunalley Pub, that one of the remarkable features  is that the opening at the beach end of the cave, when viewed on a particular angle, is actually shaped like Tasmania.


Remarkable Cave - see the map of Tassie at the end?

Remarkable Cave – see the map of Tassie at the end?

A short walk from the car park took us to the Maingon Bay Lookout which provided yet another glimpse of the awesome coastline. If you are into something a bit more extreme than our preferred low-speed amble apparently this is also a popular place for rock climbing.

Maingon Bay

Maingon Bay

During our time at Port Arthur we had learnt about Eaglehawk Neck. This is a small strip of land that use to be referred to as ‘the key to the peninsula’. This is because it connects the Tasman Peninsula to mainland Tasmania. It is basically a small strip of land around 400m long and in some places  only 30m wide.

When Port Arthur was being used as a penal colony the neck was heavily patrolled by soldiers and also comprised the infamous Dog Line. This was made up of nine half-starved dogs chained in a line along the width of the neck. Their job was to detect and bring attention to  any convicts that had managed to escape from Port Arthur and were trying to make it to the mainland. A number of dogs were even placed on pontoons on the water in case escapees tried to make a swim for it!

On the neck there is a statue of one of the dogs as well as some of the original soldiers quarters, which you can have a look through. In one part of the building there is  an audio presentation explaining  how a small group of convicts did actually make it across to the mainland. One of these was Martin Cash who  managed to escape twice and is considered Tasmania’s best known bushranger. He eventually saw the error of his ways and after sometime became a free man.

Guard dog on Eaglehawk Neck

Guard dog on Eaglehawk Neck

Eaglehawk Neck is also the place from which to visit the  Tessellated Pavement,  Tasman Blowhole, Tasman Arch, Devil’s Kitchen and admire an awesome view over Pirate’s Bay.

The Tesselated Pavement can be viewed from above or you can actually go down and have a walk on it. There is some information which explains how the patterns have been formed over time due to a combination of erosion and chemical reactions. We went down and had a look and the kids tried their hand at catching some of the tiny crabs that were darting around.

Looking down towards the tessellations

Looking down towards the tessellations


The Tessellated Pavement

The Tessellated Pavement

The Tasman Arch and Devil’s Kitchen are spectacular coastal rock formations that are within walking distance of each other. By now the kids were a little walked out so we didn’t spend a very long time here. One place that we all enjoyed though was the lookout over Pirate’s Bay. It was just beautiful.

Tasman Arch

Tasman Arch

Pirate's Bay

Pirate’s Bay

We managed to cram quite a lot into our time spent in this area but there were a number of other things that we didn’t quite get to before we had to head back to Hobart for school and work.

It seems to be that the more we do see of Australia, the more we realise we haven’t seen!

It was around this time that the kids and I actually flew home to Perth for a week. A number of housekeeping things had cropped up  needing attention and having extended our stay in Tasmania, the 18 month stretch for the grandparents not seeing the grandkiddies just seemed a little too long.

We didn’t tell anyone we were coming and literally jumped on the plane within two days of making the decision. The look on my Mum’s face was priceless and even my no-nonsense Dad’s jaw dropped. As for Paul’s Dad, we caught him with his pants down, literally!

The week was a blur and over before we knew it. I now have more sympathy for people who live interstate or overseas and visit for holidays. Trying to see everyone was manic. Of course we couldn’t get round to everyone  but it was nice to touch base with as many as we could. Realising that everything was the same old same old and that their friends hadn’t changed and did remember them, the kids were more than happy to jump  on the plane back to Paul in Hobart.

I think they also wanted to escape my Dad  as he had taken advantage of the extra hands and keen eyesight and put them to work!

Working for Pop. Barbie & Ken are there but Emma has disappeared!

Working for Pop, being supervised by Barbie & Ken!

I really should mention what champs the kids were and how easy they made it for me to travel with the three of them. We left Perth on the redeye to Melbourne and then hung around Tullamarine Airport in the early hours of the morning for the connecting flight to Hobart. They took everything in their stride and we were both very proud of their behaviour.

Of course after catching up on some sleep and being back to normal with Mum & Dad it was once again game on!

So, you ask. What did Paul do without us and when he wasn’t at work?



8 responses to “The rest of our time on the Tasman Peninsula

  1. Love that pic at the coal mines, maybe a tripod is in order so you too can be in the shot Helen!

    • It is a good shot isn’t it? It was a very quick random shot and I think that will go in a frame eventually. I’m pretty sure we have a tripod in storage in Perth – very handy! Paul is dealing with his allergy to taking photos much better these days. Upgrading to an iphone definitely helped. Now he quite often whips it out (the phone) to use the in built camera.

  2. Tasmina sure looks so green! And sounds like there is so much to see and do 🙂
    Love the idea of visiting family with out telling them – and staying to see everyone (almost everyone) before catching a plane back to Hobart! That is a good size fish!

    • Surprising family and friends WAS a lot of fun! One of Paul’s workmates was a mad keen fisherman. Could you guess that Tuna became a staple while we were in Tas?

  3. Great pics… extraordinary pavements… even more reason to visit Tas!

  4. I do love Tasmania. I have been there once before but DAMN it is cold! I wouldn’t want to go there in winter. Glad to see you are having a great time in ‘almost’ Australia.

    It is the north of Australia I want to be this winter. Pity I have to wait till enxt winter till we start our journey.

    • Yep, Tasmania is cold that’s for sure! However we were also there for a mini heatwave when the temps soared into the high 30’s and even into the 40’s one day! Really appreciate the comment and I am sure your departure date will be upon you before you know it. Have had a quick squiz at your wonderful blog and when have time will offer some pearls of wisdom – cos we’re so good at this, hey!


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