The Devils Kitchen near Eaglehawk Neck

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© Copyright Peter W. Wilkins


Take a trip along the Convict Trail

It is hard to comprehend the conditions prisoners had to endure at the penal settlements of Tasmania and Norfolk Island. Cold, wet, whipped and starved, they were forced to work at menial jobs without complaint, sometimes choosing the 'Easy Way Out' rather than endure the provocation and degradation heaped upon them.
A short drive from Hobart will take you to the ruins of the penal settlement at Port Arthur, much as it was when transportation ceased and it was closed in 1877.
This is no short tour. You will see the cells, solitary confinement areas, old church and a host of other significant historical buildings. Of a night a 'Ghost Tour' visits places where your guide relates tales which will chill you to the bone.

This is Tasmania's premier attraction and you should allow time to explore it.
There are plenty of things to see and do along the way to Port Arthur. At Copping there is a Convict Museum open seven days where you can explore the background to the convict period and enjoy a coffee and snack while you learn more from the informative staff. At Dunalley there is a man made canal joining Frederick Henry and Blackman bays and eliminating the long haul around Tasman Island for fishermen and mariners needing quick access to and from the east coast. At Taranna there is a chocolate factory offering locally made chocolates including a ginger flavoured one which is my favourite. The Tasmanian Devil Park is also here and at magnificent Eaglehawk Neck there are a great number of attractions including the Tasman Blowhole, Tasman Arch, the Devil's Kitchen, the Tesselated Pavement, and the quaint town of Doo Town, where all the houses are named 'Do' Something, like, 'Do Drop Inn' or 'Do Nothing', etc.

West of Taranna the Coal Mines Historic Site is fascinating and gives an insight into what conditions prisoners were forced to work under in their daily labours, and, on the actual neck of Eaglehawk Neck there is a sculpture of a dog on a chain near its kennel, illustrating how dogs were chained teeth to teeth across the neck to deter any prisoners who contemplating escape by that way.
A drive from Copping towards Orford along the Wielangta Forest Drive (loose surface) is rewarding with great stands of old growth forest and lookouts over the peninsula, and there are many galleries, museums and places to get a snack or a cup of coffee. The Lufra Hotel at Eaglehawk Neck is one of Australia's Oldest and was once visited by Mark Twain who recommended it toi all who listened, and overlooks Pirate Bay with spectacular views.

The Tasman Peninsula is not only about convicts, steeped as it is in their history. Startling and beautiful natural coastline add to the fascination and appeal of this wonderful part of Tasmania.
You should be able to do the Tasman Peninsula Tour in a day, although, depending on how much you want to see, you might like to slow down a bit and stay the night. Accommodation in this area is listed opposite.


Tasman Arch, Tasman Blowhole, Devils Kitchen, Remarkable Cave, and the Coal Mines Historic Site The drive from Hobart takes you through Sorell, Forcett, Copping, Dunalley, Nubeena, Murdunna, Eaglehawk Neck, and past the Tasmanian Devil Park at Taranna.
There is so much to see and do.

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Eaglehawk Neck
Doo Town
Port Arthur
White Beach