THE TASMAN PENINSULA
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.
SOME PRIME ATTRACTIONS ARE:
Remarkable Cave, and the
Coal Mines Historic Site
The drive from Hobart takes you through
and past the
Tasmanian Devil Park at Taranna.
There is so much to see and do.