Nov 3, 4 The visit to Port Arthur and the Tasman Peninsula is completed with some more sightseeing to see some geological formations, namely 3 forms of blowholes caused by wave action erosion plus some more spectacular scenery on the coast. A round of golf at the 9 hole Tasman Golf Club featured a great challenge at the 8th hole where there is nothing but cliffs and ocean between tee and green.
Nov 2 The unique to Tasmania, Tasmanian Devil is an endangered species due to a virulant mouth cancer that is highly contagious. We visit a local conservation park where they are working to save the devil. The park also contains other local wildlife … see if you can spot the tiny Joey in the mother’s pouch.
Nov 2,3 Port Arthur is a place of National and International significance, part of the epic story of the settlement of Australia. It was more than a prison, it was a complete community, home to military personnel and free settlers. The imported convicts worked at farming and industries, producing a large range of resources and materials.
In 1830 Port Arthur Penal Station was established and from 1833 it was used as a punishment station for repeat offenders from all the Australian colonies. By 1840 more than 2,000 convicts, soldiers and civil staff lived at the site. The penal settlement finally closed in 1877.
Port Arthur was known as the ‘gaol without walls’ because of its geographically isolated position on a peninsula surrounded by water with a very narrow 9o metre isthmus of land connecting it to the rest of the state at Eaglehawk neck. As a disincentive for escape there was a ‘dog line’ of nine viscious dogs used to alert soldiers to any attempt of convict escape.
On Sunday 28th April 1996, a tragic chapter was added to Port Arthur’s history when a local gunman took the lives of 35 people and physically wounded 19 others in and around the Port Arthur Historic site. The gunman was caught and is still serving 35 consecutive life sentences in Hobart jail.
Nov 1 Port Arthur is 80 Kms south east of Hobart on the Tasman Peninsula and is one of the most significant sites in Australia related to convict importation from the UK … but more of that later. Our caravan site is situated in a beautiful parkland setting with some interesting local wildlife, including the bilby and green lorikeet. Open fires were also allowed. There was a really nice local pub which looked really English (and it served Guiness on tap!).
Oct 31 The D’Entrecasteaux Channel is a region of water between Bruny Island and the south-east of the mainland of Tasmania. It extends between the estuaries of the Derwent and the Huon Rivers. It was sighted by Abel Tasman in 1642 and surveyed in 1792 by Bruni d’Entrecasteaux. We visit a sheep cheesery, a blow hole caused by wave erosion, Eggs and Bacon Bay, Peppermint Bay and lunched at Hartzview winery and restaurant. Tasmanians have a wierd sense of humour – please see the pictures of the hay bales.
Oct 30 Cockle Creek is literally ‘The End Of The Road’. It is nearer to the South Pole than it is to Cairns in Queensland. It is at the end of the Huon Valley which is famous for is fruit orchards, summer berries, wine and great scenery. On the itinerary today : Geeveston with its large wooden carvings in the town centre : Hastings Caves : and the end of the road at Cockle Creek.
Geeveston is 62kms south of Hobart on the Huon River and is the gateway to the Hartz Mountains National Park. Our stop here is brief to admire the large wooden carvings in the town centre.
Hastings Caves are the largest dolomite caves in the southern hemisphere. The caves started to form approximately 40 million years ago and remained undiscovered until 1917, when a timber worker felled a tree to reveal the entrance. The caves are truly marvellous with many remarkable stone formations.
Cockle Creek is the farthest south you can take a car in Tasmania (without resorting to serious off road stuff or a very long walk!). It used to be a whaling centre which is remembered by a large bronze whale sculpture. Nowadays it is purely a tourism destination.