We (sadly) left Hobart bright and early and drove down to the Tasman Peninsula. The drive to the peninsula is fairly unremarkable, so much so that we thought it felt like Pennsylvania or Virginia rather than an exotic foreign country. However, the peninsula itself is surprisingly packed with things to do.
We started our day at the Tessellated Pavement. It’s a cool geologic formation that results from a combination of tectonic movement and saltwater evaporation. For the full explanation, ask Wikipedia. We had a great time walking around and taking pictures.
From there we drove south to the Tasman National Park. We did a quick drive-by of the Tasman Blowhole, but weren’t too impressed. The tide was fairly mild so we didn’t get many crashing waves and awesome displays of the water splashing upwards. From there we went and hiked along the cliffs past the Devil’s Kitchen towards Waterfall Bay. The views down to the ocean are spectacular and the trail looks to be frequented by wombats although we never saw any (pro tip – wombat scat is square).
We ended the day at Port Arthur, which is most famous for its life as a 19th century penitentiary. The grounds are massive, but surprisingly peaceful for a former prison. In addition to the penal history, Port Arthur started life as a logging station, and became a small community after the prison was disestablished. In 1996, it was also the site of Australia’s deadliest shooting massacre, which led to strict gun control laws here. Our guide grew up in Port Arthur and was clearly very enthusiastic about its history and legacy. It would have been interesting to hear more about some of the non-prison history of the site, and she clearly knew a lot about it. Overall, rather than an area infused with sadness and death, we found it to be quite peaceful.
Ashley also took pictures of the bees, as she is wont to do. The white-tailed ones are apparently “feral European bumblebees.”
Although we could easily spend more time here, we’re getting up early tomorrow to visit one of the world’s best beaches: Wineglass Bay. More pictures from the day can be found here.