Exploring the Tasman Peninsula

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The Tasman Peninsula is home to a number of great attractions well worth including in your holiday itinerary.

Most notably, this part of the island is where you will find the Port Arthur Historic Site, the hugely significant former convict colony that is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Convict Sites – there are eleven in Australia and Tasmania has five of them.

However, there's more than Port Arthur to enjoy while you are travelling the Tasman Peninsula. Read on for some of the other highlights of the region that you should visit while you're making plans for your journey around Tasmania.

Getting to know the Tasman Peninsula

Make your way from Hobart to the Tasman Peninsula. The best way to do this is to hire a car so that you have complete freedom to travel at your own pace and stop wherever you like.

As you drive the just over one-hour journey you'll be treated to the sight of dramatic coastlines, complete with sheer cliffs and collapsed caves, vast beaches and quaint villages. Make sure you stop off at Pirates Bay lookout for an unbeatable view.

Descending from the Pirates Bay lookout, you will find yourself at Eaglehawk Neck. This thin strip of land is the gateway to the peninsula proper. It's only 400 long long and at one point it's less than 30 metres wide, but for somewhere so small, it has a fascinating history. It was once guarded by chained dogs to deter convicts escaping from Port Arthur. Many prisoners did try to face these fearsome canines, but few succeeded. Today, a sculpture marks the site where the dogs once stood guard. You can see today what a masterstroke it was to let nature reinforce their incarceration.

To add to the eerie history of the area, there are also shipwrecks in the surrounding waters.

When you arrive at Eaglehawk Neck, you'll also want to explore the beautiful natural scenery. There are striking rock formations including the unique Tessellated Pavement, Tasman's Arch, Blowhole and Devil's Kitchen, so it's worth setting aside some time to wander around. This area is popular with hikers, rock climbers, divers, kayakers and surfers.

If you are keen to explore the local shipwrecks, local tour operators offer guided diving expeditions. There are also cruises of the local waters that can give a more up-close and in-depth view of the rock formations such as the famous Totem Pole, and from the boat you might even spot seals and dolphins frolicking in the water.

Tasman National Park

Once you've passed through Eaglehawk Neck, you will be in Tasman National Park territory. This park encompasses some of Tasmania's natural splendour including Cape Surville (the track in is actually closer to Murdunna), Waterfall and Fortescue Bays, Cape Raoul, plenty of other small bays and beaches, including a few offshore islands.

In particular, this National Park will appeal to those who love exploring natural coastlines. It has stunning sea cliffs, fascinating rock formations and plenty of rare marine animals and plants.

While out walking or exploring a beach you might come across creatures such as dolphins, whales, penguins and seals, all of which call waters off here home.

Birds such as gannets, terns and fairy-wrens frequent the area, while underwater there are huge forests of kelp.

When it comes to how to fill your days exploring the Tasman Peninsula and National Park, it's up to you. Bush walkers will be occupied for days on end, while adventurous rock climbers will love the challenge of climbing the Totem Pole. (Note this is for experts only!) Then of course there's plenty to keep boaties and kayakers occupied, so there's certainly never a lack of things to do.

Tessellated pavement on the Tasman Peninsula - Image Credit: @jackalynstorm via @Tasmania on IG

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