Tasmania's famous 'convict' peninsula
26.01.2013 - 29.01.2013 23 °C
We left Hobart on Australia Day and drove down to the Tasman Peninsula to camp at Fortesque Bay in the Tasman National Park. We past several areas and towns like Dunalley that were devastated by the recent bush fires. The northern part of the Tasman Peninsula was also burned down but luckilly did not reach the southern part of the Tasman National Park where we camped. The campsite was nice with many Bennetts Wallabies visiting in the evening. The Australia Day celebrations in the campground were traditional with prawn barbies and cricket.
Tasman National Park and Tasmania is named after the dutch explorer Abel Tasman, the first european that explored Tasmania and in particular this area in 1642.
The dramatic sea cliffs along the Tasman Peninsula are similar to the cliffs on South Bruny Island and among the highest and most spectacular in Australia. These columnar dolerite cliffs are outstanding examples of a rock type which is very rare on mainland Australia. We did a 10 kilometer return hike to Cape Hauy from Fortesque Bay, which was very steep in places but rewarded us with breathtaking views of the coastline and 200 meter high sea cliffs.
Other sites we visited were the Blowhole, Devil's Kitchen and Tasman's Arch and they are all easily accessible by car at the northern end of the park.
We took the opportunity to visit Port Arthur whilst we were in the Tasman Peninsula. From 1833, until 1853, Port Arthur was the destination for the hardest of convicted British and Irish criminals, those who were secondary offenders having re-offended after their arrival in Australia. Rebellious personalities from other convict stations were also sent here, a quite undesirable punishment. Port Arthur had some of the strictest security measures of the British penal system but also experimented with rehabilitation for the first time in colonial history. The Port Arthur complex is vast with many buildings to explore like the church, the hospital, the penetentiary, the seperate prison for solidatory confinement and the commandant's quarters.
From Fortesque Bay we travelled north to Freycinet National Park.