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Touring The Tasman Peninsula
port arthur tasmaniaTasmania is well-known for its beautiful countryside, majestic landscapes and warm and welcoming country towns. The wild cliffs, the sweeping views and the expansive farmlands of the Tasman Peninsula are no exception to this. Situated just an hour's drive from Hobart, the Peninsula can easily be reached in a day trip with Tasmania campervan hire and will offer you a day that you will never forget. The quality of the sights you see and the overall beauty of the landscapes will no doubt entice you to stay a little longer so make sure you plan for this possibility. The war between the rocky cliff faces of the coastline and the raging waters of the ocean still rages, but so far has resulted in some amazing geological features along the shore. Enjoy driving along the coastline or hop out and put your hiking shoes to good use and discover the numerous walking tracks that make this area so popular.

Beauty isn't the only draw card of this region; the rich history and heritage will also enchant you. The village of Port Arthur adjoins an historic site of the same name, and is the home of the first penal colony built by convict labour in the early days of settlement in Australia. The site has been preserved as a cultural relic and boasts the stories of days gone by. Thirty buildings and ruins of buildings sit in 40 hectares of beautiful and well maintained gardens. The penitentiary is the largest ruin, but the most chilling is the prison where convicts were punished with solitary confinement. The hospital, dockyards, commandants residence, the church and the old asylum which contains the museum, are also worth a look, and will also take you a on journey back through time and allow you to discover our intriguing origins.

Group tours in this area are a popular option and the most popular of these would have to be the 'ghost tours', which take place, conveniently, in the evenings. The buildings take on an eerie ominous feel in the dark, and the stories of treachery and despair seem to seep out of these darkened walls. Tours are small and popular, so book in advance if you are interested so that you do not miss out. Another popular tour is a boat cruise out to the Isle of the Dead, a small island lying just offshore where 1100 free men and convicts lie buried. A tour of this island also offers a fascinating insight into the past and as you wander through the graves you will begin to imagine and wonder what life was like back in these times.

When you are looking for a place to stay here, start with the Port Arthur Caravan and Cabin Park. It is positioned right in the centre of Port Arthur, and is extremely close to all the nearlying attractions such as Remarkable Cave, a cavernous hollow in the coastline into which the waves echo and crash. It's a favourite spot amongst surfers who walk through the cave and into the ocean behind it. There is also a fantastic 4 hour hike that begins here and carries on down the coast to Crescent Bay, taking in some beautiful features along the way.

The narrow isthmus of land that connects the Peninsula to the rest of Tasmania is known as Eaglehawk Neck. On one side you will find Pirate Bay, and on the other is nestled the beautiful Norfolk Bay, a tiny village that is is close proximity to some of the state's most remarkable geology. The 'Tessellated Pavements' lie close, which are interesting fractured blocks of sedimentary rock. A few kilometres on from this you will come across the Blow Hole, a cavernous feature in the side of the cliff face which shoots water up through the earth when the waves get too large. The Tasman Arch is also in this region, and is a naturally formed archway of resistant rock with the ocean beneath it.

A total of thirty five designated walks in the area will make this the walking and sight seeing holiday of a lifetime. The will introduce you to some of the most spectacular scenery in Australia, while also offering endless opportunities for fun, adventure and discovery. The secluded coves and inlets are ideal for kayakers and canoeists to explore and the steep mountain and cliff faces are hugely popular amongst rock climbers. The Tasman Peninsula offers everything you could possibly want from a coastal Tasmanin holiday, with a rich and meaningful heritage and history, beautiful landscapes and immeasurable activities enticing you to return time and time again.

Christine Barton

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