Dramatic coastline and convict history make the Tasman Peninsula a must-see. Instagram worthy for sure!
The Tasman Peninsula is located in southeast Tasmania just over an hour drive from the capital Hobart. The Tasman Peninsula is easily accessible by the Arthur Highway, a winding 70 kilometre drive through beautiful countryside and bushland. The most popular attraction on the Tasman Peninsula is the Port Arthur Historic Site, which is often on the bucket list for travelers to Tasmania. Whether visiting Port Arthur or not, exploring the Tasman Peninsula is a must-do, as the natural beauty of this region will really leave an impression on you.
The Tasman Peninsula is a piece of land in the southeast of Tasmania that is surrounded by beautiful bays and ocean. The Peninsula has Storm Bay in the west and south, the Tasman Sea out to the east and Norfolk Bay and Frederick Henry Bay to the north and northwest.
The Peninsula is connected by a small isthmus named Eaglehawk Neck. This isthmus made the Tasman Peninsula a perfect location to host Port Arthur, the penal settlement that housed Australia's first convicts. In reality, Tasman Peninsula was the perfect natural prison.
In modern times, the Peninsula has become a favourite with Tasmanian bushwalkers, campers and day trippers due to its spectacular natural beauty and views that will take your breath away. There is also plenty for history buffs, adventurers, families and animal lovers. The Tasman Peninsula is a playground just outside Hobart that everyone will love.
It has to be argued that the highlight of the Tasman Peninsula is the extraordinary rugged coastline. Most visitors to Tasmania would agree that the state has an oversupply of spectacular coastline, but it could be argued that the Tasman Peninsula has some of the best.
Take an eco-cruise or drive around the peninsula and you'll be amazed by what the sea has carved out of the land. Soaring cliffs up to 300 meters high will leave you awestruck, and if you are lucky you'll get to view an abundance of wildlife, including migrating wales, dolphins, Australian fur seals, penguins and birds.
Another drawcard to the Peninsula is the Port Arthur Historic Site, one of 5 World Heritage listed convict sites in Tasmania. There is so much to see on a trip to Port Arthur with walking tours through gardens, ruins and restored buildings, to ghost tours and even a cruise that takes you to small islands in the bay filled with convict history.
A trip to the Tasman Peninsula is a must-do for any visitor who loves history, wilderness, adventure or animals. There is something for everyone in this gorgeous region of Tasmania and the variety of activities means you'll never be left searching for something to do. Image thanks to: Paul Hoelen and Chris Crerar
From Hobart, head out east along the Tasman Highway past the airport, taking a right turn onto the Arthur Highway when you reach the township of Sorell. Follow the highway down through the Forester Peninsula until Eaglehawk Neck, approximately 75km from Hobart. Eaglehawk Neck is the isthmus that connects the Tasman Peninsula near the town of Dunalley and is the gateway to your Tasman Peninsula adventure.
Accommodation on the Tasman Peninsula ranges from camping grounds to upmarket motels and plenty of self-contained accommodation options. Within the Tasman National Park lies Fortescue Bay campsite, a popular campsite with 40 spaces including camper-van sites and an amenities block. Bookings for campsites are recommended and can be booked through Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service. Image thanks to: Tourism Tasmania & Andrew McIntosh
20 minutes south of Dunalley you will come across a turn off towards Pirates Bay Lookout. For anyone travelling to the Tasman Peninsula, this should be your first stop. A spectacular lookout, the Pirates Bay Lookout will give you a hint of just how amazing the views and your day of exploring will be.
Along the road from the Pirates Bay Lookout and just before Eaglehawk Neck, lies the tessellated pavement, an Instagram worthy rock formation that looks more like a well laid mass of rectangular pavers than a rocky beach. The best time to visit tessellated pavement is when the tide is out and you can wander along, taking in the magic of nature.
Doo-Town is a delightful little place where residents have named their properties Doo-Something (there is in fact a property called Doo-Something, along with some creative names such as Doo-Little, Doo-Me and Love-me-Doo). It is not often that you find a community where everyone appears to have a sense of humour!
From Doo-Town it is a short drive to access the Tasman Arch and Devils Kitchen, which are both an easy walk from their car park areas, as well as the Tasman Peninsula Blowhole, which is always a delight for kids and adults alike. Depending on the tide and weather conditions, you will also see some amazing wave action on the sea cliffs during the short walking track at the blowhole. Don't forget to check out Remarkable Cave and Waterfall Bay, which are both easy to get to by car further down the Tasman Peninsula.
While you're visiting the Tasman Peninsula, you need to visit the Port Arthur Historic site, one of 5 world heritage listed convict sites in the state. The stories, atmosphere and beautiful setting are incredible and really challenge visitors to imagine what this place must have been like given it was a penal settlement.
The Coal Mines Historic Site shows the remains of coal mining activities in the area and has more than 25 buildings that show the history of coal mining in the Peninsula area.
Eaglehawk Neck is the connection point of the peninsula to the mainland and was once the site of a vicious guard line of dogs that prevented any escapee convicts from making their way to civilisation. At the same site there is the Officers' Quarters, a museum showing the history of the area.
The Officers' Quarters was originally built in 1832 to house soldiers who were stationed at the isthmus. It is thought to be the oldest wood constructed military building in Australia. Escaping Port Arthur and the peninsula was nearly impossible, with dogs even stationed in the water to prevent convicts from attempting to cross via the sea. These days there is a line marked in the dunes and a statue of a dog where guard dogs were once stationed.
During a trip to Tasmania, most people want to view the infamous Tasmanian Devil, and the Tasman Peninsula offers this chance through the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo. This wildlife park has information sessions and regular devil feeding demonstrations, as well as other animal shows such as kangaroo, bird and quoll feeding.
Avid bushwalkers will love the Tasman Peninsula and will be particularly excited by the 4-day Three Capes Walk which takes in Cape Raoul, Cape Hauy, Cape Pillar and Tasman Island at the south of the Peninsula. If time is tight, there is a multitude of shorter day walks that take in parts of the Peninsula throughout the National Park. Image thanks to: Tourism Tasmania & Kathryn Leahy and Tourism Tasmania & Masaaki Aihara.
There are plenty of food options to and from these incredible attractions. Perhaps swing by one of the restaurants in Nubeena. Alternatively, consider stopping by the Bangor Vineyard Shed in Dunalley on your way back from Port Arthur and taste some local produce or delicious wine!
The Tasman Peninsula was the site of Australia's most notorious penal settlement, Port Arthur. Established as a natural prison, the Tasman Peninsula was extremely hard to escape and is now a major historic attraction. The stories of convicts who were housed at Port Arthur form much of Australia's colonial history and the site itself is a fascinating and informative place to explore. Port Arthur is joined by the Historic Coal Mine site and the Officers' Quarters at Eaglehawk Neck which together provide history buffs with exciting insights into white settlement in Tasmania.
The Tasman Peninsula has amazing beaches, soaring sea cliffs, beautiful rock formations and lush green forested areas. An abundance of wildlife, the Tasman Peninsula gives you great vantage points to view sea eagles, migrating whales, Australian fur seals, wombats, wallabies and many more native species. Image thanks to: Sean Scott.
Make sure to turn off to the Pirates Bay Lookout before Eaglehawk Neck, spectacular views are an understatement.
The sea cliffs along the peninsula are high and can be dangerous, always pay attention to signs and do not cross safety barriers to take photos.