We also did a day trip to the historic site of Port Arthur. The penal colony here started in around 1833 when Governor Arthur chose the Tasman Peninsula as an ideal place to incarcerate prisoners. The prisoners placed here were those who had committed the most serious crimes. The prison put into practice the theories of Jeremy Bentham. He believed in psychological rather than physical punishment. Prisoners were kept apart, not allowed to speak, never saw a fellow human being; even the church pews were partitioned so they could not see each other.
There are many historic buildings at this site and many are in good condition. We visited them all including the penitentiary, the church, the minister's house.
The minister's house was so creepy. I was in there alone and there was a taped sermon going on; exhibits light up as you approach them. There was a very unsettling atmosphere and I quickly went back outside. Later when I was reunited with my husband, I asked him if he had gone in the minister's house. He said just briefly as he had hated the atmosphere there. I did not read the info about Port Arthur till after our visit on the bus back to Hobart and it mentioned that the minister's house, together with other buildings admittedly, was haunted. The other buildings had felt fine to me, but I would not ever willingly go back in the minister's house again.
As well as visiting the penal colony buildings, we also took a short boat trip to the Isle of the Dead where the convicts ended up buried. You must go round the island on a tour. The guide told us a scary story about a hardened convict who had lived on the island and dug the graves there. He lived there contentedly for a long time; then one night sent a distress flare to get help from the penal colony. He was hysterical and claimed the devil had come to him in the night. He refused to stay on the island a minute longer.
There was a much more recent terrible event here when in 1996, 28 year old Martin Bryant killed 35 people and wounded 28 more, most of them in the Port Arthur Historic Park. There is a small memorial here commemorating those killed in this massacre.
Our visit here was very interesting and considering the gruesome history of this place it is remarkably peaceful.
While in Hobart we did a very enjoyable daytrip to Freycinet, Wineglass Bay, Coles BBay.
Freycinet National Park is a very scenic area with mountains, sheltered bays and sandy beaches. You can spend your time here fishing, boating, walking, swimming or just enjoying the scenery. Freycinet is located about two and 1/2 hours drive from Hobart and Launceston. It is on the east coast of Tasmania.
The Tasman Bridge crosses the Derwent River, connecting Hobart's CBD to Hobart's eastern shore. The bridge is 1,395 metres long. It has a pedestrian footway on each side. The bridge was officially opened in 1965.
On Sunday 5 January 1975 the Tasman Bridge was suddenly hit by the bulk ore carrier Lake Illawarra. This collision caused two pylons and three sections of concrete decking to fall from the bridge and sink the ship. Seven of the ship's crewmen died as a result of this, and five motorists were killed when four cars drove over the collapsed sections.
We took a walk up to the Cascade brewery. It is located in a very attractive old building and has lovely grounds. We did not do the tour, but we did visit the shop, sample the products in the cafe and stroll around the beautifully landscaped gardens. Apparently this is Australia's oldest brewery.
This is one of the oldest residential areas of Hobart. An area where some of the first settlers here lived. It is connected to Salamanca Harbour by Kelly’s Steps, which were constructed back in the 1830′s out of massive sandstone blocks.
We travelled by bus from Launceston to Hobart through some very pretty scenery.
Hobart is the capital of Tasmania. It is a very pleasant town. We particularly liked the harbour which was filled with many boats. We booked a sail on an old sailing ship from here on one of our days. The harbour also had several little shops selling fish and chips. These were delicious. We tried them several times.
OK, this probably is not the real name of the hill, but it is what our guide called it and it was covered in wombats. I had never seen a wombat before, not even in a zoo. They are kind of cute and bear like. They are very placid; they just eat and ignore you.
The strange thing was when we were at the tourist information centre later on, we heard someone complain they were really disappointed, they had seen no wombats.I guess it is just a matter of luck we were surrounded by them.
We booked a car and driver to go to Cradle Mountain. The best way to see Tasmania really is to hire a car. If you don't drive, you need tours or to hire cars with drivers. There is public transport (we used it to get from Launceston to Hobart), but it is limited.
We got to Cradle Mountain via Devonport and stopped to see its pretty beach. We passed the original Cole's Store and drove through an area with very colourful and original mail boxes. I would recommend our driver, he was really pleasant, but sadly I no longer have his details.
At Cradle Mountan we walked around the lake and looked at the temperate rain forest with some huge trees and thick green blankets of moss. Cradle Mountain takes its name from a jutting piece of rock shaped like a cradle. Unfortunately, the mountain top was playing peek-a-bo through the clouds. We saw the cradle fleetingly many times, but no convincing photo to prove it. Nonetheless, the scenery was lovely and the walk very enjoyable.
Andrew Gatenby, an early pioneer, arrived in Van Dieman's land in 1823. He and his family built a mill. Over the years the mill fell into disrepair, but instead of demolishing it, they dismantled it and reassembled it in an old quarry in the centre of Launceston.
The old mill is now a kind of 'theme park' where you can go for a ride on a barge on their canal, visit a mill, sail round a little lake on the 10-gun sloop-of-war, Sandpiper. I even got to fire its canon.
Now this sort of place would not normally interest me but, when I saw the stunning autumnal trees in there, there was no preventing me from going.
This beautiful gorge is just outside Launceston. You can do boat trips along its river, but we just explored on foot. I would have loved to have had more time here as there were lots of trails and the scenery was superb. We saw wild kangaroos, a wallaby, peacocks. There is a restaurant at the gorge, a high narrow bridge and a chair lift.
Penguin by name, penguin by nature.....just had to get that line in. Population 3,000 people and 5,000 penguins. This cute little town that the highway once went through is still there but more relaxed.
Some nice beaches, though more for strolling than getting wet, a little bit of history and the garden.
Yes, that garden. There's a railway line that travels along the coast. It's set between the road and the beach. A man called Max Perry saw the otherwise neglected land surrounding it in a positive light, and thus the garden was born.
These days other have taken up the cudgels so to speak and it flourishes elsewhere as well. In fact, it's probably the main tourist attraction in the area.
The town originally supported a small port but this was usurped with the coming of the railway in 1901 and today it is mainly a service town and tourist destination.
Johsons Beach has an exposed reef at low tide and can make for interesting exploration.
Some people spend the night at Lions Park, like we did; only catch is that freight trains come through every so often though, fortunately, not during the wee hours when you're sleeping.
The colourful rocks along the Bicheno foreshore are really interesting.
You can walk to the blow hole and look out across Waub's Bay or check out the small township of Bicheno.
I found the sea air to be bracing and needed to rug up warmly.
You will need to have strong walking shoes to navigate the rocks,they can be very slippery so extra care is needed
I have uploaded some photo's so you can see some of the colours in the rocks.
Most tourists believe you need to go on a tour to see the penguins in Tasmania,well all you really need to do is head down to the known beach areas and you can see these beautiful little penguins (fairy penguins) come ashore just before dark and head up to their rookeries.
Anyone can do this most evenings but some areas are private and protected by the locals and this is where most tours go.
When we stayed at Bicheno we had gone into the township and booked a tour which we were told we needed so we would not be disappointed.The owners of our accomodation told us that the little penguins come up out of the sea all along the main part of Bicheno and that they would come up into the garden where our cottage was (I have reviewed this cottage)all we needed to do was take note of how to watch them...which we did.We cancelled the tour and we had a wonderful experience seeing the penguins come to shore and head for the rookeries to feed their young.We saved heaps....I am not saying 'NOT' to book a tour but just to check if you are staying somewhere where you could see them for free.
We were told not to shine our torches because they would not come ashore if they feel in danger...and to never use flashes on a camera etc.
We were very lucky because it was a moonlit night and we had the most wonderful time with them..some walking over us.I took a couple of lucky pics.It was freezing cold though so don't forget to rug up to keep warm.
From my email at the time - "I okayed nearby Hawley Beach on my GPS and reached there in half an hour, having driven through some of Tasmania’s prettiest farmland en route.
After lunch I opted for a walk in Larooma Park, a thin slip of seaside land run by the National Parks and named after an adjacent historic 19th century property whose house and land is still there behind barbed wire and electric fences.
On the other side is a picturesque coastline, glimpses of which flicker through the dense coastal scrub. Tiny sandy beaches intersperse the colourful lichen swathed rocky foreshore until you reach the end where there are three small islands that you can apparently walk to at low tide.
The fickle weather had seen the low clouds break up and the wind moderate a little so I left the prolific bird life to their own and headed off to Narawntapu"
This was a lovely walk, one I hope to repeat and allocate more time in the future.
This is about half way during the two hour walk. Wherever you are around Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain looms.
For more pictures and stories on this area, refer to my "Off The Beaten Path" pages where I did the extended walk to Crater Lake.
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6955 Arthur Highway, Port Arthur, 7182, Australia
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