We left Franklin and headed east through Hobart on the start of a 13 day round trip of Tasmania. We were heading to the Tasman Peninsula and the Tasman National Park at the southeast corner of Tasmania to spend the first night at White Beach.
Tasman National Park
Famous for its soaring sea cliffs and monumental rock formations, not to mention the nearby World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasman National Park is an area of dramatic beauty and natural diversity. The park is situated on the rugged Tasman Peninsula and contains a spectacular coastal environment including soaring 300 metre high dolerite sea cliffs.
The park is home to a wide range of land and marine animals, including the brushtail possum, Australian fur seals, penguins, dolphins and migrating whales. It’s also home to the endangered swift parrot and many forest-dwelling birds. Endangered wedge-tailed eagles and sea eagles can also be seen overhead.
Many striking rock formations along the coastline are easily accessed by car, including Tasman Arch and The Blowhole, two of Tasmania’s most visited attractions, as well as Waterfall Bay, Remarkable Cave and the Tessellated Pavement.
Great views are also found on the park’s many bushwalks. Even a stroll of just an hour or two will bring you to the edge of sheer drops overlooking deep chasms, surging ocean, off-shore islands, white-sand beaches, and a waterfall that tumbles down a sheer cliff face into the sea.
Blowhole at Doo Town, Eaglehawk Neck
Our first stop in the Tasman Peninsula was the small town of Doo Town close to Eaglehawk Neck where we visited a blowhole created in the rocks by the sea. The rugged sea cliffs and views over the sea in this area were impressive although the blowhole itself was rather inactive.
Nearby was the Tasman Arch, another impressive geological feature created by wave action on the sea cliffs.
Next to the Tasman Arch was another sea cliff feature known as the Devil’s Kitchen. This very aptly named feature gets its name from the cauldron of foaming fury, normally seen at water level from the viewing platform several hundred feet above, where the swells of the Great Southern Ocean crash into the base of the tall cliffs.
Remarkable Cave, Port Arthur
We drove down to Port Arthur which is a historic area known for its historical penal convict colony. We did not visit this as it was very expensive and to justify the cost we would have had to spend a whole day there and it was already
On the way back from Remarkable Cave we stopped at a beautiful beach at Safety Cove where I had spotted a tree swing – ideal for a great photo opportunity.
Storm Bay B&B, White Beach
We stayed overnight at Storm Bay B&B in White Beach which was a really beautiful house on the hill overlooking the whole bay. Our hosts were very nice and gave us some great local recommendations including a recommended visit the next day to the Coal Mines
Coal Mines Historic Site, Saltwater River
The next day as we headed on the next section of our road trip around Tasmania we stopped to visit the Coal Mines Historic Site at Saltwater River.
Coal Mines Historic Site was Tasmania’s first operational mine. Developed both to limit the colony’s dependence upon costly imported coal from New South Wales, as well as serving as a place of punishment for the “worst class” of convicts from Port Arthur, the mine was operational for over 40 years.
Today, the Coal Mines offers visitors the chance to discover among the uncrowded ruins and scenic vistas a different perspective on Tasmania’s convict history. It is a great place to explore on foot, with a number of tracks and paths around the extensive site. There are signs and displays to guide you around and inform about the history of the Site. A printed guide to the Coal Mines is available from the Visitor Centre at the Port Arthur Historic Site.
Coal Mines Historic Site was, for a period of 15 years (1833–48), a convict probation station and the site of Tasmania’s (then Van Diemen’s Land’s) first operational coal mine, “serving as a place of punishment for the ‘worst class’ of convicts from Port Arthur”.
It is now the site of a collection of ruins and landscape modifications located amongst bushland facing onto the Tasman Peninsula’s Little Norfolk Bay, being ruins and landscape modifications of such cultural significance to Australia and to the World that the site has been formally inscribed onto both the Australian National Heritage List and UNESCO’s World Heritage list as amongst: ” .. the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts.”
Tesselated Pavement, Eaglehawk Neck
As we drove through Eaglehawk Neck we made a visit to the famous tesselated pavement geological formation on the
In geology and geomorphology, a tessellated pavement is a relatively flat rock surface that is subdivided into more or less regular rectangles, blocks approaching rectangles, or irregular or regular polygons by fractures, frequently systematic joints, within the rock. This type of rock pavement bears this name because it is fractured into polygonal blocks that resemble tiles of a mosaic floor, or tessellations.
The most well known example of a tessellated pavement is the Tessellated Pavement that is found at Lufra, Eaglehawk Neck on the Tasman Peninsula of Tasmania. This tessellated pavement consists of a marine platform on the shore of Pirates Bay, Tasmania. This example consists of two types of formations: a pan formation and a loaf formation.
The pan formation is a series of concave depressions in the rock that typically forms beyond the edge of the seashore. This part of the pavement dries out more at low tide than the portion abutting the seashore, allowing salt crystals to develop further; the surface of the “pans” therefore erodes more quickly than the joints, resulting in increasing concavity.
The loaf formations occur on the parts of the pavement closer to the seashore, which are immersed in water for longer periods of time. These parts of the pavement do not dry out so much, reducing the level of salt crystallisation. Water, carrying abrasive sand, is typically channelled through the joints, causing them to erode faster than the rest of the pavement, leaving loaf-like structures protruding.
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