TASSIE TRAVELS – The Adventure Ends
A lot of beautiful sights have unfolded and many memories made during our Tasmania Travels, and we find ourselves on the last leg of exploration on the Apple Isle. With our base being the narrow bridge of land named Eaglehawk Neck, we set off to be immersed, and impressed, by the outdoor museum that is the Port Arthur Historic site.
The penal settlement at Port Arthur (Tasmania was called Van Dieman’s Land) began in 1830 as a punishment-oriented timber station, with the daily work of convicts being ganged labour such as timber cutters, to skilled labour in the shipyards or shops. The transported convicts were usually poor from rural areas in England, or city slum areas, with one out of five being female. Children were transported with their parents and very few people were returned to their homes.
The focus was on prisoner reformation, but as the ageing convict population was unable to engage in productive labour, the Asylum was built. Other buildings that remain as ruins are the Government Cottage; Church; Hospital; Officers’ Row; Law Courts; Commandant’s House; and Police Station. The Visitor’s Centre and Memorial Garden are on the left when first entering the site on entry ticket purchase; and also ask about Isle of the Dead Tours. On a clear and sunny day, the waters of Carnarvon Bay spectacularly surround the Port Arthur site. Given a dismal, cold day, you can well imagine the misery of the convicts in this remote area, far from their homeland. It was a brutal life for convicts and their families, and it is part of Australia’s early settlement history, and well-worth taking a few days to visit, imagine, and reflect.
Hobart is nestled in the foothills of Mt Wellington, on an estuary of the great Derwent River. The charm of Hobart is combined with a modern lifestyle in a particularly beautiful region of Tasmania. Second oldest capital after Sydney, you will find restaurants, markets, galleries and craft shops, waterfront seafood outlets, historic buildings and other interesting areas to explore in Hobart. Take a self-guided walking tour of Battery Point – so named after the battery of guns established as defence of Hobart in 1818. Drive to the summit of Mt Wellington for spectacular views on a clear day, and make sure to visit Bruny Island and its lighthouse via ferry from Kettering (tip: you’ll need more than a day as the island is 100km long).
We took the time to drive across to barren Queenstown and Strahan on the west coast, located at the top of Long Bay – and you would have heard of Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park and probably have this area on your Bucket List. Pick a road, any road, drive it and you will be amazed at the sheer cliffs, rainforest and diverse beauty that is Tasmania.
Go up the middle roads. Really. The communities of Ross and Campbell Town are in the Midlands, with vast fields on low plains, grazed by beef cattle or sheep, and used for crop production. Ross is located on the Macquarie River, and is noted for an historic bridge, convict history and sandstone buildings. The churches of the Midlands are spectacular, better protected from the weather and ravages of time being away from the coast. The camping in these areas was magic, always a stream or tributary of the Tamar River to camp by. Our time in Tassie ended all too soon, such was the adventure of every day on the road, and new places to visit. In reality you could spend months traversing all the roads and tracks, lingering in the places you loved most. Thanks for reading along with our ‘Tassie Travels’, we sure had a great time filling you in on some must-see places that we simply loved Making Memories at!
TASSIE TRAVELS – The Adventure Ends