The road trip begins: Eaglehawk Neck

Today we left Rich and Rach’s for an 8-day road trip up the East coast of Tasmania, across to Cradle Mountain, where we might find some snow, then back to their house via the centre of the state. After waving Richard off to work, Lexie and Tom off to school, and Rach to her upstairs office, we packed the car and left.

It was absolutely chucking it down with rain first thing in the morning… Rach got soaked helping a neighbour with an escaped horse… but it brightened up as we hit the road. We chatted about what to do and where to go, deciding that we’d stay outdoors if the weather continued to improve, rather than visiting the museums at Port Arthur. Our first stop was at Seven Mile Beach, near to Hobart Airport… The name needs no explanation!

After another hour or so we came to Eaglehawk Neck, a thin strip of land connecting the Tasman Peninsula to the Forestier Peninsula of Tasmania. Eaglehawk Neck is about 400 metres long and less than 30 metres wide at its narrowest. This narrow point was once guarded by the ‘dog line’, which was a line of dogs chained together to prevent convicts from escaping the notorious prison settlement at Port Arthur.

We stopped at the Pirate’s Bay lookout, where there are great views, before dropping down to the coast to visit the tessellated pavement. Formed by the erosion of sedimentary rock, the geology of the squares and rectangles in the flat coastal pavement is very rare and only occurs in a few places on earth. It was fascinating, and beautiful in the sunshine. 

After this we visited the Officers’ Quarters museum, which dates from 1832 and is the oldest wooden military building in Australia. It was interesting reading who had lived there and seeing how it had been decorated over time, and learning about the dog line, escaped prisoners, and how badly the aboriginal population was treated. We then had a stroll up to see the dog line monument before wandering back along the beautiful white, sandy beach.

Next we had a short drive along the coast to visit a blow hole, which unfortunately wasn’t blowing; the Tasman Arch, a cavern-like natural bridge; and Devils’s Kitchen, a rugged 60 metre deep cleft or gulch. The coastline was amazing!

We still had a couple of hours before we needed to be at the Airbnb so we decided to have a walk along Waterfall Bluff to Waterfall Bay. The walk was through forest but close to the coast with lots of viewpoints over the cliffs along the way. At the end, we could see a small waterfall down the cliffs on the far side. I was disappointed not to be able to get down to the bottom of it. The sky was now very grey so we decided to get back to the car in case the heavens opened again. Thankfully they didn’t and we stayed dry!

We had time for a coffee and cake in a cafe at a local vineyard near Dunalley, where there’s a canal, which was built to save small boats having to make the trip all the way around the peninsula. Then we checked in to the Airbnb. It’s very nice. We have a lovely bedroom and bathroom with a spa bath, and the owner Mike made us a delicious lamb dinner and apple dessert. It’s now 10.20 and I’m ready to sleep. Goodnight!

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