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.
Port Arthur is a quaint village best known for the well-preserved penal colony buildings of the nearby Port Arthur Historic Site.
Set on the tip of the Tasman Peninsula, Port Arthur is a great base to explore the historic site and the area's natural attractions including dramatic coastal rock formations and towering cliffs.
The Port Arthur Historic Site was established in 1830 as a timber station and was soon built into a small town to house and punish over a thousand of Tasmania's most notorious convicts. This dark history contrasts with the beauty of the surrounding area. Full of powerful stories of hardship and loss, it's one of Tasmania's most rewarding travel experiences.
You can find more early Australian convict history at the World Heritage-listed Coal Mines Historic Site, 20 km north-west of Port Arthur, where the site reveals the harsh lives of repeat offender convicts who worked underground extracting coal.
Nature also looms large with unique rock formations such as Remarkable Cave and beautiful waterways like Crescent Bay, a secluded curve of striking beauty backed by massive sand dunes.
Port Arthur is about a 1-hr drive (93 km) south-east of Hobart.
- Take an evening Ghost Tour in the Port Arthur Historic Site
- Walk from Remarkable Cave to Crescent Bay
The National Park
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.
The spectacular dolerite columns and cliffs at the southern end of the park are popular for climbing and abseiling. Sea stacks north of Fortescue Bay, the Candlestick and Totem Pole at Cape Hauy as well as the drops around Mount Brown are used by individual climbers and abseilers as well as tour groups.
There is also a hang gliding launch at Pirates Bay, with landing permitted in a designated area on the beach.
The waters off Pirates Bay, Fortescue Bay, Port Arthur and the Tasman Sea are popular boating destinations with ramps, sheltered waters and good fishing.
Three Capes Track
For those wanting to spend more time in this magnificent environment there's the Three Capes Track, an independent multi-day walking experience on the Tasman Peninsula. This 46 km journey leads through a myriad of natural landscapes with exhilarating cliff top outlooks on Cape Pillar, Cape Hauy and stunning views to Cape Raoul.