Eaglehawk Neck is the gateway to the Tasman National Park – home to a wide range of land and marine animals, fascinating rock formations and some of the highest and most spectacular sea cliffs in Australia which can be experienced by land, sea or air.
By sea, the daily 3 hour eco-cruise hugs monumental cliff edges, explore hidden sea caves, often encountering whales, seals, albatross, dolphins and little penguins as they travel between Pirates Bay and Tasman Island. Whale sightings are almost daily from October to December.
On foot, encounter a myriad of natural wonders carved out by the sea. Start at Pirates Bay Lookout, then down to the Tessellated Pavement, Blowhole, Devils Kitchen and Tasman Arch.
From Devils Kitchen walk along the cliff tops to Waterfall Bay. 90 minutes of awe inspiring views of dramatic cliffs plummeting into the sea.
Other standout walks include the 90 minute return walk to Cape Raoul Lookout. This is a true wilderness walk through wet and dry sclerophyll forests until the track ends suddenly at the unfenced cliff edge overlooking Storm Bay to the Southern Mountains and Cape Raoul below you.
Crescent Bay – a sparkling bowl of wild sea cradled by vast sand dunes which no child, nor many adults can resist climbing up and sliding down. The 4 hour return walk starts at Remarkable Cave, near Port Arthur and traverses a gentle coastal heath. Take a side track to Mt Brown for 360 degree views including Tasman Island and Cape Pillar before dropping down into this secluded, magical bay.
These spectacular natural features are the backdrop to a fascinating story which unfolds along the Convict Trail. Look for the yellow roadside convict arrows as you travel to the World Heritage listed, Port Arthur Historic Site.
Recently added to the list is the Coal Mines Historic Site just past Saltwater River. The natural beauty of the site is incongruous with its former brutal purpose. This free-entry wheelchair access site once had 600 convicts working in underground tunnels, digging coal and pushing trolleys to the jetty for shipment. The underground cells bring a chill to your bones.
And throughout your stay don’t forget to look up, often. White-breasted Sea eagles, Wedge-tail eagles and a variety of hawks and falcons soar overhead. Wallabies can often be surprised in the bush and echidnas are a common sight at road edges and in surrounding fields. Or, see the local residents up close at the Tasmania Devil Conservation Park in Taranna.
The thought provoking ruins of Port Arthur and other relics of Tasmania’s convict past are nestled in between a stunning 250km coastal landscape that deserves wider exploration. To fully enjoy the region you should allow at least two nights. But don’t take my word for it, come and look for yourself.