A Travellerspoint blog

Cape Raoul, Maignon Bay & Remarkable Cave

sunny 24 °C

Maignon Bay

Cape Raoul
On a very clear day, you can see Cape Raoul in the distance with its tall pillars of dolerite rock rising from the sea.
Dolerite columns are common features throughout Tasmania. They formed during the age of the dinosaurs, as molten rock cooled slowly just under the surface of the earth, often cracking into long polygonal columns.

Remarkable Cave
For thousands of years this section of the coastline has been exposed to the sea's erosive powers. Strong South-westerly winds generate pounding wave that attack weaknesses in rock and erode the coastline, forming arches, blowholes, bays, beaches and caves.
The roof of Remarkable cave collapsed long ago - its debris washed out to sea, save for the few large boulders and sea-smoothed rocks below. In front is the remains of the cave tunnel leading out to sea.
Why so remarkable? The entrance to the cave forms the shape of Tasmania!
Also, the cave would have originally had two entrances, one of which has now collapsed.

Posted by charlystyles 01:01 Archived in Australia Tagged remarkable_cave Comments (0)

Port Arthur

...a machine to grind rogues into honest men...

sunny 25 °C

The Port Arthur Historic Site is a place of national and international significance - part of the epic story of the settlement of Australia.
Port Arthur was much more than a prison. It was a complete community - home to military personnel and free settlers. The convicts worked at farming and industries, producing a large range of resources and materials.
Port Arthur Historic Site contains more than 30 buildings, extensive ruins and beautiful grounds and gardens. A short ferry ride from the site if the Isle of the Dead cemetery and the site of the Point Puer Boys' Prison.
The Port Arthur penal station was established in 1830 as a timber getting camp, using convict labour to produce sawn logs for government projects.

From 1833 Port Arthur was used as a punishment station for repeat offenders from all the Australian colonies.

The English prison reformer Jeremy Bentham design a radical new Penitentiary at Pentonville in England, which is now described as a 'machine for grinding rogues into honest men'. This became the model for Port Arthur.

The cogs of this machine included punishment, religious and moral instruction, classification and separation, training and education. Many men were broken, but some left Port Arthur rehabilitated and skilled, some as blacksmiths, shoe makers or ship builders.

Port Arthurs community of military and free men and their families lived their lives in stark contrast to the convicts. Beautiful gardens were created and parties, regattas and literary evenings were common.

By 1840 more than 2,000 convicts, soldiers and civil staff lived at Port Arthur, which by this time was a major industrial settlement. A range of goods were produced here, from worked stone and bricks to furniture and clothing, boats and ships.

The Penitentiary
ion the early days the convicts were housed in rough wooden huts. Later, as convict numbers increased, the flour mill and granary was converted into a four-storey Penitentiary, due to its failure to supply adequate flour to the settlement.
The Penitentiary's two lower floors contained 136 cells for 'prisoners of bad character'. The top floor provided space for 480 better behaved convicts to sleep in bunks.

Point Puer Boys' Prison
Point Puer operated from 1834 to 1849 and was the first purpose built juvenile reformatory in the British Empire. Juvenile offenders were separated from older convicts to protect them from criminals influence. Most of the boys were aged between 14 and 17, with the youngest just 9 years old. Point Puer was renowned for it's regime of stern discipline and harsh punishment, but all the boys received an education while some were given the opportunity of trade training.

The Isle of the Dead
Between 1833 and 1877 around 1,000 people were buried at the settlements cemetery, including military and civil officers, their wives and children and convicts. The most common cause of death among convicts was respiratory disease or industrial accidents.

The Separate Prison
By the early 1840's a major change had taken place in the management of British prisons, with a move away from physical punishment. Designed to deliver a new method of punishment, of reforming the convicts through isolation and contemplation. Convicts were locked for 23 hours a day in single cells. Here they ate, slept and worked, with just one hour a day allowed for exercise, alone, in a high walled yard. The prisoners were kept strictly apart from each other and not a word was heard except in chapel. The intention was to bring their minds to a more 'healthy condition'
Can you spot the convict?

The Church
The foundation stone of the church was laid in 1836 by Lieutenant Governor George Arthur on his final visit to Port Arthur. Although constructed by convicts, much of the stonework and panelled pew fronts were prepared by the boys from the Juvenile Establishment at Point Puer.
the first service was held in 1837. The church was never consecrated, partly because it had to be used by several different denominations and partly due to disagreements between the various Church authorities.
It had a wooden steeple which blew down during a gale in 1876. and in 1884 sparks from a fire lit to clean up around the parsonage caught the old shingles on the church roof and the church burnt to the ground.

St David's Church
Built after many years of conducting Anglican services in the Town Hall / Asylum.
The land was donated and members of the congregation gave money, raised funds and donated altar cloth, seats and carpet. The foundation stone was laid in May 1927 and the church dedicated on 18th December. Despite the rain, people from all over the Peninsula came to see the Bishop of Tasmania, the Rt. Rev. R.S. Hay, preform the ceremony.
The church is still in regular use today.

The Hospital
In the hospital convicts were commonly treated for numerous conditions including respiratory or rheumatic ailments contracted from working outdoors and sleeping in cold cells in wet clothing.

The Asylum
By the early 18960's many convicts were housed and treated in the Paupers' Depot or the Asylum, according to new ideas that included creating a calm, environment.

Rose Cottage - Military Officers Quarters
Rose Cottage was built as a residence for the senior military offices and his family. Lempriere described it in 1838 as a neat cottage with a veranda at the front and comprising of four rooms and a kitchen. The house was built entirely of wood (no bricks were made at Port Arthur before 1839) but the kitchen and outbuildings were later rebuilt in brick.
By the early 1840's the house was occupied but Captain and Mrs Errington. She sent paintings of the house and her little boy to her family in Plymouth, which show a comfortable well-furnished interior. The cottage was extended several times, but as you can see, none of the doors were in line.
In 1887 the cottage was run as a juvenile school and in 1897 it housed the State School.

Tower Cottage - The Officers Quarters
For most of the convict period the Senior Military Officer's Quarters was the home of the Military Office in charge of the soldiers at Port Arthur. Many of the serving soldiers were married and in some cases their families accompanied them to Port Arthur. The soldiers at Port Arthur were responsible for security and for pursuing and capturing escaped convicts.

Smith O'Brian's Cottage
The cottage was originally built as stables in 1840 and was converted to a two room cottage for O'Brien in 1850.
It retains the name of its most famous occupant, William Smith OBrien, member of the British Parliament and leader of the Young Ireland Movement.
After leading an unsuccessful rebellion neat Kilkenny, O'Brien was sentenced to death, then reprieved and transported to Van Diemen's Land. After refusing to promise not to escape, O'Brien was sent first to Maria Island before being transport to Port Arthur in August 1850.
Rooms were later added at either end of the cottage and the building was used for Officers' Quarters.

With the end of the convict transportation in 1853, Port Arthur also became an institution for aging and physically and mentally ill convicts. The Penal settlement finally closed in 1877 and many of the buildings were dismantled or destroyed in bush fires. The area became the centre of a small town renamed Carnarvon in an attempt to erase the hated convict stain. However, tourists began visiting almost immediately after the closure of the penal settlement and it was once again named Port Arthur.

The Parsonage Post Office
The Paronsage was originally a two storey building built in 1842. The Reverend Durham and his family were the first occupants and lived here for ten years. He was reputedly a very difficult man and no convict wanted to work for him. Reverend Eastman, his wife and their ten children were the tenants from 1855 to 1870. He died in an upstairs room of the house and is buried on the Isle of the Dead.
After considerable damage in the 1895 bushfires it was rebuilt as the Carnarvon Post Office.

The Police Station
After the fire of 1897 destroyed the Police Station in the Old Law Courts, the Station for the Peninsula was set up at Premaydene, about 15km away. But as tourist numbers grew, vandalism increased and a police presence was needed.
In 1936 a new house was built on the site of the old Prisoners' Barracks. The local police officer acted as a Bailiff of the court, an Inspector under the Stock Act and a Gaoler. He also helped find missing persons, investigated burglaries, and sheep stealing and prosecuted traffic offenders. There is a single cell at the back of the cottage. At Port Arthur the policeman also had a special duty to safeguard the historic site.

Posted by charlystyles 02:40 Archived in Australia Tagged port_arthur Comments (0)

Stewart's Bay

sunny 20 °C

For the two nights of our visit, we stayed in a bunk room at the Port Arthur Caravan Park. It was great, set in the woods, with full use of under cover BBQ facilities, very quiet and only a 2 minute walk to a very secluded beach.
We enjoyed dinner there in the evening
and got up at 5am to watch the sunrise

I love sunrise and sunsets, so it was great to have such a beautiful view only a couple of minutes walk from bed!


Posted by charlystyles 21:05 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Tessellated Pavememt

Ancient cracks create a modern phenomenon

sunny 22 °C

The Tessellated Pavement is an inter-tidal rock platform - a common enough sight on the coast. But here an unusual set of geological circumstances has resulted in a rare landform.
From before 290 million to 265 million years ago a depression in the Earth's surface was located in central-eastern Tasmani. high country to the East and West had streams which transported silt into the basin. Muddy sediment built up, sea ice or iceburgs transported rocks into the basin, and shellfish died and were preserved in the siltstone. The surface of the Tessellated Pavement tells some of this story. You can see rocks of different types derived from distant places.
From 160 million to 60 million years ago the silt was later covered by sediments, compacted and became siltstone. The flat-lying siltstone was cracked by stresses in the Earth's crust. This jointing, exaggerated by processes of erosion, has created the tiled appreance.

Away from the seashore the pavements dries out for longer periods at low tide and this allows greater development of sea crystals. The salt forms on the surface and erodes the pavement's surface more quickly than the joints.
The surface of the pavement is lowered while the joints which are eroding more slowly become rims.

These 'pans' contrast with the 'loaves' where the joints are eroding much more quickly that the surface, because of the abrasion by sand and other particles carried by the water.
These loaf feature are close to the sea so they spend more time under water. As the drying period is shorter, salt crystalisation is less significant. The joints tend to channel the water and the abrasive sand.

Posted by charlystyles 08:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Arches, Kitchens, Blowholes, & Doo Town

Big rock things

sunny 23 °C

Tasmans Arch
A cave's roof collapses to form a bridges chasm.
Tasmans arch is what's left of a large sea cave, or tunnel, that was created by wave action over many thousands of years. Is the arch growing or is the roof thinning, or are the walls expanding?

Devil's Kitchen
From a humble cave to a great gulch.
This geographical feature probably started as a sea cave, then a tunnel and developed into this modern form after the collapse of the cave roof.
It is one of several such coastal landforms in the Tasman National Park that have developed in the Permian-age siltstone.

The Blowhole
The Blowhole, a former sea cave and tunnel, is an old blowhole. The roof at the rear of the tunnel collapsed to create a broad arch with a blowhole behind it.
The Blowhole point was originaly an unbroken line of cliffs of siltstone.
The blowhole only lives up to its name when seas are rough and in the right direction. Swells enter the tunnel and sea spray and air are blasted through the funnel, creating an explosive effect in the small joints at the back of the inlet.

The Blowhole is in a little fishing village called Doo Town..
There are conflicting stories about how the town got it's name, but my favourite comes from a newspaper article in which it tells the story of Bill Edridge junior's father who bought a shack there in 1939. After discussing his acquisition with his mates he said "It'll do us", referring to his wife and family, and so he named his house, and Doo Us was born. The tradition caught on and today most of the 30 cottages have "Doo" names, including "Do-in-time", "Didgeri-Do", "Just-Do-It", Much-a-Do", "Af2Do", What-a-Do", "Make-Doo" and "Doctor-Doo-Little".

A walk along from Doo Town, takes you past Patersons Arch...

and along to Waterfall Bay...

The walk along the Tasman Peninsula Coastline leads you through a dense forest, where it's clear to see the effects of a bush fire in the last year or two...
It may help to explain why some of the trees appear to have wrinkles...

However, life goes on and we saw a beautiful Blue-Winged Parakeet...

Posted by charlystyles 04:35 Archived in Australia Tagged devils_kitchen the_blowhole waterfall_bay Comments (0)

Pirate Bay Lookout

and those clouds...

sunny 23 °C

Tasman National Park Lookout shows a lot of features created in the last 6000 years when the sea reached it's modern level.
About 2,000 years ago the sea was as much as 120 meters lower.
During glaciation and the melting of the glaciers sea-levels rise. High sea-levels in the ancient past have eroded caves high in the cliffs at Pirates Bay.
This shorelines hides some of the landforms shown in the next feew blogs: Tesselated Pavement, The Nlowhole, Tasmans Arch, and Devils Kitchen.

This photo shows an amazing moving cloud formation over the mountain.

Posted by charlystyles 02:54 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Marion Bay

First glimpse of a beach

sunny 24 °C

Heading down to Port Arthur we were drawn by a sign to Marion Bay.
The Long Spit Private Nature Reserve is just what it says - a long bit of land, that over looks Marion Bay.
We found a pathway through the shrubs...
The problem was crossing the river to get to the beach!
However, it was worth the exploration.
Miles of endless beach, and not a sole in sight.
I was even tempted to go in the water
It was pretty chilly - considering the next stop from this view is the South Pole!

Posted by charlystyles 01:40 Archived in Australia Tagged marion_bay long_spit Comments (0)

Styx Valley

Big Tree State Reserve

sunny 23 °C

The Styx Valley, like other areas in Tasmania and Victoria, is home to the Eucalyptus regnans.
The Styx area has become well known ever since its tallest trees were first measured in the 1950s and protected in the Big Tree reserve.


The Styx Valley has a history of logging activities dating back more than 60 years.
and there are some pretty big logs to have...

The vast majority of Tasmania’s tall forests are permanently reserved from harvesting. Forestry Tasmania will preserve very tall and big trees in State forest under its Giant Trees policy. In the late 1980s Forestry Tasmania also created “Tall Tree Management Zones” spread across the state to protect young trees that will become tall trees of the future.

Forestry roads have opened up the Styx Valley since the 1950s, making areas of natural beauty accessible to visitors. Forestry Tasmania recognises that in addition to wood production, tourism is also important to the region. To that end, Forestry Tasmania has developed tourism facilities at the Styx Big Tree reserve that attract about 5,000 visitors a year.

On one short walk, we came across the 'Big Tree'...
This Swamp Gum (Eucalyptus Regnans) is one of natures giants. It is about 400 years old and in 2001 was measured at 86 meters tall.

and the 'Bigger Tree'...
At 87 meters the Bigger Tree Swamp Gum is one of the tallest trees on earth.

We also came across 5 Echidna, and this one was particularly photographic...

And on later to a beautiful spot by the river...
The Styx River flows from the mountains in the south and west and its waters are darkened by tannins leached from the buttongrass plains in the World Heritage Area.
Perhaps it was the dark waters that inspired the name. In Greek mythology the River Styx was the boundary between earth and the underworld (Hades).

Posted by charlystyles 21:33 Archived in Australia Tagged styx_valley big_tree_state_reserve Comments (0)

Lake St Clair

sunny 23 °C

Lake St Clair is at the southern end of the world famous Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Carved out by ice during several glaciations over the last two million years, this is the deepest lake in Australia and the headwaters of the Derwent River, upon which the capital city of Tasmania is located.
The area around Lake St Clair offers a wealth of walks, ranging from leisurely strolls to overnight bushwalks, as well as beautiful forests to explore.
Lake St Clair is also the end point of the famous Overland Track, a long-distance walk which runs from Cradle Mountain in the north to Cynthia Bay on the southern shore of Lake St Clair.
The Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park shares a "Twin Parks" agreement with the World Heriatge listed Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve in the People's Republic of China.
The walks start at the impressive park centre where innovative displays take you on a trip through time that shows how the Lake St Clair area has developed from ancient times through to the present day. Discover the effects of glaciation on the highland areas of Tasmania, learn how Aborigines and early white explorers interacted with the environment and explore the relationship between animals and their habitat.


The metallic skink is the most common and widespread lizard found in Tasmania. Metallic skinks vary tremendously in colour and pattern and give birth to live young. They are the most common "garden skink" in Tasmania.
Metallic skinks are born with a head and body length of about 28 mm, mature at about 42 mm and reach a head and body length of about 66 mm.
This common species occupies a wide variety of habitats including dry sclerophyll forests, dense forest and alpine heath. Metallic skinks generally shelter in dense vegetation and ground debris, beneath bark, leaf litter, rocks, logs and log fragments.

Flame Robin

Scrub Wren


Golden Bug

Orange Ball Fungus & Strawberry Bracket Fungus

Posted by charlystyles 13:27 Archived in Australia Tagged cradle_mountain lake_st_clair Comments (0)

Lake Dobson

overcast 19 °C

Travelling further on from Mt Fields and Russell Falls, higher and higher, you come to the end of the road and a beautiful lake called Lake Dobson.
The park can generally be divided into two visitor sections. The first is around the park entrance and includes the Visitor Centre, picnic facilities and the famous Russell Falls. The second is centred at Lake Dobson and includes the long day walks and skiing areas. The two areas are linked by a 16 kilometre unsealed road. Due to snow conditions vehicles using this road may require chains in winter; at times the road may be closed.
Mt Field National Park is one of Tasmania's most loved national parks. The park has a wide variety of scenic features and wildlife and offers a great range of facilities for day visitors. Few other national parks in Australia offer such a diversity in vegetation, ranging from tall swamp gum forests and massive tree ferns at the base of the mountain, through rainforest along the Lake Dobson Road, to alpine vegetation at the higher elevations.
The park essentially has two visitor sections. The first, near the park entrance, includes picnic facilities and the famous Russell Falls. Stunning walks through enormous fern forests and some of the tallest trees in the world are available in this area.
The second visitor section is centred at Lake Dobson and includes the long day walks and skiing areas. Dramatic mountain scenery and alpine plant communities are a feature of the higher parts of the park.

We had the great company of our friends Chris and Sarah

A small Padimelon (type of wallaby) enjoys the grass and the mountain air
A Bennetts Wallaby watches us as we explore his habitat

Posted by charlystyles 02:04 Archived in Australia Tagged lake_dobson Comments (0)

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