Standing on the Edge of the Cliff

The collapsing cliff face of Fossil Island

Tasman National Park

Leaving Port Arthur we made our our way north back to mainland Tasmania, near Eaglehawk Neck we turn off the Highway for Doo Town to visit the Tasman Blowhole, Tasman Arch and The Devil’s Kitchen a series of dramatic coastal cliff scenery. At Doo Town harbour the cliffs have been undercut by the pounding of the waves, forming the blowhole where the waves squeeze through the rock tunnel before shooting sea spray into the air as it emerges at the other end. A series of pathways lead visitors out to viewing platforms overlooking Pirate Bay, the edge of the cliff drops away beneath our feet, opening up the view from this elevated position out over the crashing swirl of the waves on  the rocks below.

Collapsed cliff
The swirling sea
The Tasman Blowhole, Fossil Island
The boats in the Bay, Pirates Bay
Jump They Say
Cliff erosion along Pirates Bay

The Devil’s Kitchen

Driving past Doo Town up into the hills, we reach the Tasman Arch taking a walk around the cliff paths surrounding the Arch, which is like a giant sinkhole in the ground, far below the sea crashes against the rocks. A short distance further along the Devil’s Kitchen appears at first to be cut by the hand of man, the steep cliff appears to have been cut back from the sea into the landscape, the original cave roof arch having originally collapsed forming at first a blowhole which it turn eventually caused the roof to fall into the sea to form the Devil’s kitchen inlet.

Our lunchtime stop is at the side of the road, the windows of the camper facing out over Pirates Bay and Fossil Island. Crossing Eaglehawk Neck we take a look at the Tessellated Pavement, its fractured rectangular blocks visible below us, stretching out on the flat rocks into the bay.

We take the steep road climbing up the side of the bay to take in the view above Neck, the small strip of land connecting the Peninsulas. The view encompasses Pirates Bay all the way south to the Lanterns and Cape Hauy, on the Tasman National Park.

The Tasman Arch
Clifftop view, Tasman National Park
Tasman National Park, south towards Cape Hauy
The walls of the Devils Kitchen
The Devils Kitchen
Lunchtime view, Pirate’s Bay and Fossil Island
Tessellated Pavement
Pirates Bay near Eaglehawk Neck
Above Pirates Bay
The distant Lanterns, Cape Hauy

In the afternoon we make our way around the wide expanse of Norfolk Bay back towards Sorell and north along the coastal road towards the Freycinet Peninsula, the national park mountains are visible from across the Great Oyster Bay.

We have to drive north to circle around to the south to drive onto the Freycinet Peninsula, it takes us along the thick bush road towards Coles Bay, offering occasional glimpses of the mountains of the approaching Peninsula.

In the evening we take a walk along the beach of Coles Bay overlooking the Peninsula and Great Oyster Bay…..


Norfolk Bay
Back across the Norfolk Bay
Stopping in the shade, Norfolk Bay
First view of Freycinet
Freycinet National Park from Swansea

Travelling Notes

Check out the visitors website : Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania. Tasman National Park there is so much to do on the Peninsula and many longer walks into the National Park away from the tourist crowds to the more remote parts of Tasmania such as Cape Pillar and Cape Hauy.

Where : situated at the end of the world, The Tasman Peninsula, Forestier Peninsula and The Tasman National Park, Southern Tasmania, Australia.

Travelling : 236 km from Port Arthur to Coles Bay, travelling on the A9 Arthur Highway over Eaglehawk Neck (turn left for Doo Town and Pirates Bay for cliff scenery) carry on around the wide Norfolk Bay, into Sorell then head north on the A3 towards the coast at Orford and Triabunna, take the coastal road to Swansea, from across the bay is you can see the landmass of the Freycinet Peninsula, heading further north, before turning back south at Landaff, follow the road through the bush towards Coles Bay.

Camping or Campervan: Big 4, Iluka Holiday Centre, Coles Bay just five minutes drive from the entrance to the Freycinet National Park & Wineglass Bay.

Don’t tell anyone: Doo Town the small village on Pirates Bay takes its name from the names of the houses in the village, an architect named his shack Doo I 99 back in the 1930’s and his neighbour followed suit with Xanadoo—-and the rest of the village all followed their example….you couldn’t make it up……Didgeri-Doo, Doo-All, Doo Come In, Doodle Doo, Doo Drop In, Doo For Now, Doo Fuck All, Doo I, Doo-ing it easy, Doo Little, Doo Luv It, Doo-Me, Doo Nix, Doo Nothing, Doo Often, Doo Us, Doo Us Too, Doo Write, Gunnadoo, Humpty Doo, Just Doo It, Love Me Doo, Make Doo, Much-A-Doo, Rum Doo, Sheil Doo, This Will Doo, Thistle Doo Me…..Wattle-I-Doo…… etc.

Next up: Wineglass Bay.

pjbourne is a full time architect, urban masterplanner and sustainability designer. In his free time he’s outside with a camera, running, wandering or mountain biking through the Alps where he lives or indoors in front of the iMac planning another long road trip in a campervan to the other side of the world.

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