Tasman Island, Tasman Peninsula, TAS © Jarrad Seng

Guide to Tasman Peninsula

Port Arthur Historic Site, TAS © Alastair Bett

Visit the Port Arthur historic site

You can’t go to the Tasman Peninsula without visiting Port Arthur. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic site was one of the earliest convict settlements in Australia back in the 1800s and is now officially Tasmania’s most visited tourist attraction. You'll need a ticket to enter the historic site, which includes a walking tour and a harbour cruise. The site is spread out over gardens and building ruins, so prepare to spend a few hours exploring the grounds and learning about the convict history. The area is not only fascinating from the ground but also stunning from the sky. Take a helicopter tour with Osborne Helitours for an aerial view of convict history as well as some of the world's tallest sea cliffs. It's wild Tasmania at it's best.

Tasman Island Cruises, Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, Tasman National Park, TAS © Wai Nang Poon

Do a wilderness cruise

A Tasman Island Wilderness Cruise with Pennicott Journeys is a must. This three-hour cruise has won a large number of tourism awards, which is unsurprising considering just how unique this experience is. The cruise departs from Port Arthur and will take you around Tasman Island and up the coastline to Eaglehawk Neck. On the way, you’ll hopefully spot some ocean gulls, pods of bottlenose dolphins, migrating humpback whales, as well as Australian and New Zealand fur seals. The cruise takes you by towering sea cliffs which are the tallest in the Southern Hemisphere at 300 metres (328 yards) high. There are also intriguing sea caves, massive rock arches, and waterfalls that flow down the cliff face along this spectacular coastline.

Tasmanian devil, Tasmanian Devil Unzoo, Taranna, TAS © Tourism Tasmania & Scott Sporleder, Matador

See Tassie devils

Tasmanian Devils (affectionately known as Tassie Devils) are an endangered species, and it’s unlikely that you’ll see them in the wild. One place to see the devils in captivity is at the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo on the Tasman Peninsula. This wildlife park is part of the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Project, making it a haven for the devils who can live in a setting similar to their natural environment. The Unzoo has four large enclosures which house kangaroos, wallabies, pademelons, quolls, possums, devils, and a selection of native birds. It’s also unique in that it has a glass dome that pops up from underneath the devil enclosure, so if you stick your head up into the dome while the devils are nearby, you may get a much closer look!

Cape Pillar and the Blade, Three Capes Track, Tasman National Park, TAS © Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service

Hike the Three Capes Track

The Three Capes Track is one of Tasmania’s top hiking trails. This four-day, 48-kilometre (30-mile) trek on the Tasman Peninsula draws visitors with its scenic views of the Pacific Ocean and rugged Tasmanian coastline. The trailheads are located at Fortescue Bay and Denmans Cove, and if you’d prefer a shorter hike you can attempt smaller sections of the trail from either end. The Cape Hauy track from Fortescue Bay is a popular choice for beginner to intermediate hikers and offers spectacular views as it follows the rim of massive sea cliffs. If you prefer your adventure with a side of luxury, experience this beautiful coastline on the Three Capes Lodge Walk. This guided walk includes gourmet food, Tasmanian wines and luxury. 

Port Arthur Lavender, Port Arthur, TAS © Port Arthur Lavender

Frolick in a lavender field

Tasmania is well known for its vibrant purple lavender fields. The Port Arthur Lavender Farm on the Tasman Peninsula is one of the most picturesque, with endless rows of lavender grown beside a reflective lake. Visit in the summer months (December to February) to see the flowers in full bloom, and don’t forget to try some delicious lavender-infused ice cream or fudge from the café. Afterwards, check out the gift shop to purchase some delicious-smelling souvenirs such as lavender soaps, scented soy candles, or lavender tea.

McHenry Distillery, Port Arthur, TAS © Peter Jarvis

Sample some local gin

McHenry Distillery is located down a long dirt road that winds its way into the middle of a forest. This hidden gem is actually the southernmost distillery in Australia and produces a range of top quality gins and whiskies. Try a few free samples of the sloe gin or barrel-aged gin, or choose the premium tasting for a sip of the exceptional single malt whisky. Free tours of the property are also an option, so you can see what goes on behind the scenes at this country distillery.

Tessellated Pavement, Tessellated Pavement State Reserve, Eaglehawk Neck, TAS © Kathryn Leahy

See incredible rock formations

One of the distinguishing features of the Tasman Peninsula is its rugged, rocky coastline. Once you pass Eaglehawk Neck, there are a few stops where you can pull over to see some of the rock formations. Tessellated Pavement is arguably the most famous. The flat rocks here have a naturally formed criss-cross pattern from fractures in the rock, and the tide often leaves pools of water sitting in the rectangles to create a reflective surface, making it popular with photographers at sunset. Some other rock formations to see are Tasman Arch, Devil’s Kitchen, and the Blow Hole.

Federation Chocolate Factory, Taranna, TAS © Natalie Mendham

Indulge in a chocolate tasting

The perfect place to indulge is the Federation Chocolate Factory, located in the town of Taranna. This artisan chocolate shop uses as many local ingredients as possible in their products, and offers unique flavours like Apple & Cinnamon or Brandied Apricot. There are also a range of vegan chocolates available, including a sugar-free dark chocolate for those who want a healthier treat.

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