Tasmania Day 6: Passing the Capital & Heading to Prison

Feeling pretty crap from what was the worst night’s sleep ever, we got to the information centre at the head of the Freycinet Peninsula to find the weather wasn’t looking that great. We’d planned on doing the overnight hike round the peninsula, which meant camping somewhere near the south end, so possible rain and strong winds didn’t combine to make an attractive forecast. Ditching that plan, but at least much better informed about what we could do on the peninsula thanks to the information centre, we steamed on to Hobart to meet our Israeli friend David, who also was circumnavigating the island, but on two wheels, with no engine.

Almost completely ignoring the capital, we caught up with David, got some supplies and tried to leave Hobart. That was easier said than done as, once over the bridge, I assumed what seemed like a fairly sensible position in the left lane of the highway, only to find that after a corner there were signs saying this lane slipped off the main route and, with no time to change lane, then no sign of a slip road back on, I ended up driving back across the bridge, then back across again, just to leave the city. Once again, Australian roads: I despair.

Heading towards the famous and, by white Australian standards, historical penal colony of Port Arthur, we took a detour just before entering the domain of convicts at Eaglehawk Neck to see the Tessellated Pavement and check out a lookout over Pirates Bay and Eaglehawk Neck the spit of land that we’d cross to enter the peninsula. After reading the information on how the cracked formation of the ‘pavement’ – a flat area of rock on a beach – formed, I understand how the cracks formed but still don’t really know why they make a uniform grid. Anyway, passing Eaglehawk Neck didn’t have quite the feel of a no-man’s land marking the entry to what was once the worst prison you could end up at in the British Empire, as we couldn’t see the sea that was so close to us on both sides for the thick bush.

Just inside the peninsula, we checked out the Tasman Arch, Devil’s Kitchen, and Tasman Blowhole: all fairly impressive rock formations carved out by the sea. Definitely in need of a shower again, Fortescue Bay looked promising, although quite far down some unsealed roads, with a camp site and showers. Determined not to pay anything for washing or sleeping though, we sneaked into the campground, had a hypothermia-inducing shower (hot water is available, at a price) then drove back out beyond the limit of the national park and camped by the side of some obscure forest track for the night.

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