Tasman Peninsula & South East

Great Short Walks - Waterfall Bay Track

Great Short Walks – Waterfall Bay Track. Credit: Tourism Tasmania & Anson Smart

A concentrated package of the best Tasmania has to offer; a kaleidoscopic of habitats, wilderness, spectacular scenery, intriguing and extraordinary historic sites, fantastic walks, empty beaches, unique and enchanting wildlife, fishing, amazing surf, cruising, scuba diving and delicious local cuisine.

Allow time to explore, to be wowed around every corner: simply soak up the atmosphere or indulge in recreational play.

Home of the World Heritage Port Arthur Historic Site, the Tasman region hosts an abundance of offerings for your holiday or short break. Allow a few days to enjoy a taste of Tasmania that you will cherish: you will undoubtedly want to come back again and again.


Port Arthur

The village of Port Arthur is often missed because of the significance of the Historic Site, but there is so much to experience in the area that you may want to consider staying overnight, particularly as entry passes to the Site are valid for two days.

Surfing, sea kayaking and bushwalking are popular and the coastline is spectacular. A short drive south of Port Arthur is Remarkable Cave, so called because its opening is said to resemble a map of Tasmania. From here you can walk to Crescent Bay, a secluded curve of striking beauty backed by huge sand dunes.

Just 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) north-west is the Coal Mines Historic Site, where interpretive signs explain the harsh lives and working conditions of repeat offenders from Port Arthur who worked underground extracting coal. Look out for DooTown, a quirky shack community devoted to homes with a theme: Gonna Doo, She’ll Doo, Humpty Doo and many more.

The settlement began life in 1830 as a timber station.  In the years that followed, convicts created a small town for 1,100 inmates at its peak in the early 1840s.

Port Arthur’s maximum average daily temperature is 18.5 degrees Celsius (65.5 degrees Fahrenheit) in January and 11.5 degrees (52 degrees Fahrenheit) in June. It is 93 kilometres (58 miles) south-east of Hobart on the A9.


Dunalley is a small fishing village south-east of Hobart en route to Port Arthur. It is located on a narrow isthmus that joins the Tasman Peninsula to the rest of Tasmania.  You cross the Denison Canal, hand dug in 1905, which joins Frederick Henry Bay and Blackman Bay.

The town is 57 kilometres (about 60 minutes’ drive or 35 miles) from Hobart on the A9 Highway. The Denison canal, with a swing bridge for road traffic, allows boats easy access between the two bays. Local legend has it that the “toll” to the gatekeeper is a bottle of beer.

The area is known for its open countryside and stunning waterways.

On November 29, 1642 Abel Janszoon Tasman landed at Blackman Bay near present day Dunalley. It is believed they the Dutch were the first Europeans to set foot on Tasmanian soil.  Although they saw smoke and heard noises they did not see any Aboriginal people.  Notches cut at considerable distances on nearby tree trunks led them to believe that the people must be very tall. Later, the British satirist, Jonathan Swift, had Gulliver sail to the country of Houyhnhnms, west of Tasmania.

The weather on the Tasman Peninsula is affected by the winds coming off Frederick Henry Bay, so remember, no matter what time of year you visit; bring a warm jacket and all weather gear.

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