Flanked by the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest sea cliffs, this peninsula combines rich cultural sites with a raft of coastal features.
The small peninsula hangs by a thread to the Tasmanian mainland, with only the 100m-wide isthmus of Teralina / Eaglehawk Neck preventing it from becoming an island.
Turrakana / Tasman Peninsula is home to two of Australia’s 11 World Heritage-listed convict sites. It’s also the setting for the four-day Three Capes Track, and a scattering of blowholes, sea arches, caves, high dunes, powerful surf and waterfalls that pour into the ocean.
Much of the peninsula is protected as Tasman National Park, which wraps along the highest sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere and around a trio of capes that poke into wild seas. To legendary surf and a world-famous rock climb, add distilleries, devils and a dark history.
- Wander through the convict settlement at Port Arthur Historic Site.
- Hike atop 300m-high sea cliffs on the Three Capes Track.
- See the cliffs from sea level.
- Witness the epic waves at Shipstern Bluff.
Teralina / Eaglehawk Neck is a 1hr drive (75km) south-east of Hobart.
Things to do
Port Arthur Historic Site
Australia’s most famous convict settlement, the Port Arthur Historic Site, mixes a glorious location with a brutal history. The well-preserved remains of the 19th-century World Heritage-listed penal station include a large penitentiary, solitary cells and a roofless church built by inmates. Cruise to the Isle of the Dead to see the settlement’s graveyard, and stick around after dark for a ghost tour through the historic site – it’s said to be Australia’s most haunted place.
Coal Mines Historic Site
The peninsula’s second World Heritage-listed convict site flies under the radar, but is itself a special and evocative place. Tasmania’s first operational mine was worked by the “worst class” repeat-offending convicts, and today it presents a scene of uncrowded ruins and historic tales. A walking trail (1-2hr, 2km) – one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks – meanders through the site, which once housed up to 600 convicts.
In convict times, a line of fierce dogs was chained across Teralina / Eaglehawk Neck as the ultimate deterrent against escapes from Port Arthur. The dogs were positioned in a line across the 100m-wide isthmus, ready to attack any convict who dared try to pass. A dog statue on the site recalls the so-called "dog line”.
The coast calls when you come to this peninsula. Two of the capes – Cape Hauy and Cape Raoul – are listed among Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks. The Cape Hauy walk (4hr return, 9.4km) unveils the peninsula’s high cliffs and a glimpse of the legendary Totem Pole and Candlestick, sea stacks renowned among rock climbers. A side track along the Cape Raoul walk (5hr, 14km) descends to the coast at Shipstern Bluff, one of the world’s great big-wave surf locations. The high dunes at Crescent Bay (3-4hr, 9km) are another local favourite walking destination.
Three Capes Track
Linger along the coast and cliffs on this 48km walk, which begins with a boat trip from Port Arthur and ends four days later on the white sands of Fortescue Bay. The track ventures south to Cape Pillar and the sharp-edged Blade, overlooking Tasman Island. The well-designed huts along the track are the most stylish and comfortable in the country, while the guided Three Capes Lodge Walk takes comfort levels up another notch, with walkers staying in private lodges with a day spa and nightly feasts.
Whisky and wine
Call in for a tasting at a pair of peninsula distilleries. McHenry Distillery sits high on the slopes of Mount Arthur above Port Arthur, and adds gin-making workshops to the tasting experience. Dunalley Bay Distillery rests on the shores of its namesake bay – its tasting hut serves baked goods, cheeses, local wines and craft beers, as well as its own artisanal gins. Switch to wine at the nearby Bangor Vineyard Shed, mixing food and wine with great views over the vines and coast.
Tasmanian Devil Unzoo
The world’s first "unzoo" features uncaged wildlife that’s free to come and go at will. Watch Tasmanian devils being fed, handfeed wild parrots and other birds, and stroll among kangaroos, wallabies and possums.
Teralina / Eaglehawk Neck
This skinny isthmus is the site of some of the peninsula’s finest natural features. Visit the Tessellated Pavement, the Blowhole, Tasmans Arch and Devils Kitchen, while a short walking trail heads to Waterfall Bay, where a stream tumbles into the sea. Be sure to check out the quirky names of the homes in Doo Town.
One of the best ways to get a sense of scale on this cliff-lined coast is to take to the water. Tasman Island Cruises’ boats skim along the base of the cliffs to Tasman Island, while kayaking trips with Roaring 40s Kayaking and Southern Sea Ventures paddle among the cliffs, spotting sea stacks and marine wildlife.