We made our way over Cockle Creek bridge to the Southwest National Park, part of Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage Area. We took the shortest walk to Bronze Whale Structure, erected to show the whaling history of the area. We decided to head onwards and we were off North again. We headed through Hobart and on to the Tasman Peninsular and the convict ruins of Port Arthur. We arrived and were shocked at the set up, we were expecting Port Arthur to be a small town that we could wander around at our leisure. It is in fact a historic site purchased by the Government to preserve its history. In 1830 Governor Arthur chose this area of the Tasman Peninsular to confine prisoners that has committed further crimes in the colony, it was called a natural penitentiary because it was only connected to the mainland by a strip of land less that 100m wide, the land was guarded at all times by vicious dogs making it all the more difficult for prisoners to escape. We paid our entry fee, which luckily lasted for 2 days. We had to rush in to get on the tour of Carnarvon bay and the isle of the dead where many convicts were buried. The cruise also passed Point Puer, where an experimental reformatory institution was set up for young boys. Once we had finished the tour, we went back in to the main visitor centre where we were able to read the history of the site and follow the criminals from England to Port Arthur through various stories. We then joined the guided tour, where we were taken through the penitentiary, the layout of the institution was explained and how it was built and run. We were also told tales of the commandants of the institution and the free settlers that had to live here. The tour ended at the Asylum, used to house those that had gone mad and the secondary prison used for those prisoners that needed further punishment they were sent here in solitary confinement.
By the time the tour had ended tit was getting dark so we made our way back to read more information on the types of convict that had been sent to Australia and then on to Port Arthur. The following day we returned to the site to continue with our tour. This time we went off to explore on our own, we wandered within the Penitentiary and looked at the ruins of cells and the kitchens. We then made our way to the commandants house which has been restored and showed how under it had grown through out the time. It was set up on the hill overlooking the bay and the penitentiary, the whole layout of the site was very ordered and reflected the differences between class and power. After looking around the house we made our way to the lookout tower, laundry and the hospital before we went to the paupers mess and the church. We were so glad that we decided to come here as it was really interesting, well restored and maintained and the tours made it all the more interesting. After leaving we headed to the blowhole, devils kitchen and the Tasman arch, all naturally formed by being exposed to natures elements. All the formations are very close to each other around a small village called Doo Town all of the residents have stuck to the doo theme calling there homes Gunadoo, Doodle Doo, Love Me Doo, Doo Us, Doo Me, Doo Nix, Wee Doo, Xanadu, Rum Doo and Doo Little. We drove North via a dirt track 40km all in the name of a short cut although for once we did manage to save some time. We stopped for the night at a small campground at mayfield bay, opposite Freycinet peninsular and right on the beach, again it was very popular. We made it just in time for sunset and a quick stroll down the beach, we made another lovely campfire and had beef and mushroom pie (minus the pastry) sat warming ourselves by the fire.
An early start the next morning and Wayne and I headed off to the Freycinet National Park and the famously picturesque wineglass bay. Scott and Kelly followed on after as they had already been to the bay. We made the trek climbing steeply, about 60 steps in total to Wineglass bay lookout. It was well worth the walk as the view was spectacular, however we decided not to take the descent to the beach as this was our last full day and we wanted to see Launceston. We got back to the car park and spotted a wallaby grazing by the path, we stopped and got close enough to touch, he must have been used to the attention. We stopped off at the visitor centre and as we were parking saw some people that we had met on our hill tribe trek in Thailand, all very random. We then had lunch at Friendly Beaches which had beautiful white sand, we could have spent a few days in the park if we'd of have time but it was worth the short visit we made. We got stopped on our way to Launceston by a pack of sheep on the road, they were moving them around and the farmer even stopped to have a chat with us about camper vans. By the time we got to Launceston it was late afternoon and we just had enough time to have a quick look around the town before heading back to Andy's bakery where we were staying the night.
Our final day in Tasmania was warm and sunny, we were due to go to Cradle Mountain National Park for a look around, but we were all National Parked out and it would have ended up being another long day of driving. We hung around at Andy's playing a game of boules and relaxing before setting out for Devonport and the ferry. We stopped on the way for some cheese tasting, nearly every cheese was available to taste and you just made you way around sampling. We brought some chilli cheese and wasabi cheese, Wayne actually made himself feel ill he tried that much. Our next stop was the chocolate factory were we had more tasters, truffles,milk, dark and fudge, Wayne came out looking greener still than when he went in. We drove to Devonport and had a beer and a walk around before feasting on noodle box, so that we did not have to eat the ferry food! We finally boarded the spirit of Tasmania 2 at about 8 and set off at 9 for our overnight sailing.