Eaglehawk Neck is a small town and natural gateway to the many attractions of the Tasman Peninsula, including the Port Arthur Historic Site.
The thin strip of land known as the Neck connects the Tasman Peninsula to the Forestier Peninsula. It’s about 400 metres long and less than 30 metres wide at one point. This narrow entrance to the Tasman Peninsula was once guarded by the dog line, a line of dogs chained together to prevent convicts from escaping the notorious prison settlement at neraby Port Arthur. Many tried to escape, some succeeded and there’s now a sculpture to mark this once brutal barricade.
Many people rush the areas around the Eaglehawk Neck when visiting the Tasman Peninsula. This peninsula is often does as a day trip, combining a decent visit to Port Arthur with the 1 hour travel time back to Hobart.
I recommend spending a day, or longer, exploring this picturesque part of the peninsula.
The Tasman Blowhole is an unusual rock formation carved by the sea through the sheer rock face of the eastern coast of the Peninsula and creating a tunnel through which the force of the sea causesperiodic ruptures of the water which can spurt to 10 metres high.
I thought that the blowhole wasn’t that impressive, but the surrounding area was. There were pathways that led to beautiful cliff views.
Just opposite the carpark is a boat ramp leading to Pirates Bay. There were great rocks for rockpooling, as well as many birds nesting on the rocks.
The blowhole itself may be disappointing but this area warrants a decent explore.
Tasman Arch is basically what is left of the roof of a large sea cave, or tunnel, that was created by wave action over many thousands of years. The pressure of water and compressed air, sand and stones acted on vertical cracks (joints) in the cliff, dislodging slabs and boulders. Eventually the arch will collapse and Tasman Arch will become another ‘Devils Kitchen’.
via Parks Tasmania
This geological feature probably started as a sea cave, then a tunnel and developed into its modern form after the collapse of the cave roof.
The Devils Kitchen is of similar origin to The Blowhole at Pirates Bay and the Tasmans Arch – all are former sea caves, or tunnels. The Blowhole has retained its roof, Tasmans Arch has lost most of its roof, and the roof of the Devils Kitchen has completely fallen in.
Tasman National Park Lookout
From here you can see what is left of these earlier landforms, caused by the geological changes that occured when Tasmania separated from the mainland. Behind Pirates Bay the forested hills are the remains of the solidified magma, while the coastal cliffs are composed of siltstone deposited in the Tasmanian Basin. Further down the coastline is Cape Huay and The Lanterns, an impressive set of landforms composed of dolerite.
The crisscrossed rock is a geological formation known as “tessellated pavement” for its resemblance to Roman mosaic floors of the same name. The Eaglehawk Neck formation began when pressure at the Earth’s crust caused cracks to appear in the rock at perpendicular angles. That happened, if you’ll pardon the vague estimate, around 60 million to 160 million years ago. Salt water has since eroded the areas between the lines, giving the joints an enhanced appearance and creating a tiled effect.
It is a beautiful site and warrants more then a 10 minute visit. There is a lot of potential for photography when both the light and reflections change. The flora on the edge of the beach is also quite interesting.
Waterfall Bay Walk
The stunning coastline of this region includes some of the highest sea cliffs in Australia. Waterfall Bay offers a spectacular view across the cliff-lined bay to a waterfall which, after rain, plummets straight into the sea.
via Parks Tasmania
This ” is a brilliant 1 hour return walk to via a hardened walking track. The trail follows the heathland for 300m before ducking on and off the cliff’s edge. Multiple viewing platforms along the trail provide fantastic views of the tremendous coastline the peninsula is renowned for. Once at Waterfall Bay you are met with towering cliff dropping down into the ocean. Best viewed after heavy rain, the waterfalls at Waterfall Bay fall spectacularly from over 200m up” via Tas Trails
Wild Ocean Tasmania
See amazing cave and cliff formations, learn about the beautiful turquoise color of Tasmania’s temperate waters and chance to spot dolphins, albatrosses or even a whale on the yearly migration.
They offer both a 2 hour coastal cruise and a half day option to go swimming with the seals. This is a great chance to view the coastline if you can’t afford other coastal tours in the region.
Eaglehawk Dive Centre
For scuba diving, Eaglehawk Neck is the perfect venue for a base to explore both the Tasman and Forestier Peninsulas. The region offers fabulous above-water scenery with massive cliff formations towering up to 300 metres above sea level. These walls continue underwater, and combined with the rich invertebrate and marine plant life, provide spectacular diving. In addition, whales and dolphins are regularly sighted on this part of Tasmania’s coast.
This is a useful option to check out. Shore diving is limited due to the extremely rugged and very photogenic coastline with cliffs towering from sea level to 1000 feet. Many of the sites are outside of the Eaglehawk neck area but it is a great access point. They also offer accomodation.
To find out more, check out the Eaglehawk Dive Centre website.