Port Arthur

One can’t talk about Australia’s history without significant mention of it’s convict roots. While the original inhabitants of Australia have been here for thousands of years, the European immigration began in earnest when Britain decided to make Australia a new penal colony in the late 1700s. But in a country filling with convicts, what happened when someone who was already on a prison continent misbehaved again (or was considered especially dangerous)? They often were sent to Port Arthur, on the south-east corner of Tasmania.

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The Coal Mines

The Tasman Peninsula, where I was living during my 3 months in Tasmania, is home to a lot of history. The most notable spot is Port Arthur, an old convict site for some of Australia’s worst criminals, but there was a related site nearby aptly called the Coal Mines. Because they mined coal there. This was a hard labour camp. It was shut many many years ago, but remnants of the work remain. One fine day myself and many of the helpers at Tasman EcoVillage took off for a gander.

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Tassie with Tam, Part 1

So going back in time nearly a year from right now, I’m still at the photos from Tasmania. As a quick recap, I’d been down in Tasmania working to extend my visa in Australia. I’d been down there for about two months when Tam came to visit and travel around Tasmania with me.

We met up in Hobart, with Tam’s flight arriving fairly early in the morning and me taking a bus in from Nubeena. After a big hug and kiss, we got in our rental car and went to our first destination, Mt. Wellington.

Mt. Wellington towers up behind Hobart, but is most remarkable in the fact that it is so shear. The mountain goes from Hobart, right at sea level, to over 1200m high in little time at all. The drive up is very winding and narrow, and the views from the top sensational.

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Parson’s Bay Retreat

Finally, time to showcase where I lived and worked for 3 months in Tasmania! I found myself at Parson’s Bay Retreat and Tasman Ecovillage, in the tiny town of Nubeena. We were about 100km/1.5 hours out of Hobart and near the historic site of Port Arthur. But being fall/winter, it was a very quiet place to be. The Retreat consisted of a motel, cafe and Ecovillage. I spent a lot of my downtime here, in reception and the Cafe:

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Hiking the Tasman Peninsula

With 3 months in a remote location, I made the most of my free time by going on some hikes. Thankfully, the Tasman Peninsula boasts some great hiking tracks, many of which were easily accessible. I’ll showcase two, the Shipsterns Bluff hike and Cape Hauy.

The first hike I did with the group of friends I worked with at Parson’s Bay Retreat was to Shipsterns Bluff, overlooking some great sea cliffs in the area. The hike was relatively short, mostly in the forest, but did end up at some stunning cliffs. Far down below was Cape Raoul on one side.

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