Monday, May 4, 2009

Port Arthur and more

So, Day two of Hobart included Port Arthur and tassie devils!!

I headed out around 8:30am ,right during rush hour, and managed to make it almost out of the city without getting lost, then I missed the turn off out of the city and ended up going in the wrong direction! After pulling over and looking at my map, it was my best option to take a slightly longer, but easier to access, route to the town of Richmond which was my first stop. I managed to get on this highway without problems, and off I was! It was a very narrow 2 lane highway - which most seem to be here in Tasmania. It was a nice scenic route and good thing I don't get car sick because it was very windy!! I arrived in the cute small town of Richmond, with old historic buildings, and hardly anyone on the road! I snapped some photos and was on my way to Port Arthur. I had some stops marked on the map that I wanted to check out first, with Tessellated pavement being the first. Tessellated pavement is on the beach, and with the erosion of the rocks, it looks liked tiles carved into the rocks. Very neat, as well as a beautiful coast line. I continued down the highway and took a detour at Eaglehawk Neck to another couple of lookouts, the Tasman's arch and Devils Kitchen, and then to check out The Blowhole. On the way out I took my time driving through Doo Town, where house owners have names all their homes with "doo" names. These include, "Just Doo It", "Much-A-Doo", "Doo Little", "Love Me Doo:, "Doo Drop Inn", "Doodle Doo", my favorite which I've posted a picture below, and many more!
The road down to Port Arthur was very pretty, and being alone, I didn't hesitate to pull over to the side of the road to enjoy the scenery, and well, to take some pictures!! My last stop before Port Arthur was to the Tasmanian Devils Conservation, which was also home to many injured birds, possums, kangaroos and wallabies! The first thing I did was of course, go see the devil's!! The where kinda cute kinda ugly in a cute kinda way!! They where surprisingly active, and could hear you approaching their home, so they'd run over to see you, or should I say smell you, then they'd go off running elsewhere! The first three I saw where young ones, who didn't rest at all, the other three I saw where much more lazy, and as you can tell by the picture below, more laid back! I walked through the entire park, and saw some cockatoos, kookaburra's, goshawk's, an amazing eagle, possum's, quolls, and roamed with the wallabies, geese and the very lazy kangaroos. I missed the feeding of the tassie devils, but time was running short and decided I better head to Port Arthur before time ran out!
Now Port Arthur is quite an amazing place, and very pretty - mainly because there are no bars or gates containing the prison. (No where to run too, either the bush - where the only access to the mainland, was a narrow road guarded by mastiffs, or the water, which by no means, is not an easy paddle!) I took the 'free' harbor cruise which was a very slow ferry ride that took us through the bay and around the isle of the dead, which you can make a pretty good guess is where they buried those that died at the prison. I then headed to the 'free' guided tour of Port Arthur that was very informative of what life was like - and there was some nice eye candy on my tour as well :)
Everything that was built on port Arthur, was built by the convicts, EVERYTHING. That includes 864,000 bricks, as well as any mining/making of materials needed to build the structures. Some of the buildings include the law courts, hospital, church, the separate prison (for confinement), asylum and of course the penitentiary. At any given time there where 2000 convicts, plus guards, soldiers and the soldiers wives and children. Jeremy Bentham, who reformed the prison described the penitentiary as 'a machine for grinding rogues honest'. Quite a powerful statement if you ask me. Many of the convicts arrived to the prison as a criminal, but left with a trade and eduction to get by in life. Unfortunately, many of the men who where released, had to return as they where so institutionalized they didn't know how to function in the real world! Anyways, Port Arthur was a very interesting place, and I could have spent more time wondering the buildings, but time was running short, as was the sun, so I decided to head back into town.
But first I took a quick detour south to the remarkable caves while the sun was still out, and despite the cold weather (mainly the wind chill) it was quite remarkable. I couldn't access the caves as it was high tide and the waves coming in where really strong, but you could see the neat markings on the rocks from erosion of the many years of the southern ocean crashing against its facade. All in all, a spectacular sight!
Next I was to drive back into Hobart, with the last bit of driving in the dark, but I managed to get myself back to the hostel without difficulties! Good thing I have a pretty good memory and sense of direction.....well, most of the time anyway!

Tessellated pavement
Tasman's Arch

The Blowhole

Beautiful coastline enroute to Port Arthur

My fav 'Doo' house!

Lazy Roo's

Really lazy Devil!
Me at Port Arthur, behind the Penitentiary

Remarkable Caves - as you can see, rough seas today

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