Port Arthur is one of Australias leading historic sites, but as a huge bonus the Tasman National Park has some of the nations best coastal bushwalking in a scenic experience the equal of any in the world.
Lookouts beside the road at Eaglehawk Neck and Remarkable Cave emphasis the ease of seeing the best from good sealed roads.
At Eaglehawk Neck the Convict Trail leads to seven historic locations. Yellow convict arrows by the roadside point the way. The Tasmanian Tourism Award winning Port Arthur Historic Site has interpretive and interactive displays.
A ghost tour of the site by lantern light is illuminated by stories of strange happenings and apparitions.
Walking in Tasman National Park can range from an easy stroll to two to four day adventurers.
A local guide will help with sea kayaking, abseiling, fishing, diving, horse riding and seaplane flights. National park Entry fees apply.
See natural wonders Tessellated Pavement, Blowhole, Devils Kitchen, Pirates Bay Lookout and Tasman Arch (all at Eaglehawk Neck) and Remarkable Cave, near Port Arthur.
Follow the Convict Trail back to the past. At Eaglehawk Neck see the Officers Quarters and walk to the nearby Dog Line, where savage dogs once guarded the narrow isthmus.
Call in to the Bush Mill (near Port Arthur), with its steam railway and pioneer settlement.
Give yourself time to experience the Port Arthur Historic Site, including the interpretation centre, Isle of the Dead cruise and the evening ghost tour.
Drive to historic convict-built ruins at Saltwater River, 25km from Port Arthur.
Walk the Tasman Trail, between Eaglehawk Neck and Fortescue Bay, beside the highest sea-cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere (walks from 30 minutes to overnight).
Take the Wielangta Forest Drive between Copping and Orford through tall eucalypt forests. Picnic at the Thumbs Lookout and enjoy sweeping ocean views.
See wildlife at the Tasmanian Devil Park Taranna.
Historic Sorell is well known as the gateway to the Convict Trail, which leads through Dunalley on its way to attractions like the penal heritage of Port Arthur.
Mt Wellington looks down on the Derwent, Pittwater and beaches
But not so generally appreciated is Sorell is lined with historic buildings dating from 1826.
Europeans first settled Sorell in 1811 and by 1816 it was the major wheat centre for eastern Australia. Without it Sydney would have gone hungry.
Walk through history
Heritage is everywhere. A walk from the Old Rectory, built in 1826, will take in Pelham House, 1864, St Georges Anglican Church, 1826/1883, Anglican Church, 1900, Railway Weir and Spillway, 1892, District Constables House, 1832, The Pembroke Inn, 1847, School of Arts, now Sorells Antique Centre, 1861, The Old Post Office, 1850, The Bluebell Inn, 1864, Colonial Terrace, 1827, St Thomas Catholic Church, 1863, Scots Uniting Church, 1840, House, 25 Gordon Street, 1863, David Hilyards House/The Plough and Harrow, 1829, Braithwaites Store (now Sorell Wine Cellars) 1910, Railway Station, 1892, Cole Street Shop, 1829, The Gordon Highlander Hotel, 1844.
Sorells attractions include:
Sorell Station Antique Centre, open Thursday through Sunday.
Sorell Fruit Farm, berry fruits, apples and cherries. Devonshire teas, strawberries and cream are available in the coffee shop or take a self-guided farm tour. (Seasonal, opens in the last week of October).
Forcett Lakes Golf Course, which welcomes visitors.
Hobart Airport Golf Club, public course.
Tasmania Golf Club, 18 hole championship course.
Pittwater, a great place for sailboarding, fishing and boating.
Orielton Lagoon, One of the most important habitats for migratory birds from the northern hemisphere.
Land with Abel Tasman
For those who want something different from their Tasmanian touring Sorell, Copping and Dunalley are naturally attractive, with outstanding heritage, good food and wine, plus many fresh experiences.
Abel Tasman, peerless seaman, adventurer and discoverer of Van Diemens Land first noted the natural beauty in 1642 when he landed just south of Marion Bay to take on fresh water.
At the top of the Tasman Peninsular, Marion Bay links Tasmania's sensational East Coast beaches with convict country and Port Arthur.
Relax on the pristine beaches of Marion Bay or discover the relic rainforest of Weilangta.
Marion Bay is beautiful in the way that the best of Tasmania manages with such grace. The rich volcanic hills of Bream Creeks Ragged Tiers roll down to the clear waters of the Tasman sea, named for the discoverer whose monument stands at Monument Bay so near to the south.
Marion Bay is only 30 minutes from Hobart Airport in the heart of Tasmanias South East, close to Hobart, the Tasman Peninsular and the East Coast yet it remains a refuge, unspoiled, a place to relax, absorb Tasmanias natural beauty and be revitalised.
Drive via the scenic route from Copping to Dunalley. The road travels through picturesque rural countryside, which rolls down to the Tasman Sea.
The catch from local fishermen includes abalone and crayfish in the crystal waters, which run from the narrows north to Hellfire Bluff and Maria Island.
The coastline is a peaceful escape with many beaches to discover including the main beach which arcs 10kms from the Long Spit to Eagles Reef.
The Long Spit Nature Reserve is home to many birds and native species. On the western perimeter of Marion Bay is the Wielangta Forest and Sand Spit Forest Reserve.
It is only 15 minutes drive from the beach into another world of tall trees, cool streams and the sanctuary of an ancient rainforest. There are barbecue facilities and a forest walk. The rural vistas include vineyards, a herb farm and truffle orchard.
Take a reflective walk along Bream Creek and enjoy bird life, which includes Black Swans, Pelicans, and with luck, Wedge tail Eagles.
The lifestyle includes: Horse riding, cycling, walking, wine tasting, star gazing, boating, sailing surfing, fishing, windsurfing, snorkelling and reading. Hone rock climbing skills or scuba dive the kelp forests.
Tasmanias own Suez Canal
In a small way Dunalley sits on Tasmanias Suez Canal. Dunalley lies on two bays, Blackman and Frederick Henry. The small fishing village borders the Denison Canal, which is spanned by a swing bridge.
The canal allows access to the East Coast for small vessels, fishing boats and yachts by providing a route from Hobart via the Derwent estuary, which avoids the passage out into Storm Bay and around Port Arthur and the Tasman Peninsula.
The canal project was started in 1901 and completed in 1905.This is an area to enjoy boating, beaches, walks and the quiet enjoyment of taking life at your own pace. There are services, which link to the General Store, Canal Caf, Post Office and nearby wineries.
Wines partner fine foods
As Tasmanian producers learn to match their varieties with the natural advantages of soil, climate and season the island state is emerging as one of the worlds great cool climate wine regions.The long summer days of the southern latitude combine with cool, dry temperature and the sunny, sandy, hilly landscape to produce intense fruit flavoured wines as the grapes slowly ripen.
Local Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noirs combine well with the gourmet foods, which are to be found in the South East and East Coast of Tasmania.
The Friendly Beaches, Sleepy Bay, Wineglass Bay, The Hazards and 485 metre Mt Dove make Freycinet Peninsula on the East Coast one of Tasmania's wonders.
Wineglass Bay is said to be among the most beautiful bays in the world. Coles Bays and its quiet beaches mark the gateway to the The Hazards, a natural essay in pink and grey granite rocks, painted with orange lichen, rising steeply above a peaceful land and seascape. A plunge in the sea at Richardsons Beach is a champagne experience.
The East Coast is a mix of national parks Douglas-Apsley, with its quiet rivers, eucalypts and Oyster Bay pines; Freycinet, bushwalkers paradise; and Maria Island, with its history, walks and native birds and animals.
Dutch navigator Abel Tasman mapped Schouten and Maria Islands; Frenchman Nicolas Baudin charted Freycinet; nostalgic Welsh settlers named the town of Swansea; Triabunna and Wielangta remember thousands of years of Aboriginal settlement.
East Coast must see do. As suggested by Tourism Tasmania www.discovertasmania.com.au
Stroll, paddle, swim or surf at beautiful Spring Beach near Orford.
From Triabunna take a ferry to Maria Island National Park camping, walks and wildlife.
Walk to Maria Islands Fossil Cliffs.
Explore Darlington, Maria Islands original convict settlement.
Call in to savour the homegrown fruit and homemade ice cream at Kates Berry Farm, just south of Swansea.
See Swansea Bark Mill and Wine and Wool Centre.
Enjoy the East Coasts superb berries, breads, seafood, cheeses and wine.
Walk, climb or camp in Freycinet National Park. Take the walk to Wineglass Bay.
In the Freycinet National Park, take an evening wildlife observation tour to meet some of the locals quolls, wallabies, possums, wombats and Tasmanian devils.
Meet Tasmanian devils, wombats and birdlife at the East Coast Birdlife and Animal Park, Bicheno, and see penguins on an evening Bicheno Penguin Tour.
Walk in the Douglas-Apsley National Park, just north of Bicheno.
Catch a wave on Scamander beaches.
Admire the dramatic crags of Ben Lomond, overlooking the towns of Fingal and Avoca in the green valley of the South Esk River.
Picnic under the worlds tallest white gums in the Evercreech Forest Reserve near Mathinna, 25 km north of Fingal.
Editor's Note: Also see -
Cockle Creek so south Antarctica is the next stop
Ross enjoys pretty peaceful Snug Falls
The boys cannot pass a pie shop Geeveston
Royal Tas Botanical Gardens Tourism Tas Andrew Ross