Travel writer Talish Ray, a lawyer in her day job, is travelling through Tasmania exploring its untouched natural beauty, art, culture and food. (Read her Tasmania Diaries: 1, 2 , 3). A visit to Tasman National Park leaves her awed by its rich marine life and quixotic treasures. All photos by author.
TASMANIA: An Island off the southern coast of Australia, Tasmania makes it to every tourism publications list. It is one of those rare wonders where photographs do not do justice to the experience. Its’ area of 70,000 square kilometers is made up of 40% wilderness and protected ecological zones with only a handful of major cities and townships. This means no matter where one is in Tasmania, it doesn’t take long to reach the wilderness.
And Tasman National Park is surely something one should explore. Known for its vast diversity and its dramatic natural rock formation, this park is home to not just some great wildlife but also magnificent marine life. The southern city of Hobart makes for a convenient access point to see the beautiful Park.
The National Park protects forest and coastline from Cape Surville to Waterfall Bay and Fortescue Bay; and from Cape Hauy to Cape Pillar and Cape Raoul. The park incorporates several off-shore islands, including Fossil Island, Hippolyte Rocks and Tasman Island.
With unusual quixotic structures such as the devil’s arch and stunning coastline with dramatic cliffs, it remains a favorite with those who like to hike or ‘bushwalk’ as the locals call it with the famous three capes track being situated within the park.
Tasman Park is the kind of place where the need to stop and stare is overwhelming. The dramatic dolerite cliffs give surreal outlines and the surrounding sea is mostly at its bluest best on bright sunny days. Even a stroll around for a few hours gives a glimpse of the sheer cliff and white sand beaches.
The sea here is home to giant kelp forests that can grow at an average rate of half a meter a day. One of the most dynamic ecosystems in the world, the giant kelp forest along Tasmania’s coast were once so dense that they featured on shipping maps.
They are home to teaming marine life which makes it a pleasure to dive, snokel or kayak around the region. Walking, fishing, marine sports, camping and historical tourism too are popular options.
The last thanks to the Port Arthur historic sites which are now an open air museum in what was one of the most dreaded penal colony in earlier times. It is also popular with tourist with an interest in paranormal. It is said by some to be one of the most haunted places in the world. This area is a popular tourist destination with accommodation outside the park to suit all budgets, from camping grounds and hostels to up-market motels and self- contained accommodation.
Getting Here: Hobart is well connected with the rest of Australia and is a mere 60 minute plane ride from Melbourne. The Tasman National Park is 2 hours car ride from Hobart.