Pass through for more peninsula perfection
When you reach the top of the hill, revealing views across Eaglehawk Neck you’ll understand why most pull off to explore the area. This isthmus, which at its most narrow is around 30 metres in width, separates the calm waters of Norfolk Bay with the popular surf waves of Pirates Bay.
Take the turnoff onto Pirates Bay Drive for lookout views across the Neck, Pirates Bay and the rugged Tasman Peninsula coastline. Be sure to follow signs to the Tesselated Pavement at the northern end of Pirates Bay too – and walk across this rocky terrace of tiled shapes. If the tide is low, you can walk to Clydes Island where you might find an old grave or two.
The Neck’s historical significance dates back to the convict era, when vicious dogs were chained across the isthmus to avoid convict escapees from nearby Port Arthur Historic Site. Known as the Dogline, these ferocious animals were even positioned on platforms above the water to deter convicts from wading to freedom. Some were fortunate to make it through, but understandably many didn’t even attempt it.
You’ll see a bronze dog sculpture marking this past, and a small museum is housed in the original Officers Quarters, believed to be the oldest wooden military building in Australia. Further along are more geographical wonders including the Totem Pole, Tasman’s Arch, the Blowhole and Devil’s Kitchen.
The Neck is well known for its rock climbing, kayaking, bushwalking and water cruises. Dolerite sea cliffs and temperate waters are also a haven for divers who enjoy excellent visibility, giant kelp forests, caves and shipwrecks.
Highlights not to miss