Of a boat, a balcony and a beer »
Relaxing on the Tasman Peninsula
By Kerry Scambler
When a break for two somewhere close to home was suggested, the negotiations began. Somewhere quiet and peaceful, I said. Somewhere we can go for a good long walk – if the weather behaves – he said.
An ad showing a peaceful bay with bush surrounds caught our eye and so we booked two nights at Stewarts Bay Lodge on the Tasman Peninsula. Not satisfied with just walking in the great outdoors, he suggested experiencing high seas and wildlife with a Tasman Island Eco-Cruise.
Much has been written about the beauty and history of this area and I’ve enjoyed many visits to the Port Arthur Historic Site with visitors over the years, viewing the traditional sights of Remarkable Cave, Tasman Arch et al from vantage points on land. But on this particular visit I was to discover the Peninsula from a different perspective.
Starting with a relatively short drive from Hobart to Nubeena, we drove into Lime Bay where the campers were setting up amidst strong northerly winds. From there we walked across the coastal heath in rather warm temperatures to Lagoon Beach. Coming out onto the sheltered beach with its long sands and blue waters after our drive and walk, we thought we were miles from civilisation – not a human in sight. But then a less than gentle reminder - a jet came overhead to land at Hobart Airport and far across the bay, the familiar cliffs just below our home. Still, we had the beach to ourselves so splashed through the warm waters along to the spectacular limestone cliffs.
After the trek back to the car and feeling somewhat windswept, we headed for Stewarts Bay Lodge looking forward to a beverage on a deck, hopefully with some sort view - and we weren’t disappointed. We had the cabin with the view from the brochure, looking over the serene waters of Stewarts Bay across to the bush that comes down to meet the edges of the sheltered bay. So with the shoes off and peaceful view on hand, it was time to relax and sip on a refreshing Seven Sheds Raspberry Beer… or two.
Thankfully the restaurant, Taylor’s, was just a short stroll away and there awaited some tasty Tasmanian produce, accompanied by a bottle of Bream Creek Pinot and, of course, fine company.
The next day dawned and it was off for another walk, this time from Fortescue Bay to Canoe Bay. The weather was warm and still, the waters sparkled and it was simply a day to breath the air and be very thankful for lifestyle with such special places on our doorstep.
Once again on our return the balcony and view beckoned, as did the Raspberry Beer and we sat back and took in the sun over the bay and a family game of cricket along the beach. (In our view the mainstream beers who shout reward for effort have nothing on the Seven Sheds offering – this beer is worth working or walking hard for!).
Taylors Restaurant was closed this day for staff to enjoy their own festivities for a change but they kindly provided us with a special dinner to enjoy in our cabin – this time washed down admirably by a Milford Pinot.
Our final day arrived and it was time to tackle those high seas. Down went the just-in-case ginger tablets and off we went to the Tasman Island Cruises office. We were greeted with friendly smiles and it soon became apparent that the staff just couldn’t wait to show us their backyard and working environment. Luckily the seas weren’t that high - in fact they were so unusually calm we were able to go from Stewarts Bay, out and around Tasman Island and then up along the spectacular coastline to Pirates Bay.
Stepping onto the boat we headed for the front; “seat belts?” I queried. The crew just grinned and said something challenging to do with young people enjoying being up front, which was enough for me to strap in with a smile and borrow a Tasman Cruises beanie!
The next three hours was all about new experiences, pure air and pure pleasure. With Damien and Irv at the helm, we set off to see the highest sea cliffs in the southern hemisphere and other spectacular slices of Tasmania as well as learn something of the local wildlife.
No photo or words can really convey leaning your head back and looking straight up sea cliffs looming over you and the sudden feeling of majesty, age and timeliness they engender. Nature can so often make you speechless… and then wet, very wet. Yes, sitting up the front certainly gave the crew some easy targets, just as well they’d handed out the very fashionable red ponchos before we left.
In between taking us to various points of interest and easily imparting knowledge of the flora, fauna and geology, these guys just love to drive their boats. And drive them they do… between chunks of rock towering from the sea through a space just big enough – if we all breathed in! For those interested in the technical aspects of these specially designed eco-boats, they are “powered by three 275 hp Mercury Verado supercharged 4-stroke engines. Electronically-balanced for high fuel efficiency and the quietest operation, they are the world’s lowest emission power plants of their type”. Which means they are fast, powerful, highly manoeuvrable (which is handy when you’re nosed into a sea-cave with just centimetres each side and a swell behind you) and just plain fun to be in.
The hours went by quickly and soon we were tucked up on the coach with Geoff for drive back to Port Arthur where we were greeted again with smiles and eager questions about whether we enjoyed the trip, did we see this and did we do that.
We might not have seen whales or dolphins on this day but the seals were there along with the albatross and many other inhabitants of the coast and with a new knowledge and appreciation for this spectacular slice of our state, this was one experience neither of us will forget. In fact, I might just have to go and book a trip on Bruny Island Charters…
Kerry and her partner were independent travellers and received no benefits from any businesses mentioned above.
- East Coast and Tasman Peninsula (TAS)
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