peninsula on the east coast of Tasmania, Australia
Oceania > Australia > Tasmania > Southern Tasmania > Tasman and South East

See Nelson Bays for the region in the South Island

Tasman and South East is a region to the east of Hobart, in the Australian state of Tasmania. Geographically it forms part of Southern Tasmania. Tasman and South East is really two regions, both sparsely populated and close enough that they are often viewed together - turrakana / Tasman Peninsula, and the South East, roughly corresponding to the Tasman and Sorell local government areas. The two major population centers are Sorell and Nubeena.

The region features a profusion of large, sandy beaches and mild weather, which has made it attractive for holidaying. It also offers easy access to the Tasman Sea and sheltered bays for fishing.

Cities

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Tasman and South East

  • 1 Nubeena – center of the Tasman Peninsula and the closest town to the   UNESCO World Heritage Site world heritage-listed Coal Mines Historic Site (part of Australian Convict Sites).
  • 2 Sorell – largest town.
  • 3 Lewisham – small shack community.
  • 4 Dodges Ferry – regional center for the Southern Beaches.
  • 5 Primrose Sands – a small beach town.
  • 6 Dunalley – gateway to the Tasman Peninsula.
  • 7 Carlton – historic riverside village.
  • 8 Port Arthur – Australia's best preserved convict site that makes up one of the eleven   UNESCO World Heritage Site world heritage-listed Australian Convict Sites
  • 9 Taranna – home of the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo
  • 10 teralina / Eaglehawk Neck – includes the well known shack community of "Doo Town"
  • 11 Midway Point – commuter town surrounded by the sea on three sides.

Other destinations

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  • 1 Tasman National Park – a small 100-km2 park stretching the Tasman Peninsula's coastline

Understand

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The South East and Tasman were occupied by several distinct Indigenous Tasmanian groups for thousands of years before the arrival of colonists including the Mumirimina people.

The Tasman and South East have had a connected but slightly different history. Turrakana / Tasman Peninsula was a center of the convict transportation in Tasmania, particularly to the infamous Port Arthur penitentiary. Ship building become an important trade for the convicts at Port Arthur, and coal was discovered and mined on the peninsula, but after the end of transportation, the region's economy struggled. Several catastrophic bush fires near the end of the 19th century destroyed settlements on the peninsula. However, owing to its natural beauty and preserved convict heritage, the Tasman peninsula has seen an economic revival as a result of tourism.

The South East was primarily an agricultural region, and was a large exporter of wheat in the early history of the colony. Despite its success in growing wheat, it didn't become as rich as the wool producing regions of Tasmania, and combined with the geographical barriers of the Pittwater, it developed far slower than other regions around Hobart. The Southern Beaches is a micro-region of the South East known for its small beach-side towns of Lewisham, Dodges Ferry, Primrose Sands and Carlton, which were developed as shack towns in the mid-20th century, traditionally used as weekend holiday destinations for Hobartians. Today they've become towns in their own right but still retain a laid back, quiet atmosphere.

Get in

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The Hobart International Airport is close by at Cambridge, and bus services run from Hobart to Sorell. The Tasman Highway (A3) connects the region to Hobart and the midlands. Smaller, less traveled roads connect the region to the east coast holiday town of Orford.

Get around

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The area is connected by the Arthur Highway (A9) which runs most of the length of the region, from Sorell to Nubeena. There are few bus services and no taxi service, so the area is best traveled by car.

 
Remains of the stone houses of the Coal Mines Historic Site

Port Arthur Historic Site is this region's main attraction. The historic convict prison and former village of Port Arthur is an open-air museum that cannot be missed when visiting the region, with incredible natural and built heritage on display and sensitively interpreted for visitors and is one of the 11 world-heritage Australian Convict Sites. From 1833 to the 1850s, Britain sent convicts here with the most severe sentences, and the camp was known as "Hell on Earth". Museum, memorial, ruins and buildings remind of this time. Next to it is the present village of Port Arthur with about 500 inhabitants.

The independently operated coal mine in the northeast of the peninsula also worked with convicts from 1833 to 1848; a maximum of 570 convicts lived and worked there. From 1848 to 1877 the mine was operated privately, after that the coal deposits were exhausted, around 1900 all mining activities were stopped. In 1938, the remaining ruins were secured for a park, and the area has been listed as one of Australia's heritage sites since 2007 and also as one of the 11 "Australian Convict Sites" in 2010 as a Coal Mines Historic Site. Remains of the stone houses of the overseers (not the simple wooden houses of the prisoners, those have burned down), rails of the small coal railroad to the harbor in Little Norfolk Bay to the north, the Jetty in the harbor and some changes in the landscape can be visited, there are information boards. The area is much less frequented than Port Arthur and is accessible free of charge. Address: Saltwater River, at the end of Cole Mine Road.

Eaglehawk Neck is a narrow land connection to the north at the junction with the Forestier Peninsula. It was the site of Officer's Quarters to guard Port Arthur. A small museum informs about the site.

Nearby are several points of interest:

  • Pirates Bay Lookout north of the Bay (easily reached from Arthur Highway via Pirates Bay Drive).
  • Tessellated Pavement, rectangular washouts on the shoreline, at the northern end of Pirates Bay.

Driving south along Pirates Bay from Arthur Highway (C338) there is.

  • a jetty at the southern end of the bay and a blowhole near it (probably the reason for the road name Blowhole Road)
  • and on the eastern side towards the Tasman Sea: Tasman Arch (a large rock arch) and Devil's Kitchen (via Tasman Arch Road).

If you follow the Arthur Highway, about 2 km after Eaglehawk Neck the Pirates Road turns off to the left, on which you arrive at Martin Cash's Lookout after long, winding roads.

The Southern Beaches at Primrose Sands, Lewisham and Dodges Ferry are some of Tasmania's best small beaches, and open to the public.

  • 1 Primrose Beach. A 1.8-km sandy beach which runs the length of the township of Primrose Sands. Public toilets are located at the Primrose Sands Road end. Dogs are welcome, but restricted Dec-Feb 10AM-6PM. The Isle of Caves can be seen from the beach. Kid safe, with no strong tidal rips.
  • 2 Okines Beach, Lewisham (Use C334 and C340 from Dunalley). A small sandy beach, with lovely rock formations. Great for watching sunsets.
  • Tiger Head Beach, Tiger Head Road, Dodges Ferry. Family friendly beach, with jetty and nearby public toilets at the boat park.
  • 3 Carlton Beach. 2.7-km-long popular summer surfing beach with a dune reserve behind.
  • Park Beach Cafe, 2 Payeena St, Dodges Ferry. Th-Sa 7:30AM-2:30PM. A small cafe by the beach, with a small but good menu.
  • Richmond Bakery, 50 Carlton Beach Rd, Dodges Ferry. A small bakery, which despite its confusing name, is in Dodges Ferry. Scallop pies are popular locally.
  • Dunalley Bakery, 168 Arthur Highway, Dunalley. Rebuilt after a fire, the bakery offers pies, fish and chips, icecreams and so on. The pies are the showpiece.
  • Dunalley Hotel, 210 Arthur Highway (A9). The impressive Victorian Dunalley Hotel was built in 1892, and was owned by one family for nearly half its history. Today it is a seafood and counter meal restaurant.
  • The Cannery, 4 Imlay St, Dunalley, +61 3 6253 5387. Wednesday to Saturday 11AM-8PM, closes 4PM on Sundays. Located in the former fish canning wharf building, the Cannery is a modern cafe/restaurant with water views. Specialises in seafood.

Drink

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  • Bangor Vineyard shed, 20 Blackman Bay Rd, Dunalley. A local vineyard with attached restaurant and wine tasting.

Sorell is the region's primary shopping center and features the only supermarkets in the region.

  • Hill St Grocer Dodges Ferry, 60 Carlton Beach Road, Dodges Ferry. A boutique small goods and grocer. A wide range of local cheeses, dips, wines, and also basic staples are available. Also features a post office.
  • IGA Everyday Nubeena, Main Road, Nubeena. 6:30AM-6PM.
  • Irregular local craft & rummage markets are held at Primrose Sands Hall, Carlton River Hall, Eagleheck Neck Hall, Forcett Hall, Lewisham Tavern, and Okines Community House. Bream Creek holds a farmers market once a month. Check to see if one is coming up before visiting.

Sleep

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  • Eldee Camp Spot, 179 Jsoephs Rd, Carlton. Unpowered camp spot, next to a large dam. Camp kitchen, toilets and showers with wheelchair facilities. Pets allowed. $12 a night per adult.
  • 1 Steele's Island, River St, Carlton Beach, +61 3 6265 8077. A private island, with accommodation available in the homestead or one of two cottages. Lovely outlook, accommodation is rustic at best. from $160.
  • Surf Beach House.

Each of the towns also have short term holiday rentals available.

Stay safe

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  • Much of the region was devastated in the 2013 fires, with the bakery, police station and school destroyed at Dunalley and over a hundred homes destroyed, and the towns have worked hard to rebuild. During fire season, keep your phone on - alerts will be texted to you if a fire threatens you. Your accommodation should have a fire evacuation plan. It may sound scary, but if you're sensible, there is no risk.
  • Don't pick up octopus or jellyfish at the beaches. They have the potential to be extremely poisonous.
  • The region has a high number of mosquitos, wear insect repellent especially in the evening.
  • Many of the region's beaches are inside sheltered bays, where sharks are unusual, but Tasmania Police will issue shark warnings on social media if a shark has been sighted off a beach.

Connect

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Mobile connection may be spotty outside of the townships themselves. Optus and Telstra both offer similar coverage.

Sorell has an Australia Post outlet. Small post offices are also located in Dodges Ferry, Port Arthur and Nubeena. Some of these offer limited banking services. There are very few banks in the region (only a Bendigo Bank in Nubeena and Sorell, and a Commonwealth in Sorell).

There is a library in Sorell which has free internet available with a Libraries Tasmania card.

Go next

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  • Port Arthur - The convict penitentiary at Port Arthur is World Heritage listed for its architecture and historic role in the colonisation of Tasmania.
  • Hobart - The capital of Tassie.
This region travel guide to Tasman and South East is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!