Tag Archives: graveyard

Port Arthur

I hadn’t planned on visiting Port Arthur on our trip as I’m not terribly familiar or interested in Australian history. I did however, want to see The Isle of the Dead in Port Arthur. Can’t see one without the other so we went for a day and I’m so glad we did.

I could go on about the history of Port Arthur in this blog; but, really you could research that in your spare time. There were a few things that did really fascinate me while we were here and so I will make mention.

The way the tourists are managed throughout Port Arthur is very well done. I have a degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management which really doesn’t get much of a workout. What I do like to check out while at tourist attractions is how the attraction manages the tourists and I thought Port Arthur did this very well. As part of the bronze ticket, the cheapest ticket you can buy, you get an ipod with a self guided tour so you can walk around on your own and have all the information at your finger tips. You are also entitled to participate in an introductory tour which goes every hour and a guide will walk you around and provide you with the information found on the ipod and other relevant stories.

I also found the tour guides and staff in general to be fantastic. They are obviously passionate and very knowledgable about Port Arthur and liked to share stories about the convicts, the jailers and their families to really make the experience come alive for us visitors.

As the main motivation for visiting Port Arthur was The Isle of the Dead tour we booked and went on it first. The Isle of the Dead is a small island off the Tasman peninsula. It was used as the graveyard for Port Arthur from 1833 to 1877. Around 1100 dead are buried here. Basically anyone who died was buried here so not only the convicts but  officials, soldiers and their families. On the lower side of the island the convicts were buried, mostly without headstones in mass graves. It was forbidden to place headstones on a convicts graves; however, there are a couple of exceptions to the rule. The soldiers, officials and their families were  buried on the higher north-western corner of the Island, class rules were strictly enforced in life and death for these people.

The tour guide was engaging and obviously loved her job, she told us stories of some of the dead, the grave keepers, families and interesting burial facts.

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The other place I wanted to make mention of in this blog is the Coal Mines Historic Site. Port Arthur is on one side of the Tasman Peninsula and the Coal Mine is a drive to the other. It’s free to see, you just drive up and park. We didn’t know anything about the Coal Mine; but, a guy at the caravan park said that we had to go and see it so we did. We were the only people there at the time so had the whole place to ourselves and it was spectacular.

We had a detailed information brochure and map of the area so we self toured around. It was worth the short drive out to see it.

Port Arthur Coal Mine Ruins

Port Arthur Coal Mine Ruins

A Foodie / Boozie’s paradise – Bruny Island

Untitled BrunyBruny Island is an island off south east Tasmania. It has a bit of something for everyone, beaches, forests, driving tracks, cruises, holiday shacks, camping, fishing, hiking, restaurants, food and alcohol products. We came over late one afternoon via the car ferry, set up camp ready for exploring the island the next day.


Unfortunately our trip over to Bruny Island was cut short due to bad weather. The thought of leaving the comfort and warmth of our 4WD to brave the cold, wet and windy weather that was plaguing the island was somewhat unappealing. Unfortunately that meant that instead of hiking, sightseeing and relaxing for 2 days we spent a day eating and drinking our way around the island instead, it’s a tough life.


Lookout near our campsite, at the neck.

Lookout near our campsite, at the neck.

Places we visited:

Bruny Island Providore

We found this place along the way to the berry farm, It wasn’t listed on the tourist map provided to us so we didn’t know it existed until we nearly drove past it. We did stop in though to sample some fudge and OMG! The fudge is all made by hand from local products, a video was playing in the store, very interesting. We bought some choc mint fudge and kept going.

Bruny Island Berry Farm

Our first stop after leaving Bruny Island Providore was the berry farm. Unfortunately berries are out of season; but, they make sauces and jams when the berries are in season and always have that on hand. We sat down to some real coffee (seriously missing good coffee while travelling) and hot scones, just out of the oven with jam and fresh cream. Melt in your mouth amazingness! I sampled some of their Blackberry sauce and had to buy a bottle to take with me.

Bruny Island Cemetery

Bruny Island Cemetery

Bruny Island Cemetery

This deserves a small mention as this tiny little cemetery had some rather interesting gravestones that I’ve never seen the likes of before. On a few of the graves were these tiny little cement crosses, about 20cm high just sticking out of the ground. The inscription seemed to just be the name of the deceased, strange.

Bruny Island Premium Wines

A lovely café and wine tasting shed on the other side of the island from the berry farm. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes are grown on the island and the Sauvignon blanc and Riesling grapes are grown in another part of Tas; but, all of the wines are made onsite. The wine was fantastic and I managed to walk away with just one bottle, if that doesn’t show restraint then I don’t know what does!

Bruny Island Cheese Company

I tried a couple of their cheeses at the Salamanca markets in Hobart, very pricey for cheese – $16 each for the 2 I purchased and well worth it! We went through a tasting of 5 cheeses on site and I wasn’t disappointed, the cheese is just sensational. You can eat a load of freshly made goodies onsite but I bought a freshly baked sourdough loaf with my cheese to enjoy later.


Oysters and wine from Get Schucked

Oysters and wine from Get Schucked

Get Schucked

You wouldn’t have thought that I would need lunch at this point; however, there is always room for fresh oysters and wine. The oysters are locally grown and freshly opened which I paired with a glass of Jansz bubbles, felt like I had died and gone to heaven!  A dozen naked oysters and a glass of bubble was about $23, bargain!

Bruny Island Smokehouse and Wine bar

And our last stop enroute to the ferry was the smokehouse where a couple of platters of the locally made products (smoked in the back paddock) were waiting for me to taste, yum! We ended up with smoked chorizo pork sausages and hot smoked salmon.

This was the last stop on our foodie / boozie’s tour of Bruny Island, now off to Port Arthur. I would love to come back again to do the hiking, there is always next time.

Drive through the forest in the centre of the south island

Drive through the forest in the centre of the south island