After an amazing sleep, it was the day that me, Joyce, Emma and Markus hit Port Arthur. Crossing the Tasman Bridge heading south, the first stop along the way was Richmond. The true definition of a hamlet, it was quaint, quirky and peaceful. Walking with Emma, we were more than a little surprised to find a talking gaol in such a small town… Booming, it informed us that 'insanity was obviously commonplace' at Richmond Gaol… Obviously…
Passing through rolling hills, noting the presence of cows, sheep and little towns, we came across the little town of Doo. A quirky name in the first place, the houses were so named to reflect this. An eclectic mix including Sheil-doo, just doo it, Didgeri Doo, Much-A-Do, Doo-N-Time, my personal favourite was Doo-Little.
After a pit stop at the Devil's kitchen, we headed on to Port Arthur – a convict settlement on the Tasman peninsula. Chosen due to its location on the peninsula, surrounded by water and guarded by dogs at the isthmus, it has a rich history in both punishment and ship building. Given a playing card on arrival, it represented an inmate whose story we were to find. Picking up the early morning walking tour, guided by Geoffrey Rush lookalike John, masquerading as a pirate, we learned the history, including a story about Colonel Booth, Edward Howard and 10 minute unsedated amputations. The site colourful with so much green against the blue sea and skies, the autumnal colours really stood out. Very much an english countryside feel within the site, viewing the properties, it was kind of like you were in Beatrix Potter's house!
Cruising the harbour, taking in the impressive scenery, past the isle of the dead we also learned the stories of the children sent to the juvenile prison. Some sent for stealing food and handkerchief's, it was definitely a hard time to be a child in poverty. Dropping into the church, the gardens and the prison, I found an interesting window. Finding my inmate in the visitor centre we then headed off for some more sightseeing. Diving into remarkable cave which ultimately wasn't that remarkable, Maingon bay and Pirates Bay, whilst impressive, a bit maxed out on landscapes, I would have preferred to have gotten lost in Port Arthur's stories for a bit longer.
Dropping Emma at the airport, the tour officially over, it was truly an amazing week. Not usually my favourite thing, in contrast, this week, loving it, I have become a walker. I hope to meet someone to hike to the southernmost point of Australia at Wilsons Prom with me. Deliberately avoiding knowing anything about the tour, with no expectations at all, I have truly been blown away by both the island and the people I met this week. Not having had time to look at or sort my pictures properly, I have taken over 1000 frames in a week. Whilst i'm sure that number will be halved by the time i'm finished, the words of a friend I met in Brisbane rang true in my ears – the number of pictures you take is indicative of the amount of fun you are having. Certainly having fun, it is perhaps the most fun and laughs I have had in a 6 day window ever.