We woke up to a cozy scene on the rainy morning. Unfortunately, we had a long agenda ahead and had to drag the boys out of bed.
It was this day that we realized Tasmania had several peninsulas. The good thing about staying at Seven miles beach was that we saved 30min driving to Port Arthur as opposed to staying in Hobart city.
It was an hour’s drive to Port Arthur. It certainly felt longer than that after we passed Sorell. The landscape became rather forestry and there were many bends, more so than along Great Ocean Road.
There was a drizzle which made the journey all the more dreary. It was still drizzling when we reached Port Arthur, further lending a somber mood to this historic site. We were recommended to take up the basic package which did not include visiting the smaller islands from Port Arthur. However, the basic ticket included a ferry tour around the island. The ticket to Port Arthur allowed 2 days of entry.
We spent some time looking at the exhibits which profiled the sort of people who became convicts in Britain and were sent off to Australia, then Port Arthur. Most convicts were sent to jail for petty crimes and if they chose to not comply with the slavery system by misbehaving or committing more crimes, they would be sent to Port Arthur.
The British government had wanted to encourage its citizens to seek new opportunities in new land. Hence, they had to provide a pool of labour (via convicts) to the land owners as part of the lure. Some people actually wanted to be convicted and be sent to Australia in search of better lives because of poverty and overcrowding in Britain at that time.
There was a vision of reforming convicts at Port Arthur and to even develop it as a flour mill which would be sufficient for Port Arthur to support itself. However, the flour mill did not take off and the building was converted to a penitentiary.
Subsequently, the British decided to remove the purpose of jailing convicts from the site, Port Arthur became a popular tourist attraction. We had a 30 minute walking tour, took a cruise and checked out the site by ourselves. We visited the old asylum which was really creepy in my opinion. It was little wonder that Port Arthur conducted Ghost tours too.
We completed visiting of the entire main site by 230pm and had a casual lunch at the bistro. We were done by 330pm and drove towards Hobart. Around 15min north of Port Arthur was a local Chocolatier called The Federation Chocolate. It offered a short introduction to how they made chocolates. It was touted as Tasmanian homemade chocolates and the Lady Boss herself was making the chocolates as we peered from the main hall. The Boss himself was babysitting their darling daughter and he was a very friendly host.
He was also very generous with the tastings and boy, were we impressed by the number of flavours available!
The Boss was so hospitable that we bought many bars of chocolates! The flavours were delicious too! My favourite was the Strawberry & Orange dark chocolate. Z’s was Apple milk chocolate, X’s was original milk chocolate and Mr H’s was Coffee Almond milk chocolate.
We continued the drive and checked out the Fossil Bay lookout and The Blowhole. The Blowhole was rather interesting and amused both boys to no end when the waves splashed and ‘exploded’ in the hole.
We also visited the Tasman Sea Cliff lookout at Eaglehawk Neck. It was mentioned that many prisoners who tried to escape from Port Arthur would usually be trapped at this area.
It was 530pm by the time we were done with the random sightseeing and drove for an hour to Hobart for dinner at the much acclaimed Me Wah Restaurant.
The prices were steeper than Oriental Paradise by about 30-40%, an indication that it was an expensive Chinese restaurant. However, serving size was huge in Australia. Hence, it meant that for our little family of 4, 2 dishes and a fried rice was even too much for us to finish. We ordered the fried rice at $18 because it made more economical sense to do so than to have ordered 1 bowl of white rice at $4.
He threw a bowl at the acrylic lazy susan. It did not break, thank goodness! He had already broken a bowl at Macka’s Farm and a mug at Healesville Sanctuary prior to this.
Tasmanian scallops with bamboo shoots
We were done with dinner in less than an hour and headed back to Wyndham hurriedly, no thanks to the terrible toddler in tow.