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Sights & Sounds: Tessellated Pavement State Reserve, Port Arthur

Travel Tips: Sorell Township

Tessellated Pavement State Reserve

Eaglehawk Neck Historic Site (The Dog Line)

So here’s a little background prelude of my virgin road trip from Hobart city to Port Arthur. Exhilarating, I must say. It was filled with perennial anticipation and inundated with zeal. Why all that exaggerated feelings and emotions?

Well, I was the one who planned this mini road trip! It was strictly a BFF affair. As the ‘event planner’ of the trip, I would (obviously) be the first one (between the both of us) to see all the sublime vistas and rich historical ruins on my laptop as I did my travel research weeks prior to the trip.

Oh boy, how I wished I had a magic portal at that instant to teleport me into the glorious pictures I saw. I guess it was all the arduous planning that made this road trip all the more hopeful and meaningful. It was the feeling of satisfaction, that at long last, I could get to see the landscapes and ruins in real life! I could actually touch it!

Well, not literally touch it ‘course, you know, historical ruins are not really for commoner tourists like me to touch. Haha… 😀

As I dredged deep into the research, I found out that Port Arthur is a place of rich history- once a convict settlement. It is always invigorating to go to places with deep richness in history and culture. I adore nature, but sometimes, an infused educational cultural endeavour is really healthy for the soul if you know what I mean.

I felt so connected with the people of the past as I walked down, into, and through the ruins. I know how sappy this sounds. Like, what…? Connect with the people of the past? Talking and seeing wraith?! That’s totally insane.

I don’t know, maybe it’s the vivid imagination that I have or I’m just plain weird, but I would imagine myself as a person living in that era, doing the things that they did as I toured through the ruins. It’s really magically I’m telling you. I would get lost in a limbo of space and be in that moment as I skimmed through the descriptions bolted to the walls.

I knew immediately it would be imperative that I could gain a lot of insights about Port Arthur’s history on this road trip! I was fervent and really looking forward to this educational adventure! (#TeamNerd- don’t judge :D)

So here’s our itinerary for this trip!

(FYI, we spend 6D5N on this trip. Yup… no typo there. 5 nights (and it was still not enough). Also, this itinerary is not exactly in the order of events.)

 

Travel Tips: Sorell Township

Our road trip began from the city and as usual, we made stops en route. We all got to use the bathroom and eat right? We pit stopped in Sorell, just approximately 30 minutes or less from the city.

Travel tip? Port Arthur has no major grocery store, so I suggest you stock up on food and drink supplies here. There’s Woolworths supermarket. We stopped by for lunch and bought 5 days worth of food and drink supplies.

Sounds like we were all ready for a trip into the isolated wilderness. Don’t get me wrong, there are small cafes, and provision stores there too.

After lunch and a trunk stuffed with supplies, you can also pop by Sorell Fruit Farm for a nice stroll or pick a punnet or two worth of fresh berries and other fruits!

 

Tessellated Pavement State Reserve

Driving towards Port Arthur, you would pass the Tessellated Pavement State Reserve. So why not check this out before heading to Port Arthur town?

By the time we got there, the sun was already in its slight orange colour getting ready to hit the hay. The sea breeze was just splendid, and a jacket would suffice.

A 10- minute walk from the parking lot would lead to a welcoming placid plot of nature’s creation. Small waves were crashing onto the shores and hitting on boulders, but from my view, it was like in all chaos, there is a cosmos. It was really surreal, and no description would replace the experience I felt at that point of time. The view was absolutely impeccable. Everything just seemed to work together- they all complemented each other in every way. The waves, the naturally “craved” pavement, the seashells, and even the algae. It was marvellous.

In a nutshell, the Tessellated pavement is formed from sedimentary rocks modified by sand and waves crashing on them. The fracture of these rocks led to a unique formation of repeated polygonal units throughout the pavement. Hence, the name “Tessellated Pavement”. Definitely a good outdoor site for the learning of Mathematics, huh?

 

Eaglehawk Neck Historic Site (The Dog Line)

This site, like all the other historic sites in Port Arthur really, had swirled my imagination greatly. Located within the vicinity, is the Officers’ Quarters- a little long cabin with rustic exhibits bringing you into the era of the convicts.

As I recalled, we were greeted by creaking floorboards, spider webs and rusted doorknobs that gave an eerie cracking sound as you turned it to open the entrance door into the mini museum. Maybe my imagination had taken the surroundings to a new level of exaggeration, but oh boy was it enticing in every way! 😀

Imagine. Just over a hundred years ago, this cabin was alive. Occupied by officers to ensure convicts did not escape! And not to mention the pack of feral dogs that roamed the paths just approximately 100-m or less outside the quarters. The Dog Line.

The Dog Line is located along the Arthur Highway heading to Port Arthur town. A statue of a beastly dog and a lamp to showcase and remind us of the great obstacle convicts needed to overcome in order to abscond. As I walked through and passed the Officers’ Quarters and The Dogline, stories came popping up in my head.

So here’s one of the little stories that was plotted inside my eventful brain… …

“Okay, the coast is clear.”“Wait! Are you sure about this? Things don’t end well for people like us who try to escape. We could be thrown into the Separate Prison! And who knows if we would come out alive then. Remember Marcus… He… …”“So?! Do you wanna’ stay here and die in a foreign land, you coward?” James snapped.

I was in a predicament. I did not want to be eaten by the infamous feral dogs, neither did I wanted to go back to the life as a prisoner. In the end, my inner paranoiac and coward were defeated by James’ constant blabbing and assurance about a better life after we escape this wretched place.

To stay hidden from both patrolling officers and the crazy man-eating dogs, we dived low in the meadows, inching step by step, as slowly and as soundlessly as possible. Too afraid to be picked up by the razor sharp ears of the hounds. And who knows what would become of us then.

Oh curse those dogs for being so good at their job… …

As we crept through the tall grass, I began to ponder on how did I even landed in this situation. Sure I was a perpetrator, a depraved criminal. But everyone deserves a chance to redeem themselves first. And here I was- send to a far away land to be punished! For a crime I can’t even remember committing!

We waited on the muddy soil tucked low on the ground for what seemed like hours. Waiting. Waiting for the officers to reduce on patrol. Bedraggled and unkempt. My legs were all numb from the minimal movement.

Then I felt something wet and warm dripping on my thigh.

“Shawn… …”

“Is it drizzling already? Maybe the officers will take shelter and we can make a dash for it… …” I whispered.

Suddenly I felt a glimpse for hope. Finally, we could have a better life away from this. The freedom was just so close I could feel the frivolity!

I added, “We should both run separate, and meet again after. Remember the big oak tree… …”

“Shawn… … SHAWN,” James interrupted adamantly. “DO NOT. DO NOT move a muscle.”

I knew then and there that all hopes were relinquished in a split second. We were a dead goner.

Hope this inspires you to go on a road trip to explore the history of an unknown! You never know what intriguing ideas the unknown may leech on you! 😀

So travel whenever!

Dee

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