Monday, 2 February 2015

Rustic And Ghostly

Port Arthur, Tasmania

To date my first and only trip to Australia’s island state was back in 2002 when the school surprised us with a five day camp. Enjoyed myself I did, but with very few shots to look back on (had myself a disposable camera on this trip and I can’t find the pictures), I wasn’t sure if I had something worth talking about on the blog. However, when a good day at the Port Arthur Historic Site (95.8 km both east then south of Hobart) came back to me I figured a post was possible. Add to that some nice, rustic shots taken by the well-travelled aunty; this sheep has been able to knock some words together.

Whilst only being here for one day I found myself enjoying everything the site had to offer, most notably the swarm of rabbits hopping all over the place. I for one was taken in by the historical side of things, a recurring thing with me, and so I can’t recommend Port Arthur enough. Two experiences of note include the harbour cruise and ghost tours which I’ll get to in the paragraphs to come.

Port Arthur, Tasmania (taken by Dale Brooking, 2014)

Established back in 1830 as a timber station, Port Arthur grew into a lively southern haunt that drew in the many. It wasn’t until 1848 that a separate penitentiary was built to house the convicts shipped in from England; these prisoners were set to work on cutting timber with a select few being taught to build ships also. Officials saw this as one of the few means to rehabilitate the many convicts but this practice dwindled in the 1870s. 

Now onto the touristy side of things which is why I’m writing anything. Combining historical buildings and nature that bring a palette of colour together, the site is a feast for your eyes. Nowadays you’re like to get better shots with your camera which should fuel the envy of those who didn’t come along for the ride. I know many who’ve all claimed Tasmania was the best travel decision they’ve ever made, giving me cause to go back once Europe is out of the way.

Port Arthur, Tasmania (taken by Dale Brooking, 2014)

The harbour cruise, which is included in the cost of entry, gives you a superb view of what’s on offer. The boat ride takes you on a round trip of the harbour and for additional cost visitors can tour the Isle of the Dead where close to 1100 prisoners were laid to rest. I know it’s been over ten years since my time here, but I feel like the harbour cruise is the icing of the day, adding only to Port Arthur’s authenticity.

With that said we’ve now come to the ghost tour which is the cheery on top. The longest operating tour in Australia, the crew at Port Arthur place a great emphasis in the storytelling side of things instead of having people dressed up in masks ready to jump out on you. On the tour I took, several of us found ourselves experiencing something ‘unexplainable’. I heard something tapping (which isn’t unique but still) but others around me were saying they’d seen something red stand out in the darkness. It’s an experience to consider nonetheless.

Port Arthur, Tasmania (taken by Dale Brooking, 2014)

On a more serious and informative note, with this post coming to a close I’ll acknowledge something all visitors should be made aware of before coming here. Whilst Port Arthur is still known for being a tourist drawcard, the tragic massacre of April 28th 1996 still lingers in the minds of the locals to this day; it’s appreciated that this event isn’t brought up.

With everything said, if you’ve found yourself cancerous with the travel bug then this post has served its purpose.

Go check it out!  


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