Lonely Planet recently named Tasmania one of the ‘Top 10 Regions in the World to Visit in 2015’. Not only was it the only destination in Australia or New Zealand to make the list but, even more impressively, it came in at number four on the ‘must do’ international list!
For caravanners, the newly revamped Big4 Port Arthur Holiday Park is the perfect place to base yourself and explore the Apple Isle’s many attractions. Although now a well-known tourist destination on the state’s rugged and historic Tasman Peninsula, the park and nearby Port Arthur have welcomed visitors for the past 185 years.
THINGS TO DO
If you’re into exploring, the area is full of unique experiences and attractions – you definitely need more than one day during your visit! Step back in time by taking the Foreshore Walk from the children’s playground, retracing the steps of convicts who, 180 years ago, were brought along the path in shackles as they tended the penal colony’s original vegetable garden. Sample oysters and cool climate wines, and explore the famous wilderness.
Other regions of Tasmania are also acclaimed, with the Tarkine, Cradle Mountain, Bay of Fires and Franklin River among the diverse, remote and wild outdoor experiences accessible to all the island’s visitors.
BIG4 PORT ARTHUR HOLIDAY PARK
There is a range of accommodation options to suit different types of travellers at the park – from individuals, to couples or groups – wishing to have a ‘back to basics’ experience with campfires or to stay in modern villa accommodation with all the perks.
Situated on 17.6ha of state park and surrounded by thick, natural vegetation, the park is very lightly populated by current standards, with just 52 powered caravan sites – eight of them with their own individual ensuites – plus 26 unpowered sites. For those without a caravan or motorhome, there are 10 water-view and 10 garden-view cabins, plus a 65-bed backpackers’ hostel. Brand new ‘safari tents’ which transport you back to the area’s convict days, albeit in significantly more comfort, are another recent innovation. And you can now stay for a day or a week – not for the ‘term of your natural life’.
Under the control of Australian Tourist Park Management (ATPM), the Port Arthur park has experienced a major upgrade over the past six months that have seen such facilities as a brand new camp kitchen, a refurbished barbecue area and a wood-fired pizza oven installed for the benefit of all caravanners, and with these amenities it joined the Big 4 group in February this year.
The camp kitchen now provides guests with access to a modern, bright and comfortable environment in which to prepare and cook food. The kitchen comes complete with new chairs and tables, a new six-burner dual-fuelled stove and double-sided stainless steel fridge. There is also enough space for the inclusion of a table tennis table for families to enjoy.
Port Arthur is on Tasmania’s Tasman Peninsula, 94km south-east of Hobart, or about 75 minutes’ drive. The holiday park is 1.5km north-east of the Port Arthur township, in the Stewarts Bay State Reserve.
- Take the Foreshore Walk and follow in the steps of the convicts
- Visiting Port Arthur historical site
- Port Arthur Historic Site: www.portarthur.org.au
The full feature appeared in Caravan World #537, May 2015.