Tasman Arch and Blowhole, Feb 2021

Summary: Scenic area with interesting tracks and lookouts and a few birds

Date of visit: Feb 2, 201 [A stop on the Tasmania, Jan-Feb 2021 trip]

Tasman Arch and the Blowhole, as well as rock formation Devil’s Kitchen, are tourist drawcards on the Tasman Peninsula in Tasmania’s south-east. You’re likely to find yourself here for these attractions and the dramatic cliff scenery. The area also offers some reasonable sea birds and a very long series of coastal tracks which offer even more scenery and birding opportunities.

We started from the blowhole area (reached by Blowhole Road via Doo Town) at 3:30pm, whose car park has space for about 26 cars. We found a couple of Pacific Gulls and a few Kelp Gulls (one of which was unfortunately missing a foot) around the Pirate’s Bay Boat Ramp.

We then settled in for some (excellent) fish and chips from the Doo-lishus food van (a punny name as is apparently the wont of the residents of Doo Town) parked on the edge of the car park, before undertaking the little 400 metre Blowhole Circuit which loops around the blowhole, and also features a well-placed lookout.

The blowhole wasn’t doing a whole lot (there were a few Superb Fairywrens there though…), but the cliff-top walk offered a unique perspective on some of the birds below: a trio of Sooty Oystercatchers were having a great time picking out crustaceans from the rock cracks and weed. We were practically right above them, looking straight down.

So too for more Kelp Gulls, who looked warily up at us from the rocks.

We then drove around to Tasman Arch and Devil’s Kitchen, which is about 1.5km away. There is a spacious car park here and both attractions are easily reached on foot. They are quite impressive formations and in the late afternoon when we were there, there weren’t many other people admiring them. There is another lookout here which is also worthwhile lingering at.

Waterfall Bay Track is the trail heading southward from the Devil’s Kitchen area, part of the 19km Tasman Coastal Trail which gives keen hikers a lengthy walk if they desire. The afternoon sun was starting to wane so we only went a kilometre or two down the track, but it was enough to appreciate the atmospheric forest, as well as more of the sheer cliff coastline and outlying island stacks.

We saw a wallaby on the trail as well as a Flame Robin and a few thornbills, as well as a couple more Superb Fairywrens.

Whether it was because it was late afternoon or for some other reason, we hadn’t seen many birds on the track. Not to worry; the natural scenery and sense of peaceful isolation made up for it.

Being a tourist area, the infrastructure is very good with sealed roads, multiple car parking options and well-maintained tracks and lookouts providing access to all the attractions. Unfortunately we didn’t see a whole lot of birds at any of the attraction sites or on our ramble along Waterfall Bay Track, so we’ll chalk this location up as more of a tourist hotspot than a notable bird hotspot.

Hot spots: The Blowhole (77 species), Tasman Arch (61 species), Devil’s Kitchen (58 species)
Checklist for our visit: Blowhole (6 species)

Pluses and minuses:
+ Some sea and coastal birds including gulls and oystercatchers
+ Dramatic scenery and cliffs – typically Tasmanian
+ Plenty of long walking tracks to explore
– Not many birds when we were there

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