Kerry has been writing radio copy for donkey's years, & also dabbles in short stories & travel writing. She works, plays and explores largely in the CDB and inner suburbs, gets everywhere by public transport and is the self-professed Zone One Queen.
Published May 29th 2013
And a geology lesson, to boot
Tasmania is renowned for quality seafood. Fish and chips are popular and plentiful if Hobart's waterfront is anything to go by. And there's a small corner of the island where one can encounter what could be the pinnacle of fish & chippery.
The vendor of this takeaway of dreams is a white caravan in a coastal carpark. To find this carpark, let's say you've been in Port Arthur for the day and are on the way home. Note on a map the narrow strip of connecting land, with sea on each side: Eaglehawk Neck. Before crossing this land-bridge, and just after the Eaglehawk Café & Guesthouse, turn right down Blowhole Road, and drive to the end.
Find the white van for 'doo-lishus' takeaway dining.
The Doo-Lishus seafood van sells, among other things, the Fisherman's Special. Filled with chips then stacked with fish pieces, calamari rings, scallop bites and a wedge of lemon, this is heaven in a paper cone. The seafood is not battered but crumbed, making it light and non-greasy – thanks also to the use of cholesterol-free rice bran cooking oil. Ice-cream, hot dogs, oysters and crayfish also tempt you from the Doo-lishus menu. Go on, why not – you're (probably) on holiday.
"Best seafood cone ever."
Munching on your takeaways, you can sit at the wooden picnic tables, wander up a short path to a lookout point over Pirates Bay, or examine the Blowhole itself. Right beside the carpark, it is comprised of a narrow rocky basin about the length of a swimming pool, with a small but impressive tunnel leading in from the sea. Dinnertime didn't coincide with high tide for our visit, but the surge and flow of a medium tide suggested the potential for a magnificent 'blow', in the right conditions.
An accessible blowhole - watch and wait.
Millions of years of buffeting by the Tasman Sea has caused fascinating erosion along this silt-stone cliff coastline. Just a short drive from the Blowhole is the Tasman Arch. This shows the progressive effect of an original sea cave entrance—now enlarged to a superb geological archway covered with foliage. Where the cave's roof has collapsed, a deep basin lies between you and the Arch, and a walkway will take you across it—all safely fenced of course.
The impressive Tasman Arch
Transformation by waves is a fate shared by the Devil's Kitchen. This geological formation sports a lookout point a little further down the road, and shows what happens when a tunnel roof collapses into the sea. With the roof now gone, you can see how the water has shaped and enlarged the original sea cave into a huge chasm, complete with new tunnels forming. The information board tells us that this is "one of several such coastal landforms in the Tasman National Park that have developed in the Permian-age siltstone."
Why is it called The Devil's Kitchen?
There is a highly informative board with diagrams and pictures at each of the sites mentioned above, adding a little geological spice to a nice breezy sightseeing afternoon or fish & chips evening. The Tessellated Pavement is another local natural rock attraction to seek out (one this author missed, regretfully).
There's one further delight to your exploration of this area. To enter this coastline, you have entered Doo Town, a quirky picturesque settlement in which the cottages and weekender shacks have carried on a tradition by adopting a 'Doo' name. 'Thistledoo', 'Gunnadoo', and fun puns such as 'Doo Drop Inn', 'Love Me Doo' and 'Da Doo Ron Ron' adorn the front of these abodes. It is quite fun to spot them.