Forestier Peninsula

Forestier Peninsula is one of the least known parts of Tasmania, even though everyone who goes by road to Port Arthur and the Tasman Peninsula drives through a corner of it. Nevertheless, it remains largely undeveloped.


One of the Tasman Peninsula's firest coastal lookouts is actually on the Forestier Peninsula, high on the hillsides above the Tesselated Pavement. Pirates Bay Lookout gives panoramic views down the east coast of Tasmania Peninsula and overs spectacular vistas towards Cape Hauy and Cape Pillar, which are both visible on a clear day. The lookout is on Pirates Bay Drive, the turnoff to the left off Tasman Highway being around 2 km before reaching Eaglehawk Neck when approaching from Dunalley. The lookout can also be accessed from Eaglehawk Neck. Simply take the Scenic drive past the Lufra Hotel.

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Where Is it?

Dunalley, at East Bay Neck at the northern entrance to the peninsula, is 60 km from Hobart.

Forestier Peninsula is connected to mainland Tasmania by a narrow ishmus at its northern end, named East Bay Neck, near the town of Dunalley. At the southern end the Peninsula is connected to the Tasman Peninsula via another isthmus, called Eaglehawk Neck. The peninsula measures about 20 by 15 kilometres, and is bounded by the Tasman Sea (east) and by Norfolk Bay (west).

The Peninsula's Historic Connections

Though many modern day travellers are not familiar with Forestier Peninsula, such has not been the case with Tasmania's pre-colonial visitors. Dutch explorer spent two weeks exploring the shores of southern Tasmania in November and December 1842. On 3rd December, as he was leaving the area, Tasman made for a bay at the northern end of the Peninsula, but the sea was too rough to allow a landing. The carpenter, Peter Jacobsen, volunteered to swim ashore with a pole on which was Prince Frederick Henry's flag, which he planted on the shore. Thus Tasman took possession of Tasmania for the Dutch on Forestier Peninsula at what he called Frederick Henry Bay, which is todsay known as Tasman Bay.
Tasman had named another large bay close by 'Blackman Bay', because of the presence of Aboriginal people. British explorer Tobias Furneux surveyed the south east corner of Tasmania in March 1772, but mistook Blackman Bay for Frederick Henry Bay. Furneaux's charts were used to prepare the Admiralty charts of today, which is why the name still applies to the wrong bay. It wasn't until French explorer Nicolas Baudin follows in his footsteps in February 1802, however, that the peninsula received its name. Baudin named it in honour of Henry Verdean Forestier (1755-1806), the French Minister for the Navy and Administration.

Nearby Cape Paul Lamanon recalls the visit of another European explorer. It is thought to have been named by Marion Du Fresne in March 1772 after Chevalier Paul Lamanon, a naturalist and philosopher. Lamanon would later sail from Brest, in August, 1785, with French explorer la Perouse in the frigates Boussole and Astrolabe. Lamanon would have been present at Botany Bay near Sydney in January 1788 when the First Fleet, sent by the British government to establish the penal colony of New South Wales, arrived during the French expedition's sojourn there. The expedition left Botany Bay a few weeks later, never to be heard of again.

A monument on Cape Paul Lamanon marks the spot where Peter Jacobsen came ashore. As it is virtually inaccessible by anything other than boat, a convenient substitute stands in the town of Dunalley.

Flinders Bay Convict Station

Located on Forestier Peninsula facing Norfolk Bay, Flinders Bay (8 km north west of Eaglehawk Neck) was once the site of a convict Probation Station which was established in 1841. The 200 convicts were involved in timber getting and land clearing. The station, beside the mouth of Flinders Creek, was short lived and closed within several years of establishment. The convicts were transferred to Port Arthur.

Surrounding Area

Tessellated Pavement

By far the most well known feature of Forestier Peninsula is the Tessellated Pavement, situated a short distance from Eaglehawk Neck on the shoreline below the Lufra Hotal. This unusual geological formation gives the rocks the effect of having been rather neatly tiled by a giant. The pavement appears tessellated (tiled) because the rocks forming it were fractured by earth movements. The fractures are in three sets. One set runs almost north, another east north east, and the third discontinuous set north north west. It is the last two sets that produce the tiled appearance. This tessellated pavement is one of the largest in the world.


With a population of around 320, Murdunna is the only town on the peninsula. It is approximately halfway down the Peninsula on the Arthur Highway at the head of King George Sound, a narrow bay off Norfolk Bay. Murdunna's population increases in the summer months, and it is becoming increasingly popular with people from Hobart who are looking for weekend getaways. Many houses are owned by non-residents who use them as holiday homes. The name Murdunna is believed to come from a local indigenous word meaning "place of the stars".


Bangor is a 6200 ha farming property situated on the Forestier Peninsula.  An extensive grazing operation, Bangor runs superfine merino sheep, prime beef and prime lambs.  Bangor's superfine merino stud utilises the best available breeding techniques, aiming to produce the very best, most profitable rams. Bangor is a family farm managed by Matt and Vanessa Dunbabin.  The Dunbabin family have a rich Tasmanian history, with John Dunbabin arriving in Tasmania as a convict in December 1830. Bangor was first developed as a farm in the 1830's for supplying food to the penal settlement at Port Arthur. There were also whaling stations operating in Lagoon Bay at that time. Bangor is a unique property that includes 5100 ha of native forests and grassland, 2100 ha of permanent forest reserves and 35 km of coastline. 

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