Situated on the eastern side of a thin isthmus, between high cliffs and the rugged sea is Tessellated Pavement, Tasmania’s most stunning geological wonder. It’s one of the first attractions that greets you as you visit the Tasman Peninsula, acting as a symbol of the raw and rugged beauty found in the area.
Tessellated Pavement formations are a rare sight to behold and are only found in a select few locations across the world.
As you approach the Tessellated Pavement you’re greeted by the sight of an expansive flat rock area between a cliff and the ocean’s edge. The rock has deep, straight line cracks, mimicking the appearance of pavement.
What makes this attraction even more outstanding is the raw beauty of the surrounding area. The weather often adds a secondary dimension, creating a matching flat water surface, crashing waves that send water in the air, or lighting and shading which showcases the Tessellated Pavement in a unique way. For that reason you’ll often find that one person’s photos and experiences of Tessellated Pavement differ from another persons.
How was the Tessellated Pavement Formed?
Tessellated Pavement in Eaglehawk Neck, can be easily mistaken for a man-made creation. The flat surface and straight lines can be mistaken for large pavers or floor tiles. However this is an entirely natural occurrence. Tessellated Pavement occurs when a large area of flat rock became fractured due to earth movement millions of years ago, in a process known to the geological community as ‘jointing’.
The second contributor was the presence of sea crystals and the gradual but constant erosion which enabled the sea crystals from the crashing water to form deep lines and patterns, creating the pavement appearance.
Tessellated Pavement in Tasmania’s History
The Tessellated Pavement is on the edge of the Eaglehawk Neck isthmus. During 1832 in the height of Tasmania’s convict era, a military outpost was implemented at Eaglehawk Neck, leveraging the narrow landmass of the isthmus to catch convicts who tried to escape the Port Arthur Penitentiary and seek freedom in Hobart. This area was heavily guarded by a line of dogs and guards.
Is the Tessellated Pavement Worth Visiting?
After driving from Hobart for an hour the Tessellated Pavement is a great first-stop on your visit to the Tasman Peninsula. It’s free to visit and offers excellent views of the coastline.
If you’re an avid photographer, there are some excellent opportunities here. Come early for sunrise and see the amazing effect of the orange light and shadows shining against the rocks and water pools. Take photos on calm days and see the contrast of flat water sitting almost level with the flat pavement. Come on stormy days (there’s plenty of those) and see waves crashing against the sides, splashing water high in the air and on top of the pavement.
If you’re looking for ideal weather conditions, try to visit when it hasn’t been raining recently, as this can make it rather slippery.
Directions to the Tessellated Pavement
Unless you’re on a coach tour, you’ll need your own transportation for this trip. Tessellated Pavement is a one hour 76km drive from Hobart. Drive over the Tasman Bridge, following the Tasman Highway to Sorell, then turn right and take the Arthur Highway the rest of the way. As you arrive at Eaglehawk Neck, turn left at Pirates Bay Drive and follow this road for two minutes. The destination is well signposted, it shouldn’t be hard to find.
Nearby Attractions to the Tessellated Pavement
Drive a few minutes south and continue exploring a range of geological wonders such as Tasman Arch, Devils Kitchen water trench and BlowHole nearby.
Lovers of bad puns will enjoy a drive through the nearby village of Doo Town, where most of the houses are named with some variation of ‘Doo’ in them.
The Unzoo Devil Park is a great place to get up and close with Tasmanian Devils and other native animals.
If you’re looking for a nearby place to eat or grab a coffee, the Cubed Espresso Bar food truck and Blue Seal Cafe, both in Eaglehawk Neck, offer great options. For a more substantial meal or accommodation, the Lufra Hotel is only 2 minutes away.
For nearby accommodation, see here.