Tasman Arch at Eaglehawk Neck is one of the many amazing rock formations found within Tasman National Park. In fact, the whole Tasman Peninsula features some of the most impressive coastal scenery in Australia. In this southeast corner of Tasmania, waters from the Southern Ocean pound into the towering sea cliffs, forming spectacular rock formations, arches, and caves.
Two of the major attractions in this area are Tasman Arch and Devils Kitchen, just a short walk from each other. These extraordinary examples of local geology have been carved out of the cliffs by the crashing ocean waves over thousands of years. Tasman Arch is, as the name suggests, a natural rock bridge-like formation that towers above the sea.
While Tasman Arch is a tall, natural bridge in the sea cliffs, Devils Kitchen is a deep trench without an arch. The difference is, Tasman Arch is what’s left of the roof of a large sea cave, or tunnel, that was carved out by the Tasman Sea over many thousands of years. The pressure of water and compressed air, stones, and sand acted on vertical cracks (joints) in the cliff, dislodging slabs and boulders.
A short distance from Tasman Arch, Devils Kitchen is a rock feature that probably started as a cave, was carved out by the ocean waves into a tunnel and finally the roof gave way creating a rugged, 60-metre-deep cleft. Although Tasman Arch has stood for thousands of years, it is continually changing due to the action of the waves. There are weak zones that will eventually collapse, and Tasman Arch will become another Devils Kitchen.
Tasman Arch is one of several coastal landforms in Tasman National Park that have developed in the Permian-age siltstone The cliffs in this area started eroding about 6,000 years ago as sea levels rose following the last ice age to create these fascinating formations.
Tasman National Park also forms part of the Southeast Tasmania Important Bird Area. The birds here are of ecological importance and some are rare, such as the swift parrot and the curiously named forty-spotted pardalote.
Another equally impressive formation nearby is The Blowhole. Like Devils Kitchen, it was once a sea cave and tunnel. Over time, the roof collapsed leaving a broad arch with a blowhole behind it. When the seas are rough and blowing in the right direction, The Blowhole lives up to its name. As the ocean swell enters the tunnel, the sea spray and air are blasted through the funnel creating an explosive effect.
Tasman Arch is basically what is left of the roof of a large sea cave, or tunnel, that was created by wave action over many thousands of years. The pressure of water and compressed air, sand, and stones acted on vertical cracks (joints) in the cliff, dislodging slabs and boulders.
Tasman Arch is named after Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, the first European seafarer to reach New Zealand, Fiji, and ‘Van Diemen’s Land’ - now known as Tasmania.
Devils Kitchen earned its name from the effect that happens when the Great Southern Ocean waves create a cauldron-like effect, crashing and swirling around the base of the cliffs.
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