Eaglehawk Neck itself is unique. Just 150 metres across, it’s a low 200 metre long sandy spit which creates the only land access from the Forestier Peninsula to the Tasman Peninsula.
Although the dunes are now significantly lower than they were 200 years ago the ‘Neck’ still forms a permanent but fragile barrier between Pirates Bay and Eaglehawk Bay; requiring ships bound for the east coast to sail through Storm Bay and around Cape Pillar or Tasman Island.
There is a canal and swing bridge at Dunalley, at the northern end of the Forestier Peninsula, which were built just over 100 years ago to create a short cut for smaller craft from Norfolk Bay through to the Marion Bay; however a shallow channel leading to a treacherous sand bar at the eastern end has tested many a helmsman.
The geography of Eaglehawk Neck was an important consideration in the decision to site penal settlements on the Tasman Peninsula because the Neck presented a natural barrier to would-be escapees.
Rumors of sharks in Eaglehawk Bay added to the fearsome reputation of the penal settlements.
Nowadays the ‘Neck’ guards only a beautiful, sandy surfing beach on one side and a generally sheltered and tranquil tree-lined bay on the other. Take your pick!