Located on the Bass Highway 117 km north of Launceston via Devonport, Port Sorell and the nearby township of Shearwater, are little more than quiet and sleepy resorts (there is a strong emphasis on caravan parks and simple fibro accommodation) which are popular for fishermen, boating enthusiasts and people who want to get away from any kind of mainstream holiday activities. There is a transient feeling about the Port Sorell which, as a town, is really a few shops and a small number of holiday homes located behind the sand dunes.
Port Sorell is located on the Rubicon River. It was established in the early 1820s and named after Lieutenant-Governor William Sorell who arrived in Hobart Town in 1817. Originally developed as a port by the Van Diemen's Company, it was the oldest European settlement on Tasmania's north coast and, by the 1840s, it had grown to be the largest town on the coast. It declined with the development of Devonport and most of its early history was wiped out by bushfires. There is no evidence today of the town's interesting historic origins.
Things to see
A popular haunt for people eager to catch some fish. The jetty can be accessed by the road beside the town's main caravan park. It offers good views across the water to Bakers Beach and Asbestos National Park which are well worth exploring although you have to leave Port Sorell and drive around the Port to the south and east to access the park.
Watch House Hill
It might be better to describe it as Watch House sand dune. There was a time when there was an old gaol on top of this prominent sand dune. It was destroyed and today it has been replaced by the town's bowling green.
After the rather sleepy experience of Port Sorell it is surprising to find Shearwater which has been developed in the past decade. It has a modern shopping centre, good access to the beaches - particularly Freers Beach - and the Shearwater Country Club is a very substantial and modern holiday destination.
Port Sorell is ideal for people seeking a quiet and uncomplicated holiday. There are walks along the beaches and in the nearby Asbestos National Park. The fishing is good. There are a wide range of water activities available. And there is a sleepiness which is relaxing and pleasant.