Looking at the remarkably lovely scene below, one might not guess that the name of this spot is Hell’s Gates. I actually think that it’s a remarkably good visual metaphor for Hell—or whatever turns into Hell in one’s life. It almost never looks bad when you first approach it.
There are essentially two reasons the name is appropriate for this attractive location. One is tied to the area’s history. This is the entrance to Macquarie Harbour, where Tasmania’s first penal settlement was established. It certainly became a Hell on earth for many of those sent there. The second reason is that, despite its charming appearance, this is a remarkable dangerous passage. That’s why the sailboat in the image is not under sail. Jagged rocks on one side, a long sandbar on the other, and the almost constantly wild winds of the Roaring Forties have sunk more than hopes at this site. But with a good motor and a relatively calm day, it is a beautiful spot to visit. Just don’t take safe passage for granted.