Located on the Tasman Peninsula, Port Arthur is around a 95 km drive from Hobart, the state capital of Tasmania. Arrive in Tasmania by air, international and domestic, or take the barge from mainland Australia. Join a prearranged tour or self-drive and travel in a style that suits you.
There are many forms of accommodation in the area, including luxury self-contained Cabins, colonial era Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, Motels, Caravan parks and Camping grounds.
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The Port Arthur historic site, a former convict settlement, is one of Australia's most significant heritage areas and Tasmania's top tourist attraction.
From 1833 to 1853 Port Arthur was maintained by the British Empire as a penal colony for the hardest of British and Irish criminals and other offenders, where they were kept under control by some of the strictest security measures of the British penal system. Located on a peninsula, surrounded by shark infested waters (according to prison administration), and only a 30 metre wide access to the mainland that was a guarded by soldiers, mantraps and starving dogs, Port Arthur was advertised as an inescapable prison. Around 12,500 convicts passed through the colony and it is rumored some committed murder there purely to receive the death penalty and escape from what was essentially 'a living hell'.
The 40 ha site of landscaped grounds houses Australia's most intact convict settlement, including restored buildings and homes, ruins, a harbor, a coalmine, a factory and even an Isle of the Dead. Enjoy one of the guided tours and cruises or explore this vast and unsettling remembrance of days gone past at your own pace. With a museum, interactive experiences and a bistro serving fresh Tasmanian produce, a trip to the Port Arthur Historic site is one trip you will remember.
Enlarge Photo by eliduke