Described by Governor Arthur as a “natural penitentiary”, the Tasman Peninsula is connected to the mainland by ‘Eaglehawk Neck’, an isthmus only one hundred metres wide that was guarded by a permanent line of savage dogs, wickedly sharp man-traps and, legend has it, waters baited to keep them shark infested!
Port Arthur housed 12,500 convicts between 1830 and 1877. For some, this was a hellish place, however most convicts would earn their probation for good behaviour, whereupon their prospects were actually quite good, on account of the skills learned in Port Arthur’s thriving industries.
Convict labour enabled Tasmania to become initially self sufficient and then a net exporter.
Exploring Port Arthur
You can take a short boat trip to the poignant ‘Island of the Dead’, where prisoners and civilians alike were buried, often in unmarked graves. Not surprisingly one of the most popular evening tours around Port Arthur is the ‘Ghost Tour’ which is packed with ghoulish stories and anecdotal evidence.
For such a history-focused day out it is well worth considering the use of a guide who will enthral you with details otherwise missed.
Suggested Port Arthur itinerary
This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Port Arthur, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Port Arthur
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Port Arthur
- Hobart 32 miles away
- Richmond 36 miles away
- Maria Island National Park 39 miles away
- Huon Valley 42 miles away
- Freycinet National Park 70 miles away
- Swansea 72 miles away
- Mount Field National Park 74 miles away
- Tasmania 92 miles away
- Launceston 124 miles away
- Deloraine 128 miles away
- Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park 139 miles away
- Strahan & Gordon River 146 miles away
- Stanley 211 miles away