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 52 kilometers away
- Richmond 57 kilometers away
- Maria Island National Park 62 kilometers away
- Huon Valley 67 kilometers away
- Freycinet National Park 112 kilometers away
- Swansea 115 kilometers away
- Mount Field National Park 118 kilometers away
- Tasmania 148 kilometers away
- Launceston 199 kilometers away
- Deloraine 205 kilometers away
- Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park 223 kilometers away
- Strahan & Gordon River 235 kilometers away
- Stanley 339 kilometers away