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Described by Governor Arthur as a “natural penitentiary”, the Tasman Peninsula is connected to the mainland by ‘Eaglehawk Neck’, an isthmus only one hundred meters 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 behavior, whereupon their prospects were actually quite good, on account of the skills learned in Port Arthur’s thriving industries.

Convict labor enabled Tasmania to become initially self-sufficient and then a net exporter.

Exploring Port Arthur

Port Arthur, TasmaniaYou 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 enthrall you with details otherwise missed.

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who's been there
Audley specialist Haley

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Port Arthur by contacting one of our Australia specialists

Suggested itinerary featuring Port Arthur

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

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    Places near Port Arthur

    Our expert guides to exploring Port Arthur

    Written by our specialists from their own experiences of visiting Port Arthur, these guides will help you make the most of your time there. We share both our practical recommendations and the best ways to appreciate Port Arthur at its best.

    • What to do in Tasmania: our highlights guide
      Dove Lake hike

      What to do in Tasmania: our highlights guide

      What to do in Tasmania: our highlights guide

      Australia expert Haley explains why Tasmania shouldn’t be overlooked on a trip to Australia. From farm-to-table dining to expansive walking trails along rugged coastlines and getting a glimpse of wild Tasmanian devils and fluffy wombats, this island has much to discover.

      7 min read

      Read this guide