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Port Arthur Historic Site

Step back into Tasmania’s past as a penal colony and learn about the lives of convicts who were sent to one of the harshest settlements in the British Empire.

The UNESCO-listed Port Arthur was one of the British Empire’s most brutal penal settlements. Located on the stunning Mason Cove, the natural beauty of the landscape stands in stark contrast to the history of convict prisoners who were sent here, condemned to hard labor. See these stunning ruins at your own pace or on a guided or themed tour.

The penal settlement in Port Arthur began as a small timber station in 1830 and rapidly grew to become one the most important colonies in the Southern Hemisphere.

Explore the various buildings, including the mess room, chapel, library and workshops of the eerie Penitentiary. See the Separate Prison, which was reserved for solitary confinement. Walk through the former morgue in the crumbling hospital and down the aisle of the ruined Convict Church, which overlooks the settlement. 

Step between the fallen walls of the Coal Mines Historic Site, Tasmania’s first operational mine, where the worst of offenders were sent to work underground. When the mines were at peak production, up to 600 miners, jailers and their families lived here.

Smell the flowers in the ornamental Government Gardens and meander through the reconstructed private grounds of the Commandant’s House. Step behind the separating masonry walls and into the most senior official’s residence where furnishings and artefacts tell how different daily life as an officer was compared to that of a convict. 

Historic Port Arthur also has a memorial garden for the people who lost their lives in the shooting that took place there.

Admission can be combined with exciting guided tours, including a cruise to the Isle of the Dead Cemetery, where over 1,000 convicts were buried between 1833 and 1877, or to the Point Puer Boys Prison, where inmates were as young as nine years old. Themed evening tours include a Ghost Tour and The Paranormal Investigation.

Port Arthur is a scenic 1.5-hour drive from Hobart. Entrance passes are valid for two days and include all-site admission, a walking tour, a cruise on the MV Marana, entry to historic buildings and for people experiencing mobility difficulties, access the gardens shuttle buggy. Prices differ for adults, children, families and concession cardholders.

It's not hard to spend a whole morning or afternoon at Port Arthur Historic Site. The list below provides just some of the things you can try here:

If you're seeking more options, peruse our Hobart things to do page.


Guide to Exploring Port Arthur Historic Site


Map

Top Port Arthur Historic Site Hotel & Accommodation Deals

See all 309 properties near Port Arthur Historic Site
Stewarts Bay Lodge AU$199
Stewarts Bay Lodge

Stewarts Bay Lodge

6955 Arthur Highway, Port Arthur, TAS
     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated in Port Arthur, this beach hotel is within 3 miles (5 km) of Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasman Golf Course and Port Arthur Lavender Farm. Isle of the Dead and Point Puer are also within 6 miles (10 km).

    Port Arthur Motor Inn AU$118
    Port Arthur Motor Inn

    Port Arthur Motor Inn

    29 Safety Cove Road, Port Arthur, TAS
       
      3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated in Port Arthur, this motel is within 3 miles (5 km) of Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasman Golf Course and Isle of the Dead. Point Puer is 2.9 mi (4.7 km) away.

      Fox and Hounds Inn AU$109
      Fox and Hounds Inn

      Fox and Hounds Inn

      6789 Arthur Highway, Port Arthur, TAS
         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated in Port Arthur, this motel is 1.6 mi (2.6 km) from Port Arthur Lavender Farm and 2.4 mi (3.9 km) from Port Arthur Historic Site. Isle of the Dead and Tasman Golf Course are also within 6 miles (10 km).

        NRMA Port Arthur Holiday Park AU$117
        NRMA Port Arthur Holiday Park

        NRMA Port Arthur Holiday Park

        Garden Point Road, Port Arthur, TAS
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated in Port Arthur, this campsite is 1.8 mi (2.8 km) from Port Arthur Historic Site and 2.4 mi (3.9 km) from Port Arthur Lavender Farm. Isle of the Dead and Tasman Golf Course are also within 6 miles (10 km).

          Port Arthur Villas AU$195
          Port Arthur Villas

          Port Arthur Villas

          52 Safety Cove Road, Port Arthur, TAS
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            This family-friendly Port Arthur motel is located by the ocean, within 2 mi (3 km) of Port Arthur Historic Site and Tasman Golf Course. Isle of the Dead and Point Puer are also within 3 mi (5 km).

            Bay Retreat Port Arthur AU$240
            Bay Retreat Port Arthur

            Bay Retreat Port Arthur

            229 Safety Cove Road, Port Arthur, TAS
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in Port Arthur, this beach cottage is 0.7 mi (1.2 km) from Tasman Golf Course and 1.4 mi (2.2 km) from Port Arthur Historic Site. Isle of the Dead and Point Puer are also within 2 miles (3 km).

              Sea Change Safety Cove AU$200
              Sea Change Safety Cove

              Sea Change Safety Cove

              425 Safety Cove Road, Port Arthur, TAS
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Nestled on the beach, this Port Arthur bed & breakfast is within 1 mi (2 km) of Tasman Golf Course and Remarkable Cave. Isle of the Dead and Point Puer are also within 3 mi (5 km).

                Classic Cottages Port Arthur
                Classic Cottages Port Arthur

                Classic Cottages Port Arthur

                6 Andersons Road, Port Arthur, TAS
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated in Port Arthur, this cottage is within 6 mi (10 km) of Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmanian Devil Unzoo and Tasman Golf Course.