Tasmania’s number one visitor attraction is the former convict settlement of Port Arthur, a ghostly and eerie heritage area just outside Hobart.
The crumbling ruins of the penal settlement include the Gothic church, the huge prison building, barracks, guard tower, and hospital.
Interactive displays tell the tragic story of the 12,500 convicts who served time here from 1830 to 1877, and after-dark ghost tours reveal the presence of the site’s many ghosts.
You don’t need to take a ghost tour to feel a shiver at Port Arthur. The site has a palpable sense of doom, despite its beautiful natural bushland and harbor setting.
Take a tour to learn more about the inmates, or join a cruise to the Isle of the Dead, the final resting place for many of the convicts.
Review by Richard F, April 2013
Doing what: Tasmania Super Saver: Hobart Sightseeing Coach Tram Tour plus Port Arthur Tour
The Port Arthur Tour was my second visit and one highly recommended. It's a place that's very special and you feel the history and presence of 'convicts past' as you walk around the very large site. There's too much to do in one day (hence my return visit after many years). The drive from Hobart showed the effects of the Summer's bushfires and the devastation caused but nature was already re-establishing itself and many houses were in the process of being re-built. The tour was very good value and if you're interested in Social History (like myself), a 'must' to have an insight into Tasmania's past.
The Coach Tram Tour of Hobart was an extra and, although a novel experience, a bit disappointing. The tram was 'off-road' which meant having a minibus alternative, but the advantage of this is, we had access to the narrow streets of Battery Point, a significant historical part of the city. A visit to the Botanical Gardens was wonderful. Overall the tour was fine as an introduction to the sights and sounds of Hobart!
Review by George H B, April 2013
Doing what: Day Trip to Tasman Peninsula and Port Arthur Historic Site from Hobart
Although it was windy and a little cool for the season this was a great trip. The company is well organised and has excellent staff. The highlight was boat trip with magnificent scenery, seals, dolphins and killer whales as well as a myriad of seabirds. The boats are well equipped and passengers are given full protective suits against the weather. The crew were attentive and knowledgeable. The only downside of the trip was the fact that our small bus had a flat tyre on the way out from Hobart, disrupting the schedule. The tyre looked quite worn and the jack was inadequate for the job.
Absolutely fantastic! It was very informative and fun. The driver (sorry cannot remember his name ) was fabulous. He knew the area well xnd provided us with ideal commentary. He was not over the top or intrusive...very well done and we want to commend him. I have recommended your tours to all.
Port Arthur is on the Tasman Peninsula, 60 km (37 miles) south of Hobart. The peninsula is joined to the mainland by a narrow isthmus, Eaglehawk Neck, which in convict days was patrolled by hungry guard dogs.
These days you can enjoy the scenic drive from Hobart if you’re driving, or join an organized tour to visit Port Arthur for the day.