Tasmania’s number one visitor attraction is the former convict settlement of Port Arthur, a ghostly and eerie heritage area just outside Hobart. Built to reform and rehabilitate convicts, Port Arthur was a key part of convict discipline within the Colonial system whose philosophy was "a machine for grinding rogues into honest men." Today, the site is part of the Australian Convict World Heritage Sites and UNESCO World Heritage Site listed.
Covering about 100 acres (40 hectares), the crumbling ruins of the penal settlement include the Penitentiary, the Separate Prison, the Dockyard, the Port Arthur gardens, the Coal Mines Historic Site, Cascades Female Factory and Gothic church.
The stories of Port Arthur are told in many different ways. 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.
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.
Tours & Tickets
Spend four days exploring Tasmania’s east coast highlights, from Launceston’s Cataract Gorge to one of the world’s most beautiful beaches at Wineglass Bay. ... Read more
Duration: 4 days (approx.)
Explore the Tasman Peninsula from both land and sea on a full-day excursion from Hobart. See the Tasman Peninsula from the water on a three-hour wilderness ... Read more
Duration: 10 hours 30 minutes (approx.)
Set off on a full day trip from Hobart and discover Port Arthur Convict Site, Tasman National Park and the Isle of the Dead! Suitable for the whole family, ... Read more
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)
Over two days, enjoy a half-day tour of Hobart’s major city-center attractions, plus a full-day walking tour of Port Arthur! Ideal for first-time visitors to ... Read more
Duration: 2 days (approx.)
Enjoy fabulous views of Tasmania’s scenic east coast as you fly north from Hobart to Wineglass Bay on the Freycinet Peninsula. Explore the historic ... Read more
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)