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Port Arthur Penitentiary Tours

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Port Arthur Penitentiary
Isolated on a peninsula facing the Tasman Sea, the once-feared Port Arthur Penitentiary was where Britain’s most-condemned convicts were sent to endure harsh conditions. Today, the UNESCO-listed site has been restored and preserved to remember Australia’s past; a visit here sheds light on the darker days of Port Arthur. 

The Basics
Highlights include the penitentiary building, a former granary and flour mill; the prison, where convicts were sent to endure solitary confinement and sensory deprivation; and the Commandant’s House. More recent dark history is on view at the shell of the Broad Arrow Café, the site of the 1996 Port Arthur mass shooting that’s been preserved as a memorial garden. 

Though there are interpretive and interactive displays, the site is best understood alongside guide commentary on a tour, many of which depart from Hobart and include a harbor cruise. 

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Some areas are wheelchair accessible, while others may require assisted access.
  • Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a leash.
  • Printed visitor guides are available at the entrance.
  • There’s a restaurant, café, and coffee shop on site.

How to Get There
Port Arthur Historic Site is a scenic 1.5-hour drive from Hobart. Driving along the Arthur Highway takes you through forest and past beaches so allow time for stops along the way. Free parking is available on site. Using public transportation would take close to three hours so, if you don’t have your own vehicle, skip the hassle and join a tour.

When to Get There
The visitor center at Port Arthur Historic Site is open from morning until the end of its nightly ghost tours. The grounds stay open until dusk while you can access the buildings from morning until early evening, sometimes later in the summer. Visiting earlier in the day helps you avoid crowds.

Ghost Tours
Every night after dark, Port Arthur Penitentiary hosts a ghost tour.  More than 1,000 people died at Port Arthur and some believe they never left. Ghost tours typically guide you by lantern light through some of Port Arthur’s more infamous buildings and ruins, and reveal vivid stories of paranormal activity and unexplained events.
Address: Champ St, Port Arthur, Tasmania 7182, Australia
Admission: Varies
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Port Arthur Tour from HobartDay Trips

Port Arthur Tour from Hobart

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Visit Port Arthur Historic Site, part of the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Australian Convict Sites, on this day trip from Hobart. If you’re a history buff, this is the tour for you, as it’s been designed to provide as much time as possible to explore Port Arthur in one day. On a guided walking tour of the grounds, learn about the site’s history as a convict colony, visit ruins and restored buildings, and admire the coastal scenery that highlights the natural beauty of the Tasman Peninsula. A harbor cruise is included.
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Booked by 1,747 travelers
  • 8 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
$80.88 
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  • 8 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Grand Historical Port Arthur Walking Tour from HobartDay Trips

Grand Historical Port Arthur Walking Tour from Hobart

star-4.5
Explore Port Arthur Historic Site, part of the World Heritage–listed Australian Convict Sites, on a day trip from Hobart. On a guided walking tour of the grounds, learn about the site’s history as a penal colony, check out ruins and restored buildings, and admire the coastal scenery that highlights the natural beauty of the Tasman Peninsula. Plus, take a cruise to Isle of the Dead for a walking tour of this prison cemetery. 
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Booked by 164 travelers
  • 8 to 9 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
From  
$94.97 
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  • 8 to 9 hours
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  • Free Cancellation

Day Trip to Tasman Peninsula and Port Arthur Historic Site from HobartDay Cruises

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Day Trip to Tasman Peninsula and Port Arthur Historic Site from Hobart

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Experience the Tasman Peninsula by both land and sea on this day trip from Hobart that includes a 3-hour cruise along the coast of Tasman National Park. Gaze up at towering sea cliffs, look for wildlife like falcons and seals, and learn about the peninsula’s ecosystem. Then visit the World Heritage–listed Port Arthur Historic Site for an in-depth look at Australia’s penal history at this former convict colony. Lunch is included.
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Booked by 1,846 travelers
  • 10 hours 30 minutes
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  • Free Cancellation
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$165.44 
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  • 10 hours 30 minutes
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  • Free Cancellation

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Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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