Spread across 100 acres (40 hectares) on the Tasman Peninsula, jutting out from Tasmania’s southeast coast, the Port Arthur Historic Site is home to more than 30 historical structures and ruins that once made up a convict settlement. Your 2-day pass to this now World Heritage–listed site gives you access to explore as much as you want during your time here.
You may visit and participate in the included attractions and activities in whichever order you prefer, but it’s suggested that you begin with the 40-minute introduction tour to orient yourself with the site and hear about the background of the penal colony and its prisoners. Then catch the MV Marana for a 20-minute harbor cruise, listening to onboard narration as you view the Dockyards, Point Puer Boys Prison, the Isle of the Dead Cemetery and Tasman National Park from the water.
In order to provide an educational yet entertaining way to explore the site, you’ll be given a ‘convict playing card’ with your pass. Use it to follow the life story of one of Port Arthur’s past prisoners, learning what he did to become incarcerated, his specific journey to the penal colony and what life was like for him and others in 1800s Australia and Britain.
Visit the Dockyards, where prisoners built high-quality ships in the 1830s, and listen to a ‘soundscape’ to hear sounds and voices from the active yard, making you feel like you’ve gone back to the 19th century. Then journey along the Convict Water Supply Trail, learning about the colony’s flour-production operation, and visit the Museum and Convict Study Centre to find out if any of your ancestors are in the prisoner database. In the old Asylum building, learn more details about life as a convict, and then check out the Commandants House and Junior Medical Officers House to see how the other side lived.