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Port Arthur, Tasmania Tours

Port Arthur

Port Arthur is a village and historic site in southern Tasmania, Australia. Sitting on the Tasman Peninsula, it was a 19th-century penal settlement and is now an open-air museum. Ruins include the huge penitentiary and the remaining shell of the Convict Church, which was built by inmates.

Port Arthur, Tasmania

Port Arthur Historic Site is located on a beautiful harbour at the southern tip of the Tasman Peninsula, almost 100 km south-east of Hobart.

Port Arthur Historic Site covers more than 40 hectares (100 acres) of open land. While you will explore a number of intact buildings during your visit, many of our historic ruins are without roofs, and most of your visit will be spent outdoors. More than 30 buildings and ruins dot the Tasman Peninsula site, ranging from a large penitentiary, which was originally constructed as a flour mill, to a roofless church built by convicts. Sombre scenes such as the much-feared isolation cells of the Separate Prison are contrasted by the neat homes and gardens of the settlement of soldiers and free settlers that arose around the prison.

Our coastal location means we can experience sudden weather changes, so make sure you’re prepared for sun, rain, wind, cold and warmth!

  • Dress in comfortable, layered clothing
  • Bring a raincoat (umbrellas are of limited use in the wind!)
  • Wear comfortable shoes, suitable for walking
  • Pack sunscreen and a hat
  • Check the weather forecast before your visit and dress for the conditions

The Port Arthur Historic Site is extensive and covers a range of terrain. Some areas offer independent wheelchair access, while others may require assisted access.

The Convict Tour and Harbour Cruise are both wheelchair accessible.  The Isle of the Dead Cemetery Tour includes walkways with relatively steep gradients up to 1:8.  Assistance is recommended for people with a physical limitation that wish to take this tour.

You will also find a cafe and restaurant at Port Arthur to grab some food or you can bring a picnic and find a lovely spot to sit and have your lunch.

Tickets to the historic site allow entry for two consecutive days and include an introductory walking tour and a 20min harbour cruise. 

You can either join a longer tour of Tasmania that has a day trip to Port Arthur or enjoy a day trip to the area.

If you have more time, join one of our longer Bruny Island tours which take you across the bay to discover Port Arthur and the Tasman peninsula or browse all of our Port Arthur Tours.

How to get to Port Arthur

By Car

Port Arthur Historic Site is a 90-minute drive from Hobart, and the journey offers some of the best sightseeing in Tasmania. Allow enough time to stop along the way and explore places like the Tesselated Pavement at Eaglehawk Neck, and dramatic geological features such as the Blowhole, Tasman Arch and Devil’s Kitchen.

If you arrive from the Spirit of Tasmania with your vehicle from the mainland, you can choose different routes from the Devonport Terminal to drive down to Port Arthur. No matter if you choose the Great Eastern Drive or the Midland Highway, there are plenty of activities, natural scenery and great locally-produced food to fit into your 4 to 5-hour journey.

Free parking is provided; however, during peak periods our car park does fill up quickly.  We recommend you arrive early if you wish to secure a parking bay close to the entrance.  There are dedicated spaces for caravans, motor homes, and buses.

Driving Tips

Fill your car with fuel before you begin your journey. Most service stations on the Peninsula close before 6:00 pm. The closest petrol station to Port Arthur Historic Site is less than a km away however hours do vary throughout the year.

There are electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at selected locations between Hobart and the Tasman Peninsula, including Tesla destination chargers (open for all EVs) at the Lufra Hotel at Eaglehawk Neck and McHenry Distillery at Port Arthur.  Click here for the map and details.

Check hire car restrictions.  Some car rental companies have limitations on where you can drive. The Arthur Highway is a sealed road, but many smaller roads on the Tasman Peninsula are unsealed or rough, so check your route, and your hire agreement, before you begin.

Watch for wildlife.  Native wildlife is abundant on Turrakana/Tasman Peninsula, and most marsupial species are active at dawn and dusk. Take special care when driving at these times, when wildlife is often encountered along the roadside.

By coach

There are regular transport services and tours between Hobart and Port Arthur.  

Remains of the convict barracks at Port Arthur, Tasmania Tours
Tourists exploring the Port Arthur historic site

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