12 March, 2021

Historic Port Arthur

The Port Arthur Historic Site on the Tasman Peninsula is home to Australia’s most iconic historic penitentiary. This largely intact, allegedly haunted convict site is one of Australia’s most well-known tourist attractions, because it has so much to offer.

The Site has more than 30 buildings, ruins and renovated epoch homes which are situated on 40 hectares of beautiful, well-kept grounds.

Your paid site entry is valid for two consecutive days, as it will take every bit of two days to take in all that Port Arthur has to offer. The historical site entry fee includes an Introductory Guided Walking Tour, access to the museum, and a cruise of the harbor. It also includes admission to the Convict Study Centre, Interpretation Gallery, and the Dockyard.

History of Port Arthur

During the years 1830 to 1877, Port Arthur was the spot where reoffending convicts of New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land were sent to be imprisoned. Of course, Van Diemen’s Land is now known as Tasmania. Because Port Arthur was positioned in a secluded, punitive area that offered no way of escape, it was considered the best place to house repeat offenders.

However, Port Arthur was so much more than just a penitentiary. It was also a whole community of military personnel and early settlers who worked there. The complex consisted of a working farm that produced a large range of materials. In the later years, Port Arthur also became the home to many severely mentally and physically ill people. They were often referred to as paupers or lunatics.

Historic Coal Mines
Historic Coal Mines. Image courtesy of: Alastair Bett

Where did the Convicts Come From?

When the American War of Independence ended, Britain began transporting their convicts to the Australian colonies, because they could no longer send them to America. The convicts mostly consisted of poor men and women who were found guilty of wrongdoings that would seem quite insignificant today, such as stealing small items or cattle. Their children were often transported with them to Port Arthur.

Image courtesy of: Tourism Tasmania & Jonathan Wherrett

Port Arthur Today

At present, the Port Arthur Historic Site is one of Australia’s most visited heritage attractions. It has been honoured with numerous tourism awards and is a popular vacation destination worldwide. The magnificent coastal scenery, stunning garden landscaping and striking natural parkland is breathtaking, and the pastoral beauty of the surrounding historical buildings is simply fascinating. There are numerous hotels located near the site, and the 1830 Restaurant & Bar at the Port Arthur Historic Site is open Thursday to Saturday weekly for dinner and open for lunch on Sundays.

If you want to visit the island’s burial ground, you can board a cruise to the Isle of the Dead for an additional fee. You can visit the graves of the initial settlement, including soldiers, convicts and civilians.

1830 Restaurant & Bar. Image courtesy of: Peter Whyte

Port Arthur’s Famous Ghost Tour

The most famous tour of its kind in Australia, the spine chilling ghost tour is the perfect thing to do during the night hours. Port Arthur is said to be one of the most intriguing and haunted places in the world. Many tourists have reported experiencing all kinds of paranormal activity, and some visitors have even reported seeing orbs following them throughout the nighttime tour. You’ll also hear about the stories of the convicts. Since the 1870s, there have been hundreds of documented strange occurrences and sightings of scary apparitions.

Famous Ghost Tour. Image courtesy of: Alastair Bett


Information included in this blog is correct at the time of publishing. Please contact individual operators for further information.

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