Saturday, 21 April 2012

Port Arthur Historic Site

“The Port Arthur Historic Site is amongst the best-preserved convict settlements in Australia and among the most significant convict era sites in the world.” (Discover Tasmania).

Port Arthur is got to be one of the most intriguing places I’ve been to. It provides a glimpse of what the place represents in the history books of Tasmania.


Port Arthur is located approximately 60 km south east of the state capital, Hobart on the Tasman Peninsula. The scenic drive from Hobart, via the Tasman Highway to Sorell and the Arthur Highway to Port Arthur, takes around 90 minutes and covers approximately 96 km. Transport from Hobart to the site is also available via bus or ferry, and various companies offer day tours from Hobart.


There are various options to experience Port Arthur they have a variety of passes depending on the experience that you would like to have. They have the bronze pass, which most of us availed. It already included Access to more than 30 historic buildings, ruins, gardens and museum houses, 40-minute guided walking tour—a great introduction to Port Arthur, its people and its past and a 30-minute harbour cruise aboard the MV Marana (fascinating indeed). Here’s the summary of the fees as a guide:

  • Adult $32.00
  • Child $16.00 (4 to 17 years old)
  • Family $79.00
  • Concession $27.00
  • Student $25.00

Apart from this, you can also take advantage of the other passes: Silver Pass, Gold Pass, After Dark Pass (I wanted try this) and Ghost Tour Pass (Awoooh!),


“Even beforehand, I’ve already read about this historic place and its significance in shaping Tasmania to what it has become today. The moment you purchase your ticket, a piece of playing card was handed out, they call it Lottery of Life. At first, I didn’t know what it was until I followed the trail in maze which displays photos of previous convicts, with a short description. The card led me to a small compartment wherein my convict partner was located. There he was, William Pearson, 7 years of age labourer from Nottingham, England. He was transported to Tasmania to serve his sentence. He was jailed for stealing razors. I was intrigued.”

Spread over 40 hectares, the Site contains more than 30 historic buildings and ruins. Some of the shingle-roofed buildings were substantially destroyed in bushfires in the late nineteenth century; their ruins give the place an appropriately eerie countenance.

Visitors can discover the intriguing convict history and the many stories of the place as they interact with the Site through a variety of interpretive experiences, including guided tours, harbour cruise, audio tour, multimedia presentations, furnished houses, museum displays, a convict study centre, interpretation gallery and innovative, high-tech experiences at the Dockyard and in the Separate Prison. There are also magnificent gardens, parkland and short walking trails through the natural bush that surrounds the Site.

Site entry is valid for two consecutive days and includes an Introductory Guided Walking Tour, Harbour Cruise, access to Museum, Convict Study Centre and Interpretation Gallery and the site of the Dockyard.

For a small additional fee you can also cruise to the Isle of the Dead and join a guided tour of Port Arthur’s island burial ground. An insight into the lives of those who were part of the penal settlement including convicts, soldiers, civilians and their families. (Discover Tasmania)


The best feature of Port Arthur is its child-friendly. Other facilities include, Café, Car park, Coach Parking, Access Without Assistance for the Disabled, Parking for the Disabled, Toilet facilities for the Disabled, First aid equipment, Guide, Lockers, Public Telephone, Public Toilet, Restaurant Licensed, Shop, Tour Desk, Visitor Information Centre


The Port Arthur Historic Site, gardens and ruins are open from 8.30am until dusk, while Museum houses and buildings are open between 9.30am and 5pm. The Visitor Centre is open from 8.30am until the close of Historic Ghost Tours at night.


“Overall, Port Arthur is tailored to tourists, with its guided tours and educational features. It is just so structured that the feel of self-exploration to the ruins diminishes.”


It’s definitely a Tourist Attraction. If you come and visit Tasmania you should not miss Port Arthur. It truly offers a fascinating experience to locals and tourists alike. Highly recommended for families traveling with children, since they have a variety of educational activities. Also, the panorama of the convict ruins, the harbour, the dock and the islands surrounding Port Arthur is worthwhile of a scenic photography session.

For more information contact


Visitor Centre

Please contact the Visitor Centre for all bookings, event information, restaurant reservations and visitor information.
Phone 1800 659 101 (from within Australia) or +61 (0)3 6251 2310
Fax 1800 659 202 (from within Australia) or +61 3 6251 2311


  1. this seems like an interesting place to visit...wish to visit it someday..found ur blog in tbex...

    1. Truly. They also have a Ghost Tour after dark and its really interesting.