Backpacking Port Arthur

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  • port-arthur-f1d270
    VISIT PORT ARTHUR HISTORIC SITE AND LEARN ABOUT ITS VERY INFAMOUS HISTORY: Photo - Jonathan Wherrett, courtesy of Tourism Tasmania & PAHSMA. All rights reserved
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    SEE THE WELL-PRESERVED PENAL SETTLEMENT WHERE THE WORST CONVICTS WERE SENT FROM ENGLAND: Photo - Jonathan Wherrett, courtesy of Tourism Tasmania & PAHSMA. All rights reserved
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    THERE ARE VARIOUS GUIDED TOURS AVAILABLE TO LEARN ABOUT THE SITE, INCLUDING THE POPULAR GHOST TOUR: Photo - Chris McLennan, courtesy of Tourism Tasmania. All rights reserved
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    EXPLORE THE SPECTACULAR SCENERY IN THE NEARBY TASMAN NATIONAL PARK: Photo - Chris McLennan, courtesy of Tourism Tasmania. All rights reserved
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Port Arthur Highlights

  • Once the centre of a network of penal settlements, the town was chosen by Governor Arthur to house the worst convicts sent to Australia between 1830 and 1877.

  • Impressive architecture, delightful gardens and former prison facilities are here for you to explore and learn all about the areas fascinating and chilling history.

  • Take one of the various guided tours of the site including the popular ghost tour.

  • Visit the Coal Mines Historic Site, which was once the place where the worst repeat offenders of Port Arthur were sent to work underground to extract coal in incredibly harsh conditions. Interpretive signs at the site explain all about this.

  • Explore Tasman National Park, which is an area of great beauty and natural diversity and contains some of the most stunning coastal scenery anywhere in Australia.

About Port Arthur

Population 170

Port Arthur is a quaint historic village with an infamous history. The town was once the centre of a network of penal settlements, chosen by Governor Arthur to house the worst convicts sent to Australia. Approximately 12,500 convicts were sent to Port Arthur and the Tasman Peninsula between 1830 and 1877.

The peninsula is connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land only 100m wide called Eaglehawk Neck. Guard dogs we once chained across this strip of line, which with water infested sharks on either side formed a natural penitentiary.
 


Most of the historical buildings have been restored and preserved, and Port Arthur is now one of Tasmania's premier tourist destinations.

Port Arthur is also closely located to a lot of stunning natural scenery including spectacular cliffs, beaches and bays and places like the Remarkable Cave, a cave-like opening that leads out to sea.

Popular activities in the area include surfing, sea kayaking, diving and bushwalking.

Another place worth visiting is the Coal Mines Historic Site, which was once the place where the worst repeat offenders of Port Arthur were sent to work underground to extract coal in incredibly harsh conditions. Interpretive signs at the site explain all about this.

There is also Doo Town, which has been called this, because most of the residents have named their homes with the word "doo" in it, such as Gunadoo, Love Me Doo, Doo Little, etc.

On the way to Port Arthur is the area of Eaglehawk Neck, which is surrounded by many impressive sites.

More recently, Port Arthur was also known as the place of modern Australia's worst massacre. On 28 April 1996 Martin Bryant claimed the lives of 35 people and wounded 21 others in a shooting killing spree. Today he is serving the rest of his life in a Tasmanian prison.

Orientation Map for Port Arthur


View map of Port Arthur in a larger map

Port Arthur Historical Site Visitor Centre

Port Arthur, Tasmania
Phone 1800 659 101
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