Port Arthur Historic Site is temporarily closed
Port Arthur is temporarily CLOSED due to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
Normal hours for when we reopen are listed below:
Visitor Centre and ticketing office
Open from 9:00am until the conclusion of our nightly Ghost Tours.
Grounds and gardens
Open from 9:00am until dusk.
Houses and buildings
Open between 10:00am and 5:00pm. Some houses close later during the summer months. Check with our Visitor Centre staff when you arrive for information about our free Museum House Talks.
Port Arthur Historic Site is open from 9:00am until 3:00pm on Christmas Day, and offers a selection of tours in the morning and early afternoon.
To find out more, please contact us.
Getting HereView Directions
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 is a 90-minute drive from Hobart, and the journey offers some of the best sightseeing in Tasmania. The Arthur Highway winds through lush farmland and forest, inviting beaches and the Tasman Peninsula’s famously scenic coastline. 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.
Free parking is provided; however, during peak periods our carpark 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 please look for the signs as you enter the site.
Fill your car with fuel before you begin your journey. Most service stations on the Peninsula close before 6:00pm. The closest petrol station to Port Arthur Historic Site is less than a km away however hours do vary throughout the year.
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 the 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.
Need more information? Check the Discover Tasmania website for tips on self-drive touring, places to visit, and hire car information in Tasmania.
There are regular transport services between Hobart and Port Arthur. A number of operators also offer tours in the Port Arthur region. For more information check the Discover Tasmania website or contact us.
What to Bring
A few simple preparations before you visit will make sure your time at Port Arthur Historic Site is the best it can be.
The 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.
The site’s 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
All our tours take place in the open air, and are rarely cancelled because of the weather. While our guides will make you as comfortable as possible in all conditions, some locations, such the Isle of the Dead and Point Puer Boys Prison, have limited shelter, and so the right clothing and weather protection will help make your experience much more enjoyable.
Sunscreen, hats and wet-weather ponchos can also be purchased in our Gift Shop.
Visiting with Children
Discover the hidden stories of Port Arthur through the ‘Hidden Stories’ Activity Book. This activity book is a great way for children to explore the site and learn about Port Arthur’s history as they search for answers, complete puzzles and collect stamps.
The activity book is free of charge and suitable for ages 7-12. Ask for a copy at the ticketing desk when you arrive at the Port Arthur Visitor Centre.
Parents of very young children are encouraged to pack a pram, as exploring the Site’s wide open spaces can be very tiring for youngsters. Prams are also available for hire at the Visitor Centre.
Taking children on Ghost Tours
The suitability of Ghost Tours for children generally depends on the age and ‘stage’ of your children. Ghost Tours are popular with older children however if your child is very young, very active or tends to suffer with nightmares, then Ghost Tours may not be suitable. If your child is disruptive to the tour, your guide will request that you leave the tour.
Amenities and Accessibility
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.
Our Visitor Centre, café, 1830 restaurant and the Port Arthur Gallery are all wheelchair accessible via ramps or elevator. Accessible bathroom facilities are also available within the Visitor Centre.
While not all heritage buildings and ruins on the site are wheelchair accessible, a number of buildings can be accessed by visitors who require the use of a wheelchair. Check with our Visitor Services staff for more information.
Our Introductory Tour and Harbour Cruise are both wheelchair accessible. However, the Ghost Tours, Isle of the Dead and Point Puer Boys’ Prison tours include rough or uneven terrain and are not recommended for people with mobility restrictions.
Disabled parking spaces are located adjacent to the Visitor Centre entrance.
Wheelchairs are available for loan from the Visitor Centre.
Between 10:30am and 3:30pm daily, our courtesy buggies provide a regular drop-off and pick-up service around the site for visitors with limited mobility. Check at the Visitor Centre for more information.
Some people with a disability are accompanied by a companion or carer when they visit venues or events. Port Arthur Historic Site is proud to be affiliated with the Companion Card Program, which offers a second ticket or tour pass at no cost to patrons holding a Companion Card.
Port Arthur Historic Site has been a smoke-free site since 2011. There are smoking areas provided outside the Visitor Centre accessible to visitors before they enter the site.
Dogs are allowed on site at Port Arthur providing they are kept on a lead at all times. After purchasing your tickets at the Visitor Centre, our staff will direct you to a special entrance for you and your dog.
Please note that there are some areas that dogs are not allowed to enter such as the visitor centre, house museums and the harbour cruise vessel MV Marana.
Owners are asked to please clean up after your dogs using the bins provided whilst on site.
While most of our tours are conducted only in English, our introductory guided walking tour is also conducted in Mandarin every day.
Printed visitor guides are available from the Visitor Centre when you arrive and can also be downloaded in the following languages:
Port Arthur Historic Site is proud to have achieved China Ready and Accredited status
Dining1830 Restaurant and Bar
Port Arthur Historic Site offers dining options to suit everyone – from quick and delicious sandwiches made fresh in our cafe, to the tempting menu in the 1830 restaurant.
With sweeping views of the Penitentiary, gardens and grounds, the 1830 restaurant is a perfect place to enjoy a long, relaxed meal with friends. Our menu uses fresh seasonal produce sourced from local growers and producers, and you can choose your favourite from our range of fine Tasmanian wines, craft beers, whiskys and spirits
Bookings via 1800 659 101 are recommended. Click here to view our menus.
Port Arthur Café
Our expanded café on the upper level of the Visitor Centre, offers you a range of options to satisfy your appetite during your visit. Enjoy freshly brewed coffee and sweet treats, thirst quenching cold drinks, beers, wines and spirits, and fresh, delicious food, all made on site using local ingredients. If you’re in a hurry to explore, pick up a pack of tasty sandwiches for a picnic in the grounds, or if it’s time for a reviving break, choose something cooked to order in our kitchens and relax inside or on our deck as you soak up views of the site.
Museum Coffee Shop
The Museum Coffee Shop located in the Asylum is open every day except Saturdays, from 10:30am until 3:30pm, and is the perfect place to drop in after your introductory tour. Enjoyable in all weather conditions with both indoor and outdoor dining space you can enjoy a good coffee, homemade cakes, delicious snacks and light meals.
Our gift shop is located inside the Visitor Centre, just across from the ticketing desk.
Make sure to leave a little retail therapy time before or after you explore the site, and take something home to remember your Port Arthur experience. Choose from our range of quality Tasmanian products, gifts and souvenirs, postcards, books and DVDs, clothing, jewellery and artwork.
Photography and Filming (drones)
The Port Arthur Historic Sites are among Australia’s most popular and scenic heritage attractions. These are places of exceptional beauty, and our visitors are welcome to take photographs and make audio and video recordings at the sites for their own use and to share with family and friends #portarthurtassie.
Any commercial production requires written approval and is subject to PAHSMA’s Filming and Photography Guidelines, which are incorporated in the application form. A commercial production refers to photographs or recordings undertaken professionally or for a financial consideration, either on consignment for another party, or with a view to selling or hiring the imagery obtained, or for promotion of a product or service. This permission must be obtained prior to any photography or filming taking place. Click here to download the application form or for more information, please contact us.
The use of Remotely-Piloted Aircraft (UAV or ‘drones’)
For the safety and preservation of our heritage buildings, wildlife and guests recreational use of an RPA is NOT permitted at Port Arthur Historic Site.
The commercial use of an RPA may be considered with the provision of evidence of Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) operator’s certificate (ReOC or the former UOC); and the pilot must hold a remote pilot licence (RePL or the former UAV controller). This requirement applies to all categories of RPA including very small RPA (sub- 2kg category). Anyone with this licences wishign to film will also need to present a current Public Liability insurance certificate and complete the Filming and Photography Application form at least 10 business days prior to filming.
Please refer to CASA regulations for any RPA’s used within the vicinity of Port Arthur Historic Site including Point Puer and Garden Point. https://www.casa.gov.au/drones/rules
Explore the Region
The Tasman Peninsula was an ideal place to build a prison. Deep, cold ocean, thick forest and 300-metre high sea cliffs made Port Arthur a natural prison from which escape must have seemed impossible.
Today Port Arthur is one of Tasmania’s most beautiful and sought after holiday destinations.
The Tasman Peninsula offers a huge variety of sightseeing options. Visit the Coal Mines Historic Site for a further insight into the area’s convict past. Explore the Tasman National Park, embark upon the Three Capes Track, or choose a short coastal walk to see Australia’s highest sea cliffs and natural rock formations like Remarkable Cave, The Devil’s Kitchen, the Tessellated Pavement and Tasman Arch.
Join a cruise to see the peninsula from the water and encounter wonderful marine life, or take a helicopter flight over the Three Capes Track.
Visit our local producers to taste delicacies ranging from artisan gin and vodka to lavender ice cream or join a guided tour or take yourself on a road trip to visit the Peninsula’s towns, beaches and attractions.
Visitor Information and Bookings
Your site entry ticket is valid for two consecutive days – so why not take the opportunity to stay a little longer in the Port Arthur area and really explore. There are plenty of accommodation choices close by – from charming, convict-era cottages to sleek contemporary apartments, motels, hotels and cabins.
Inside the Visitor Centre you will find a range of brochures and travel publications as well as:
- Free information and itinerary planning;
- Maps and directional information;
- Information and booking services for accommodation and tours;
- Information on attractions, events, retail outlets and local services;
- Information on road conditions and transport options;
- Local knowledge