Plan My Visit
Watch this short video before you visit to help plan your day and get the most of your time at Port Arthur Historic Site.
The Port Arthur Historic Site is open from 9:00am until 5:00pm (closed Christmas Day).
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.
If you arrive from 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 you choose the Great Eastern Drive or the Midland Highway, there are plenty of activities, natural scenery and great locally produced food to fit in your 4 to 5 hour journey. Don’t forget, from now until the end of June 2021, you can bring your car on Spirit of Tasmania for free. For full details and terms and conditions please visit the Spirit of Tasmania website.
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.
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.
There are electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at selected locations between Hobart and the Tasman Peninsula, including Tesla detination chargers (open for all EVs) at the Lufra hotel at Eaglehawk Neck and McHenry Distillery at Port Arthur. Click here for 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 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 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.
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, our Isle of the Dead tour includes rough or uneven terrain and is not recommended for people with mobility restrictions.
Disabled parking spaces are located adjacent to the Visitor Centre entrance.
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.
Currently due to international border closures, our tours are conducted only in English. We apologise for any inconvenience.
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
DiningFind Out More
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 1830 Restaurant & Bar. Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, halal and other dietary options are available upon request.
With sweeping views of the Penitentiary, gardens and grounds, 1830 Restaurant & Bar 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, whiskies and spirits
1830 Restaurant & Bar is open for dinner from 5pm Wednesday – Saturday. Lunch is available on Sundays from 12:00pm to 3:00pm.
Port Arthur Café
Our 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 in-house using local ingredients. If you’re in a hurry to explore, pick up a pack of tasty sandwiches for a picnic in the garden; 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. Café is open daily for breakfast from 9:00am and lunch until 3:00pm.
Museum Coffee Shop
Located across the site in the Asylum/Town Hall building, our Museum Coffee Shop offers the perfect rest stop after your guided tour to recharge with a coffee and cake. Quick grab and go sandwiches, pies and a selection of drinks are available for you to enjoy inside or in the courtyard. Our Museum Coffee Shop is fully licensed, public toilets are easily accessible from the courtyard. The Museum Coffee Shop is currently closed, but will be opening again in summer 2023.
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 the 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 wishing 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, turakanna/Tasman Peninsula is one of Tasmania’s most beautiful and sought after holiday destinations. Unlock what the region has to offer at www.tasmanunlocked.com.au.
The Tasman Peninsula offers a huge variety of sightseeing options. Visit the World Heritage-listed Coal Mines Historic Site along the Convict Trail for 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 wildlife cruise for a different perspective and encounter wonderful marine life, or take a helicopter tour for a birds eye view. Visit our local producers to taste delicacies ranging from artisan gin, whisky and vodka to lavender ice cream and honey farms.
There is certainly a lot to take in and explore, which is why Port Arthur site entry tickets are valid for two consecutive days. There are plenty of accommodation choices close by – from charming, convict-era cottages to caravan parks, stargazing tents to private beach retreats and spa cabins.
For more ideas and options visit the Tasman Unlocked.