Port Arthur Things to Do

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Best Rated Things to Do in Port Arthur

  • saraheg77's Profile Photo

    It's REMARKABLE!

    by saraheg77 Written May 31, 2006

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    Remarkable Cave!

    Before or after your visit to Port Arthur Historic Site, it is worth it to stop at Remarkable Cave. It is only about 6kms beyond the historic site. There is a short walk down a trail with lots of steps to a little platform where you can watch and listen to the waves come in through the cave. It was rather mesmerizing to stand and listen. Rest up before you head back up because there are a lot of steps going back up. But don't worry, you can stop a few spots along the way back up and look out at the beautiful coastline. :) I'm sure it will have you saying 'That was REMARKABLE!' :)

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    Don't Miss the Port Arthur Historic Site!

    by saraheg77 Written Jun 1, 2006

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    Sarah in Leg Irons at the Museum
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    I have been to the site twice now and thoroughly enjoyed it... and I still haven't explored everything! The penal settlement began as a timber station 1830 and was the site of many industries over the years convicts lived there until 1877. In the early 1900's it was already becoming quite a tourist attraction and that has been the pull to the region ever since.

    The current site has a visitor centre that opens at 8:30am and stays open until the close of the ghost tours every night, but most of the buildings on the site close at 5pm, so I recommend getting there early!

    The main entry fee is valid for 2 days and includes:

    Introductory Guided Walking Tour, Harbour Cruise, Interpretation Gallery & Access to more than 30 buildings, ruins and restored houses on the Site
    Fees
    Adult - $ 25.00
    Child (4-17) - $ 11.00
    Family - $ 55.00 (2 adults & up to 6 children)
    Concession - $ 20.00

    The interpretation gallery in the bottom floor of the visitor centre is fun and interactive and takes awhile to explore before you even get out in to the site! They schedule you times for the 30 min cruise that takes you around the Isle of the Dead and the island that was the site of the boys prison, but doesn't stop at either island. There are optional tours that do. They also schedule your time for the guided walk that is interesting info - you don't go inside buildings during this tour, but can explore those at your own pace. There are ruins of the church, the solitary prison, the military barracks, the actual prison, the hospital, and various other buildings. There are also fairly in tact buildings such as the commandant's house that is still furnished like it was at the time.

    There are cafes at the visitor centre and also the museum where the asylum used to be. I really enjoyed the experience because of all the history and just the beauty of the location. Just be sure to plan at least 6 hours there. We have only made it about lunchtime and I didn't get to see everything!

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  • ATXtraveler's Profile Photo

    Its Remarkable!

    by ATXtraveler Written Sep 4, 2005

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    Remarkable Cave

    Remarkable Cave is a natural wonder located just to the south of Port Arthur. Located on the tip of the Tasman Pennisula, this cave has a viewing platform to watch the tides come in, and creates a really interesting natural phenomenon.

    The water has eroded portions of the cliff, and is slowly smoothing out the rocks. It was truly remarkable to listen to the rocks getting slammed with the tide, and then the water slowly eroding back and moving these large rocks.

    The cave is actually located right near the carpark, but there are about 110 steps down to the cave. It took roughly 15 minutes to walk down, enjoy the cave and make it back up!

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    The ReMarkable Cave

    by Wisxox Written Jun 3, 2006

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    Remarkable Cave
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    Besides the prison in Port Arthur, there is also some beautifully sculpted coast line to view including this remarkable cave cut from the rocks by the poindidng surf. Once you get to the car park it is a short 5 min walk down some wooden steps to see the cave. Make sure and go at high tide as the surf will be flowing underneath the viewing stand. Well worth a look.

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  • kooka3's Profile Photo

    Isle of the Dead

    by kooka3 Written Jan 31, 2005

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    For something a little different, take the tour out to the Isle of the Dead which is right off shore. You can see it from the colony, but being on it is pretty awe-inspiring and also gives you a different view of the buildings on the colony.

    About 1,000 people were buried on the island in the mid-1800s. Many were convicts, but there were free people buried there, too. They are on the higher part of the island, and their headstones were often carved by convicts.

    The tour takes about 30 minutes, and is well worth the time.

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    Port Arthur Historic Site.

    by a5floor Updated Jan 27, 2007

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    Port Arthur Historic Site.
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    At the Port Arthur Historic Site you will find the old buildings from a jail. Which are really impressive!! The jail was build in the 1830s.
    In 1996 a young man from Hobart woke up one day and decided to take a gun and shoot people on his way. He also went to Port Arthur Historic Site. Up here he killed about 20 people. On the site of Port Arthur you will find a memoral for the people who got killed. Be aware (when you are visiting Port Arthur) that the people up there don't like to talk about this shooting. Please give the people of Port Arthur their respect.

    Faxnumber +61-(0)3-6251-2311
    Email for bookings: bookings@portarthur.org.au
    portarth@tasvisinfor.com.au
    www.portarthur-region.com.au

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    VISIT PORT ARTHUR

    by balhannah Written Jan 7, 2010

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    Part of Port Arthur

    This is a MUST DO if you are in Hobart and have time.

    First of all, to get here............It is a nice drive of approx 1.5hours from Hobart along the Tasman and Arthur Highways that form part of the Convict Trail Touring Route. Sea views, pretty farmlands and little villages, vineyards and a little town named "Doo Town" where it is interesting reading the creative titles of the neighbourhood homes.

    No car.......No problem!......
    A regular bus service operated by Tassie Link connects Hobart with Port Arthur. For details, phone 1300 300 520.

    Port Arthur Historic Site is open every day from 8.30am until dusk, with the Visitor Centre open from 8.30am until the close of Historic Ghost tours at night. Restored buildings are open at various times between 9am & 5pm.

    There are various passes available, so here are the prices for some (2010 prices)

    The BRONZE PASS, which is the one we bought as we only had a day to spend here. This was our 2nd visit to Port Arthur. The pass gave access to more than thirty historic buildings, ruins and gardens, an Introduction to Port Arthur walking tour, Harbour cruise

    $28 adult in 2010

    The SILVER PASS Has as an extra EITHER Isle of the Dead Cemetery Tour OR Point Puer Boys' Prison Tour, Audio Tour and Lunch.

    $66 adult in 2010

    There is a gold pass which includes more and costs $98 plus..............

    An AFTER DARK EXPERIENCE!
    Which includes a Two-course meal at Felons Bistro and a Historic Ghost Tour...costs $57adult.

    After dark & Ghost tours both start at 8.45pm & 9.30pm nightly.

    You can ring and book on the number below.....
    1800 659 101 (a free call from within Australia), +61 3 6251 2313

    You need to allow quite a bit of time, probably a day at least, perhaps if doing the night tours, it might be best to stay nearby.

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    HARBOUR CRUISE - PORT ARTHUR

    by balhannah Updated Jan 8, 2010

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    The 20 minute harbour cruise aboard a catamaran is included in the admission price, and should not be missed!

    We enjoyed this informative cruise, as it was on here that we learnt about the boys prison of Point Puer.............
    The juvenile convicts, were as young as nine, arrested for stealing toys and sent out to Australia. The boys were separated from the main convict population and kept on Point Puer, the British Empire's first boys' prison.
    Like the adults, the boys were used in hard labour such as stone cutting and construction, what a hard life they had.......
    and .......

    The Isle of the Dead.
    Here, hundreds of convicts and ex-convict paupers were interred in mass graves, while the resting places of the 180 "free settlers" who died at Port Arthur are located on the upper part of the Island. Their elaborate headstones were done by convict stonemasons.

    The cruise gave us stunning views of the complete site, passing the Dockyard area where boats were built and repaired.

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    THE 'CHURCH'

    by balhannah Updated Jan 8, 2010

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    I think this is one of the most beautiful buildings at Port Arthur, it probably is one of the most photographed!

    Built in 1836/37 by convict builders in a gothic style, it is set on a hill overlooking the convict settlement. Quite large, it was never consecrated due to its usage by a number of different denominations.
    Attendance of the weekly Sunday service was compulsory for the prison population

    Standing throughout the convict period, the church was destroyed in an 1884 fire and has since been restored.
    I have seen it before and after restoration!

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  • a5floor's Profile Photo

    Port Arthur Ghost Tour.

    by a5floor Written Dec 25, 2006

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    Port Arthur Ghost Tour

    When you are in Port Arthur, you should do a Ghost Tour. You will go through a part of the Historic Site. The guide will tell you a story about the Ghosts. The tour will last about 1,5 hours. Several tours are there every evening.

    If you want to do a Ghost Tour, it is essential that you book in advance as it is popular to do such tours.

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  • kooka3's Profile Photo

    The Church

    by kooka3 Written Jan 30, 2005

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    Ruins of the church

    This was one of my favorite buildings on the site. It sits on the west side of the settlement on a hill overlooking the rest of the buildings. It was built to hold over 1000 people, and was a non-denominational church because of the varied religions of the prisoners. It was built in the mid 1830s by the convicts themselves.

    Related to:
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  • kooka3's Profile Photo

    Take a ghost tour

    by kooka3 Updated Jan 31, 2005

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    Every night, guides offer a ghost tour of the colonie. It's really spectacular. Even if you are a non-believer in the supernatural stuff, it's a different way to see a bunch of the buildings. You go into several houses, the jails, and church -- which you can see during the day, of course, but it gives you a whole different feel in the dark. The story telling and the atmosphere of the Port Arthur Historic Site at night-time creates a fantastic experience.

    The tour starts at the Visitors Centre and lasts about an hour and a half. They always run - they brag about the fact that they've never cancelled one. Therefore, wear good clothes, including a raincoat if necessary. They don't allow umbrellas because they say it's a safety hazard.

    These tours are SO popular - they are almost always full - they do limit tours to 30 people. Make sure you book ahead either at the visitor centre or by calling 1 800 659 101. You usually don't need to book more than a day ahead (even book the morning of the tour), but if you want to be sure, call several days ahead!

    In the winter months, there are tours at 6:30 and 8:30. The summer, the tours are at 8:45, 9:00, 9:15 and 9:30. Sometimes they'll have more if there is enough demand.

    Related to:
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  • kooka3's Profile Photo

    This probably goes without saying . . .

    by kooka3 Written Jul 22, 2003

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    Check out as many of the buildings as you can.

    The jail cells are amazing. It gives you a feel for what they went through.

    See the church. You can stand in the "pews" that the prisoners were put into - basically large shoulder-height boxes big enough for them to stand in. They were locked into them during services.

    Every building is worth seeing. Take the time to see them all.

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  • ATXtraveler's Profile Photo

    The Reason You Came

    by ATXtraveler Written Apr 20, 2008

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    Port Arthur National Historic Site is the former location of the Port Arthur Prison. There are many layers of history to this site, all of which were beautifully presented by our tour guide. The history of Port Arthur as a prison really started in the 1780s with the independence of the United States. Prior to this time, England had been sending prisoners to America to ease the over crowding of the small island. For prisoners, Port Arthur was created to be a "hell on Earth", and considering the isolation and distance from England, this was pretty well accomplished. Geographically, this prison was as isolated as could be from not only Australia, but the rest of the world.

    As the rest of Australia prospered as a penal colony, other establishments held first time offenders, and Port Arthur became infamous for its worst of the worst criminal offenders. As the years passed on, the prison moved from simply being a convict's hell to an insane asylum where convicted criminals who were truly insane were sent. Within the establishment, there is a "prison within a prison" for the criminally insane here.

    Without sharing all the detail of this facility, I can just say that I would highly recommend this site if you are looking at visiting Tasmania, as any visit to Tassie without seeing Port Arthur would not be nearly as significant.

    Port Arthur Historic Site is open every day. The grounds and ruins are open from 8.30am until dusk.

    The Visitor Centre is open from 8.30am until the close of Historic Ghost tours at night.

    Tours operate and restored buildings are open at various times between 9am & 5pm.

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    Isle of the Dead

    by ATXtraveler Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Within the Port Arthur Historic Site is a small island, known as the Isle of the Dead. This place is also known to some as Opossum Island, but was renamed when the island was converted into a burial ground for the convicts that passed away in Port Arthur. This little island is home to the final resting place of over 1000 people.

    It is an interesting cruise that is worth the trip, as the tour guide gives you alot of history of not only the island, but the whole facility while travelling on the boat out to the island.

    What was most interesting to me is the way the convicts were buried in unmarked graves by the water, while the free people who worked and lived in this area were also buried here with tombstones at the top of the island.

    This tour is quite a bit more expensive than the shorter harbour cruise which takes you around the island and is informative but does not drop you off at the island.

    The harbour cruise is included in the price of your Port Arthur admission (currently $28AUD) where the tour is $66AUD.

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