Aerial view of Port Arthur Historic Site

Port Arthur

Port Arthur is a peaceful community built on history, survival, and strong kindred spirits. Do not be fooled by our size, as this township and region will leave you in wonderment.

What lies within our boundaries, are some of the most breathtaking landscapes you will ever see. Immerse yourself in everything that Port Arthur has to offer. 

The land, its natural resources and abundant waters at Port Arthur was utilised by the Pydarereme people of the Paredareme language group for thousands of years. Nowadays, Port Arthur is more famous as the secondary penal station after the Europeans arrived in the region. It is named after George Arthur, lieutenant governor of Van Diemen’s Land. The settlement started as a timber station in 1830 and has thrived ever since.

A small town with a population of just 251 people, Port Arthur is a strongly bonded community, built on adversity and strength. Come with me as we start our escape into one of the most picturesque and culturally significant towns, Tasmania has to offer – Port Arthur.

Cape Huay

Credit: Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service

Classic and negroni

Credit: McHenry Distillery


Credit: Paul Hoelen

Shipstern Bluff

Credit: Tourism Australia & Samuel Shelley

Tessellated pavement

Credit: Luke Tscharke

Port Arthur Historic Site

Credit: Alastair Bett

Port Arthur is located on the Tasman Peninsula, which is about 90 kilometres southeast of Hobart. It takes about an hour and half to drive here from Hobart via Arthur Hwy/A9, or 3 hours to drive from Launceston via National Highway 1 and Arthur Highway/A9. If you are arriving in Devonport on the Spirit of Tasmania, add an extra 50 minutes’ drive from Devonport to Launceston before arriving here.

Immerse yourself in its tranquillity and splendour and all it has to offer.  History is in abundance here.

The World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site is one of the must-see destinations in Tasmania. If history is your cup of tea, be sure to go further to explore the lesser known but just as significant Coal Mine Historic Site. Beyond that, you can see and even walk on top of the highest vertical sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere. Dramatic coastlines of caves and towering sea stacks, can be explored both by cruising with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys' Tasman Island Cruise or by Osborne Heli-Tours. It's your choice. Encounter wildlife at Tasmania's only Unzoo, where you are being observed by the wildlife that roams the bushland freely. Sunsets, sunrises your explorations are endless.

After all this exploring and mesmerising splendour, sit back and enjoy some local cuisine. If you are a seafood lover, then be sure to stop by Blue Lagoon in Dunalley to pick up some freshly locally farmed oysters. Try the truly Tasmanian fish and chips from the Port Arthur Lavender Farm. And of course, a Lavender Indulgence ice-cream with a bit of everything as your desert. Not forgetting a drop of the world award-winning sloe gin from McHenry Distillery. If you're an art lover, then add the Pear Shed Gallery to your list. Have your morning or afternoon tea in the pear orchard whilst appreciating the amazing artwork produced by local artisans and artists. After experiencing the natural and historic beauty of the region, you will certainly appreciate why the Port Arthur locals are so talented. Port Arthur is filled with such an array for all travellers alike. We hope that when you leave us, a little piece of our grandeur will go with you.

Port Arthur itineraries.

Target market: Young couples and families

For young couples and families who are stressed by modern technology and busy city lives, Port Arthur is truly a natural escape. In just 90 minutes’ drive from Hobart, there is as much, or as little, as you would like to do in Port Arthur and the surrounding region.

Discover more

Head back to our Tassie's Top Tourism Town page to explore more of our great entries in this year's search for top honours.