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The Port Arthur Historical Site is a must-visit area for those interested in the history of Australia, while the scenic location offers plenty of gorgeous views for those that enjoy sightseeing. The site runs across 100 acres and is home to over 30 historical buildings and ruins, offering visitors a peak into Tasmania’s past. While traveling to Port Arthur was once punishment, as it was a jail used to house criminals, visiting it today is sure to be a fantastic holiday for you and your family.

The Best Things to See & Do at the Port Arthur Historical Site

Drive Along the Arthur Highway

While there are plenty of great sights to see at Port Arthur itself, travelling to the area is just as lovely. The Port Arthur Historical Site is a 90-minute drive from Hobart, and driving along the Arthur Highway takes you through beautiful farmland and rainforests. Those who love the sea will also be treated to several countless beaches, as well as the Tasman Peninsula’s mesmerising coastline. Travel early to allow time for several pitstops along the way, as famous locations like the natural bridge of the Tasman Arch and the tessellated pavement of Eaglehawk Neck are well worth exploring.

Go to Jail (For the Day)

The historical site is home to a large prison from the 19th century, where prisoners were sent to spend the rest of their days performing back-breaking labour. While its use as a detainment facility is long past, the site still features relics of this time. Those interested in learning about the country’s history should take a day trip to the Port Arthur Historical Site, where an experienced guide walks you through history as you explore several of the site’s attractions.

Take a Hike

Once you have broken free from the confines of the Port Arthur prison, plan your escape along one of the beautiful hiking trails that caress the coast. Those looking for an Instagram-worthy snapshot of their holiday should visit the nearby Pirate’s Bay Lookout, which offers stunning views of the area’s cliffs and the beautiful blue water of the ocean. Pack a picnic and spend the day relaxing and taking in the breathtaking sights of nature.

See the Animals at the Unzoo

While the prison is the main attraction of the Port Arthur Historical Site, the nearby area offers plenty of other attractions for the whole family. Animal lovers or those with children should visit the Unzoo, which revolutionises the concept of a zoo by featuring wild animals instead of captive ones. The Unzoo is also the home of the Tasmanian Devils, with guests able to get up close and personal with the cute little critters courtesy of protective glass spheres.

Explore the Remarkable Cave

Located close to the historical site, the Remarkable Cave offers a peak at the wonderful designs of nature. The cave has two entrances on the ocean-side for visitors to enter during low-tide, where you can explore the inside of the cave and see the stunning natural architecture firsthand. The cave is still worth visiting during high tide, as the surrounding walkways offer a peak at the ruggedly beautiful exteriors, with the cave’s opening shaped like Tasmania.

Indulge Your Sweet Tooth

Port Arthur is famous for its local chocolate shops, with many sweet sellers occupying the area. Chocoholics should visit the Tasmanian Chocolate Foundry, which is nestled in the heart of the Tasman Peninsula. They have everything from hand forged chocolate to delicious ice cream, allowing you to snack on your sweets straight away or take some home for friends and family. Those craving something less sugary will find plenty of oyster shacks in the area, where the seafood can be savoured with a nice glass of local wine.