A troubled past in a spectacular setting
This small village is known best for its nearby neighbour, Port Arthur Historic Site, once home to more than 1000 of Tasmania’s most notorious convicts. As one of the island’s most popular tourist destinations, visiting this well-preserved penal colony is a must. Wander the old buildings, venture out to the Isle of the Dead Cemetery, explore Point Puer Boys’ Prison or wait for nightfall and take a lantern-lit ghost tour.
What many visitors find, is despite the harsh and chilling history of these parts, the surrounds are fiercely beautiful. Head just beyond the Historic Site and you’ll see a turn off for Remarkable Cave. Take a peek through this geological tunnel and you might just spot a local surfer or two tackling the turbulent swell.
About 20 kilometers from Port Arthur is another World Heritage-listed icon, the Coal Mines Historic Site. This is where repeat-offending convicts were sent to work underground, extracting coal. Often far more quiet than the main Historic Site, this is an ideal picnic location, once again offering beautiful surrounds that sharply contrast the convict past.
Just nearby is Lime Bay State Reserve. For those who enjoy relaxed coastal bushwalking, the sandy trek out to Lagoon Beach takes around 2.5 hours return and often rewards with rare birds. If you’re staying in Port Arthur, another striking destination is Crescent Bay. This beautiful white-curving bay is backed by sand dunes and invites those who feel energetic to climb Mount Brown at the southern end of the bay.
Highlights not to miss