Port Arthur

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Located at the south-eastern tip of Tasmania, Port Arthur offers a unique and memorable cruising experience. Dramatic coastline and sea cliffs lead to our beautiful, safe and sheltered deep-water anchorage, offering easy access to the Historic Site.

Port Arthur is the best-preserved convict settlement in Australia and among the most significant convict-era sites in the world. The Site spreads over 40 hectares (100 acres) and contains more than 30 historic buildings and ruins.

Some of the shingle-roofed buildings were substantially destroyed in bushfires in the late nineteenth century; their ruins give the place an appropriately eerie countenance.

Boulevards of towering oaks and English elms along with expanses of verdant lawns soften the view. Convict era gardens have been meticulously reinstated following extensive archaeological study and historical research.

Port Arthur is located on a tranquil harbour and surrounded by hills of dense native forest. The beauty belies the stark reality - that this was a place of much brutality.

Between 1830 and 1877 about 12,500 sentences were served by convicts at Port Arthur. One in seven convicts died. Despite the brutality, a range of industry flourished.

A thousand loaves of bread were baked every day, nails were hand made and more than one hundred boats and ships were constructed at Port Arthur’s dockyard.

The Port Arthur Historic Site is a place of incredible stories. Created with convict labour, the impressive architecture, delightful gardens, dockyard and chilling prison facilities survive today for you to explore.

  • 40 hectares and over 30 historic buildings, ruins, Dockyard and gardens, including fully restored and furnished houses
  • Interactive experiences in the Visitor Centre, featuring the Lottery of Life, as well as a Museum and Convict Study Centre
  • 40 minute guided Introduction to Port Arthur walking
  • 20 minute Harbour Cruise aboard the MV Marana
  • Shuttle buggy service for people with restricted mobility
  • Experience the sounds of past industry at the Port Arthur Dockyard
     

Guided tours of the Historic Site and other shore activities can be tailored to suit schedules and budgets. Access to shore operators for tours of the region is easily organised. The Site’s cafes and restaurants offer quality dining and hospitality options.

Guide books are available in English, French, Spanish, German, Chinese and Japanese, and interpreters are welcome and accommodated on guided tours.

 

Isle of the Dead Cemetery Tour

  • The Isle of the Dead is a small island located in the harbour off Port Arthur. Between 1833 and 1877, around one thousand burials took place there
  • Cruise to the island and join a guided walking tour to discover a different aspect Port Arthur's history. This tour offers a fascinating insight into the lives of the people who lived and died at Port Arthur
  • The walking tour lasts approximately 40 minutes but allow an hour to include the ferry trip there and back
  • Tours depart daily except Christmas Day
  • This tour is not recommended for people with restricted mobility

 

Point Puer Boys’ Prison Tour

  • 3,000 boys, some as young as nine years old, were sentenced to the Point Puer Boys’ Prison between 1834 and 1849
  • Located across the harbour from Port Arthur, it was the first reformatory built exclusively for juvenile male convicts in the British Empire and renowned for its regime of stern discipline and harsh punishment
  • The walking tour lasts approximately 90 minutes, but allow two hours to include the ferry trip there and back
  • Tours depart daily (except August & Christmas Day)
  • This tour is not recommended for people with restricted mobility

 

Behind The Scenes

  • Gain access to areas of the Site not generally open to the public
  • See significant historic artefacts currently not exhibited
  • Visit some of our large scale conservation projects including the Penitentiary and Separate Prison
  • The walking tour lasts 2.5 hours
  • This tour is not wheelchair accessible

 

Convict To Coalface

  • Experience both Port Arthur Historic Site and the Coalmines Historic Site
  • With a guide, explore the ruins of houses, barracks and underground cells of those who lived and worked at the Coal Mines
  • Port Arthur Historic Site Introductory Tour and Harbour Cruise
  • Tour duration is 4 hours included coach transfers between Port Arthur and Coalmines Historic Sites
  • This tour is not wheelchair accessible

 

Homes Away From Home

  • A guided tour through the homes of some of Port Arthur’s most notable and notorious personalities
  • Hear tales of how the who’s who of this infamous penal settlement spent their days and evenings
  • The walking tour lasts 2.5 hours
  • This tour is not wheelchair accessible

 

Ghost Tours

  • Ghost Tours are where a hidden side of Port Arthur’s past emerges. Hear vivid stories of strange occurrences that baffled and alarmed convicts, free people and soldiers that continue to mystify visitors to Port Arthur today
  • Daytime and Evening Ghost Tours are available
  • The walking tour lasts approximately 90 minute
  • This tour is not wheelchair accessible

 

Private Guided Tour

  • A personalised tour of Port Arthur’s most significant buildings and ruins
  • Highlights include The Commandant’s House, Separate Prison, Convict Church and Penitentiary
  • The walking tour lasts 2 hours
  • This tour is not wheelchair accessible

 

Further afield

The Tasman Peninsula is one of Tasmania’s most dramatic and scenic areas and offers a wide range of tourism attractions and experiences that can easily be included unique Shore Excursions. 

For Customs and Immigration information please contact the Shipping Agent.

Approach

Arrival Departure Restrictions: Nil

Tidal Variation: Generally to 1.2m on Spring tides, see Parsons Bay/ Pirates Bay.

Prevailing Currents: Ebb/ Flood to 0.5kt, subject to tide.

Prevailing Winds: Typically N, NW, W, SW, S subject to F4-F6, gusts to F8, subject to passing frontal systems.

Length of Channel: PBG to Outer Anchorage: 3.5 nm.

Depth of Channel: Least width: 0.8 nm.

Comments: Vessels > 190m utilise the Outer Anchorage. Outer Anchorage is 0.9 nm to the dedicated tender landing. Vessel tenders are utilised for guest transfer. Tender landing is within the Port Arthur Historic Site Precinct. For vessel < 190m closer anchorage may be available.

Depth and breadth of turning basin/ anchorage

Location of Outer Anchorage: Lat: 43 deg 08.55 min S, Long: 147 deg 52.45 min E

Diameter: Outer Anchorage diameter: 0.42 nm.

Depth: 30m. Least depth at extremity of swing: 15.0m. Bottom Quality: Mud/ sand/ shells.

Pilotage

Pilotage Name: Hobart VTS

Pilotage Address: Tasmanian Ports Corporation Pty Ltd, Attn: Hobart Pilots, G.P.O. Box 202 Hobart TAS 7001 or Port Control Building, 18 Hunter St, Hobart, 7001

Pilotage Phone No: 61 3 6380 3013 or 61 3 6380 3075

Pilotage Fax No: 61 3 62346116

Pilotage Email: Radio.Room@Tasports.com.au

Is Pilotage Compulsory: Yes

Position of Pilot Pickup: Port Arthur is serviced by Pilots based in Hobart. The Pilot will board either prior to Port Entry OPL Port Arthur via pilot boat, otherwise at prior Tasmanian/Mainland Ports and travel with vessel.

Pilot VHF Channel: VHF Ch 12: Port Listening/ Calling; VHF Ch 8: Primary Pilotage; VHF Ch 6: Secondary Pilotage.

Call: Port Arthur Pilot/ or Hobart VTS.

Description of Pilot Boat: Vessel name: Paringa; Call sign VHN7201. Black hull, International orange cabin, GRP, LOA: 13.2m. AIS B fitted. Boarding speed 7kts.

Pilot Hours: 24 hours

Pilotage Fees: As per Tasports’ Schedule of Port Charges www.tasports.com.au

Customs and Immigration

For Customs and Immigration information please contact the Shipping Agent.

Shipping Agents:

For details on Shipping Agents please contact Tasmanain Ports Corporation.

See Port Approach information.

For information on operations and services, please contact the:

Booking & Promotions Officer - Port Arthur

Phone: 0362512353
Email: lydia.hantke@portarthur.org.au

Tourism operators in Tasmania: