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The Top Things to do in Port Arthur

Conveniently located between both Hobart and Launceston, Port Arthur is the beholder of some very dark secrets in Australia’s convict past, making it an intriguing getaway packed full of mystery and history. Travellers can visit the Port Arthur Historic Site on day tours, scenic helicopter flights and even through spooky ghost tours and paranormal investigations. Uncover a piece of history during these immersive historical experiences whilst getting to know a well preserved penal colony and one of Australia’s oldest cities.

Top 10 Things to do in Port Arthur

Author
Experience Oz Staff
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We break down what we feel are some of the best – and best value – attractions in some of the most popular locations throughout Australia and New Zealand. Here, we look at the top 5 attractions and experiences in Port Arthur and its surrounding areas.

The below places have been selected based on a number of criteria such as value for money, quality of attraction and popularity and all receive rave reviews from numerous travel sites as well as visitors. Here’s the list:

1. Port Arthur Historical Site

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Location: Port Arthur Historic Site, Arthur Highway, Port Arthur

Explore one of Australia’s most iconic sites, the Port Arthur Historic Site on the Tasman Peninsula.

One of the country’s most intact convict sites, this is a must-see for anyone planning a trip to Tasmania. Set on 40-hectares of land, the site is made up over more than 30 different buildings, ruins and restored period homes.

Described as Tasmania’s ‘inescapable prison’ this site was a nightmare for convicts planning an escape.

Separated from Tasmania by a narrow piece of land, surrounded by water home to a large population of sharks and guards and hounds posted on the only way in or out, there was no really no way to escape safely.

Set on 40-hectares of land, the site is made up over more than 30 different buildings, ruins and restored period homes.

What once held over 1000 convicts, the grounds are now beautifully landscaped with Victorian Gardens, making for an enjoyable and peaceful day exploring the grounds.

Ensure you allow plenty of time to explore the grounds if you are wandering around yourself, however if you’re on an organised tour you will be shown all of the most significant and important sites on the grounds.

2. Port Arthur Ghost Tour

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Location: Port Arthur Historic Site, Arthur Highway, Port Arthur

Follow an experienced guide through the ghostly scenes of the Port Arthur Historic Site by night. Led by lantern, you’ll walk through the grounds, seeing them in a different, eerie light.

Find out for yourself if all of those stories are true or just fabrications as your guide shares tales of past inmates. Let the silence linger and lantern burn bright as your attention gets swept away in the scene at hand, making those that have been gone a long time, seem closer than ever.

As you wander around the ruins and buildings by night you will hear some tales of legends and historical occurrences that have taken place in the exact area you’re exploring.

Led by lantern, you’ll walk through the grounds, seeing them in a different, eerie light.

The perfect way to experience this World Heritage listed site, you will experience the darker side of the Port Arthur Historic Site with more than 180 years of stories.

Following the slogan, ‘day time – history; night time – mystery,’ this is a different tour experience that you’ll want to see with your own eyes.

The Port Arthur Historic Site is one of the country’s most unique and identifiable environments filled with immense history and character.

3. Tasmanian Devil Unzoo

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Location: 5990 Arthur Highway, Taranna

The world’s first Unzoo, Tasmanian Devil Unzoo is unlike any animal encounter and experience you have had before.

A four-in-one nature experience combining encounters, adventures, flora and art, this is an experience unlike any other.

Unlike a zoo that displays animals in cages or enclosures, the Unzoo is a place where the public can learn about the wild animals, plants and ecosystems by interacting with them in their natural habitats.

This type of environment is a lot kinder to the animals, giving them more dignity and freedom to go about their day in the comfort of their own natural habitat.

A visit to the Unzoo will give you a personal, memorable encounter with some of the rarest flora and fauna found only in Tasmania.

By visiting the Unzoo you will be helping save the endangered Tasmanian Devils who are sadly facing extinction.

The Devil Tracker Tours give visitors a unique opportunity to go behind-the-scenes of the research effort to save the last isolated, disease-free wild population of Tassie Devils.

Aboard a four-wheel-drive, your tour guide with take you through native bushland for insight into the tracking and monitoring system in place for these cute, yet dangerous animals.

You will be given the chance to help monitor the progress of the healthy devils living in the wild by observing their activity from their high-tech cameras.

Visitors are also given the chance to go face-to-face with these devilish creatures with the innovative Devil Den – a glass dome emerging from the ground to confront these creatures’ head on.

A four-in-one nature experience combining encounters, adventures, flora and art, this is an experience unlike any other.

The Tasmanian Devil Unzoo also has a range of birds showcased in their Birds of the Bush presentation where you can learn about the Galahs, Rosellas, Corellas and Tawny Frogmouths while also having the chance to hand-feed some wild parrots and honeyeaters.

Spread over 10-hectares, what was once a farm has been transformed into the gorgeous Tasmanian Native Botanic Garden and wildlife habitat.

With more species of plants than the British Isles, there is estimated to be over 200 different species growing in the Unzoo.

You could spend hours wandering around the grounds and learning about all of the different flora and fauna species that call the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo home.

A must-see for wildlife and nature enthusiasts as well as those who wish to learn more about Tasmania’s natural dwellers.

4. Port Arthur Lavender

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Location: 6555 Port Arthur Highway, Port Arthur, TAS

Visit the fragrant lavender fields and immerse yourself in the aromatic landscape and products on offer.

Spread over 18-acres of land, the lavender fields are planted around rainforest and lakes that overlook the picturesque Long Bay.

This family-owned farm grows, harvests and processes over 16,000 lavender plants every year at their two locations; Port Arthur and Pawleena.

Selling a range of handmade products that make the perfect, unique gift for those at home.

You can embark on a self-guided tour around the Tasmanian lavender fields to learn all you need to know about these fragrant paddocks.

You will also be given the chance to explore the farm’s custom-made lavender distillery to experience the process the lavender goes through.

Spread over 18-acres of land, the lavender fields are planted around rainforest and lakes that overlooking the picturesque Long Bay.

After you’ve explored the area by foot, take a seat at their popular café to enjoy a meal looking over the beautiful ocean. Selling a range of dishes as well as lavender infused treats such as ice cream, milkshakes, hot chocolate and fudge.

Entry is into the lavender fields is free and is open seven days a week. From 10am until 4pm you can wander around the beautiful grounds and enjoy a bite to eat at the café. During January and February, the café serves meals until 8pm.

5. Remarkable Cave

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Location: 446 Safety Cove Road, Port Arthur, TAS

Explore Remarkable Cave, a long tunnel formed from an eroded collapsed gully base, located under a cliff and running out to sea.

Walk amongst the rock walls as the waves crash through the tunnel and sea mist is sprayed into the air.

The cave makes for one of the best photographs in Port Arthur with the metal viewing platform providing great views above the gully.

Walk amongst the rock walls as the waves crash through the tunnel and sea mist is sprayed into the air.

If the weather or seas are quite rough you will be treated to quite a show as the water rushes in and quickly fills all of the space of the cave before escaping back out, only to do it all again.

If your visit falls in summer or on a low tide, you can access the cave via the seaside entrance, however it is important to take all safety precautions when exploring the area.