Port Arthur and the
Tasman Peninsula

Highlights | Accommodation | Road Trip Essentials

© Poon Wai Nang

One of your best Hobart day-trip options, a Tasman Peninsula road trip will bring you face to face with Tasmanian devils, soaring sea cliffs, and the bitter-sweet beauty of Port Arthur. 

See all this and more when you include the Tasman Peninsula in your self-drive Tasmania road trip!

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Whether you are enjoying the full Lap of Tasmania or only have time for a Hobart day trip, a visit to the Tasman Peninsula is a ‘must’ on your Tassie holiday.

It only takes 90 minutes by car from Hobart and it provides a truly unique perspective of Tasmania.

Tasmanian Devils are a huge highlight, and a half-day spent wandering the iconic ruins of Port Arthur Historic Site is essential to fully understand Tasmania’s convict past.

But that’s just the start! Keep reading to find out more…

Highlights of Your Tasman Peninsula Road Trip

There’s plenty of things to see and do on your Tasman Peninsula road trip, and these are some of its highlights!

Eaglehawk Neck

Stop at Eaglehawk Neck beach on your Tasman Peninsula road trip
See Eaglehawk Neck beach on your Tasman Peninsula road trip | 📷: Tourism Tasmania & Andrew McIntosh, Ocean Photography

As you emerge from the tall, sun-dappled forests of the Forestier Peninsula and descend to Eaglehawk Neck, you can understand why this skinny piece of land joining the two peninsulas was so important to the prison guards of Port Arthur. It was the only place where convict escapees could ever hope to find their way to freedom by land!

Visit the Officers Quarters to find out more, then follow the coast exploring the nearby natural wonders of the Tessellated Pavement, Tasman Arch and Devils Kitchen.

Port Arthur Historic Site

Learn about the history of Port Arthur Historic Site on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Port Arthur Historic Site | 📷: Hype TV

It’s hard to comprehend how a place of such beauty could have been Australia’s harshest and most brutal penal settlement. Only the worst of the worst were sent to Port Arthur, and while the conditions were unthinkable you can’t help but admire the stunning harbour, lush green lawns and intricate Georgian architecture throughout the sprawling grounds.

There’s plenty to see and your ticket provides not one but two days to explore the site [buy your Port Arthur tickets here]. Also included in the ticket price is a 25-minute cruise on the harbour and a 40-minute guided walking tour, making this one of the best-value experiences in Tasmania.

For a very different perspective on Port Arthur, there’s also the spine-chilling Port Arthur Ghost Tour. Successfully finish the tour and you’ll even receive a well deserved ‘Certificate of Bravery and Courage’!

Read More: 12 Must-Pack Items for Your Tasmania Holiday

Tasman Peninsula Cruise

Have fund on a Tasman Island Cruise on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Tasman Island Cruise | 📷: Tourism Tasmania & Joe Shemesh

Pennicott Wilderness Journeys have built a name for themselves as providing the best, most eco-friendly tours of Tasmania’s waters. Their 3-hour Tasman Island tour departs morning and afternoon from Port Arthur and is an exciting way of seeing the rugged Tasman Peninsula coastline up close, including the towering cliffs of Cape Hauy, Tasman Island and the surging maelstrom known as the Devil’s Kitchen!

Remarkable Cave

Explore Remarkable Cave on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Remarkable Cave | 📷: Paul Fleming

Hunting for that perfect Insta-pic? Once your Port Arthur adventures are over, keep driving south past the sweeping sands and blue waters of Safety Cove to Maingon Lookout and Remarkable Cave. When you climb down the 130-odd steps you’ll understand the name – it’s an inland beach connected to the sea through a huge tunnel under the cliffs! When the conditions are right and the tides are out you’ll capture a once-in-a-lifetime photo. 

Please take care and observe the water before walking out, as the tunnel can flood when the tides are high.

🤔 Did you know…?

The guard dogs at Eaglehawk Neck didn’t just patrol the coastline, they also sat on special floating pontoons to watch for convict escapees trying to swim to freedom! 🌊🐕

Where to Eat and Drink on the Tasman Peninsula

The Tasman Peninsula is famed for its wild, untamed beauty, but in recent times it has seen a vibrant little foodie scene emerge.

If you love your wine and oysters then Bangor Vineyard Shed is a must. It’s the perfect place to watch the sun go down over Blackman Bay with a glass of bubbles in hand.

Bangor Vineyard Shed
Bangor Vineyard Shed

With so many things to do near Eaglehawk Neck there’s no doubt you’ll work up an appetite. Doo-lishus is a quirky food truck located at the Blow Hole car park and their many satisfied customers rave about their scallop, rabbit and venison pies.

Summer is the best time of year to visit Port Arthur Lavender. With row upon row of vibrant purple flowers you’re guaranteed some amazing photos. We also hear the lavender, fig and marscapone ice cream is delicious.

See Port Arthur Lavender on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Port Arthur Lavender | 📷: Supplied Courtesy of Port Arthur Lavender

Got a sweet tooth? Helen and Maurice are the husband-and-wife team behind Federation Artisan Chocolate and they have a passion for creating delicious chocolate using the finest, ethically sourced ingredients from around the world.

Would you like to visit Australia’s southern-most whisky distillery? The clean air, pure rains and Tasmanian grains used by McHenry Distillery are the secret to their award-winning whiskies and herbacious gins. Perched atop Mt Arthur, visit their cellar door for a tasting or book a hands-on 4-hour gin crafting workshop!

See Tasmanian devils at Unzoo on your Lap of Tasmania road trip
Tasmanian Devil at Unzoo | 📷: Rob Burnett

🤔 Did you know…?

Tasmanian Devil Unzoo was the first conservation park in the world to give people the chance to meet a Tasmanian Devil 👍

Tasman Peninsula Events

Falls Festival

Falls Festival
Falls Festival Marion Bay

There’s no better way of bringing in the New Year than by letting loose at the epic Falls Festival. The set list is always jam-packed with local and international bands, and if you ever need to escape the buzz then Boomer Beach is only a short walk over the dunes. Whether it’s a day or the full 3-day program, ‘Falls’ is always a blast!

  • Where: Marion Bay (check)
  • When: 29-31 December
  • Find out more: Falls Festival – Marion Bay
  • Access: Access to the site is via an unsealed road. Check your rental agreement as some companies prohibit you from driving on unsealed roads.

Bream Creek Farmers Market

Bream Creek Farmers Market
Bream Creek Farmers Market

With a focus on seasonal, fresh, locally grown produce, the Bream Creek Farmers Market is overflowing with baked good, fruit and veg, jams, homemade ginger beers and so much more. Come along on the first Sunday of every month and show your support for Tassie’s micro-producers.

  • Where: Bream Creek
  • When: First Sunday of every month
  • Find out more: Bream Creek Farmer’s Market
  • Access: Access to Bream Creek is via an unsealed road. Check your rental agreement as some companies prohibit you from driving on unsealed roads.

Tasman Regatta and Peninsula Feast

Every January the tiny seaside town of Nubeena holds the Tasman Regatta and Peninsula Feast.

With crab racing, gumboot throwing and even a ‘Kick the footy in the tinny’ competition, this is the best fun you’ll find on either land or sea – and entry is absolutely free!

Tasman Peninsula Accommodation

Whether you’re looking for luxury, great value, or a powered RV site with a view, the Tasman Peninsula has got you covered.

Dunalley

Dunalley is only an hour from Hobart and is a seafood lover’s dream! Flotsam Studio offers two delightful little cabins with terrace views across Sunset Beach.

Enjoy the views of Port Arthur at Stewarts Bay Lodge
Water views at Stewarts Bay Lodge | Port Arthur

Port Arthur

If Port Arthur is the highlight of your Tasman Peninsula road trip then you’ll want to be staying as close as possible. With its treetop views, private beach and waterfront restaurant, Stewarts Bay Lodge is undoubtedly one of the region’s best accommodation options – and it’s literally next door to the Port Arthur historic site.

Port Arthur Villas are another excellent option, offering relaxing and comfortable self-catering accommodation amid sprawling lawns and by the water side.

Nubeena

Looking for something more secluded? Pear Cottage is a wonderful holiday home combining the best of modern comfort and heritage sensibilities. Log fires, claw-foot bath, expansive kitchen for self-catering…it’s got everything you could possibly need for a cosy weekend away.

Camping

If you’re staying in your own campervan or caravan then your best accommodation option on the Tasman Peninsula is NRMA Port Arthur Holiday Park. With an outdoor pizza oven, fire pits, and extensive camp kitchen – not to mention the amazing harbourside views – it’s no wonder they won gold in the 2018 Tourism Tasmania awards!

🤔 Did you know…?

At more than 300m, the sea cliffs of Cape Raoul, Pillar and Hauy are the tallest in the southern hemisphere! 👀

Tasman Peninsula Weather

The Tasman Peninsula enjoys a cool, temperate climate. Summers are cool and mild, while rains are common in winter.

Read More: The Best Time to Visit Tasmania

Summer temperatures range from 13°C at night up to 19°C during the day. In winter you can expect temperatures to range from 8°C up to 12°C.

Tasman Peninsula Road Trip Essentials

Wondering what to pack for Tasmania’s cool climate? To help you out we’ve created a handy Tasmanian road trip packing list. It lists all the most important things you need to take on your road trip, making your road trip planning a breeze.

Get it Here: Tasmania Road Trip Packing List

Read More: Driving Times and Distances in Tasmania

Hobart ⇌ Port Arthur: 100km / 1hr 30 mins (2hr 15mins for campervans)

Port Arthur ⇌ Coles Bay: 240km / 3hr (4hr for campervans)

Port Arthur ⇌ Richmond: 80km / 1hr 15min (1hr 45mins for campervans)

Petrol Stations:

Dodges Ferry, Dunalley, Murdunna, Port Arthur

EV Battery Charging Stations (see PlugShare):

  • Eaglehawk Neck – Lufra Hotel (patrons only) – Tesla
  • McHenry Distillery (customers only) – Tesla

A list of Tasmania’s national parks can be found here: Parks and Wildlife

A valid permit is needed before you can drive into these parks. For more information on the which pass you should buy, click here.

Permits can be purchased online here, from National Park Visitor Centres, Accredited Tasmanian Travel Information Centres, the Spirit of Tasmania, Service Tasmania shops, or by mail/email following these instructions.

Discounts are available for Seniors.

For Tasmania Police emergency road closure alerts click here.

The Tasman Peninsula is covered in dense forests, making it a haven for nocturnal wildlife. Keep your eyes open at all times – especially dusk and dawn – for wallabies, Tasmanian devils or possums on the roads.

On the Arthur Highway between Sorell and Port Arthur there are many long single-lane sections where overtaking is either difficult or not permitted. If you’re holding up traffic and you come to one of the few double-lane sections, please be considerate to your fellow travellers and allow them to overtake. Frustrations on the road will jeopardise the safety of everyone.

You will also encounter some sections where there is a ‘Slow Vehicle Turnout’ lane on the left-hand side. Again, if you’re holding up traffic please make use of these lanes and slow down.

Next destination on your Lap of Tasmania?

If you’re travelling clockwise, your next destination is historic Richmond and the gastronomic wonders of the Coal River Valley.

Travelling anti-clockwise, your next destination is the sun-drenched beaches and red-lichen rocks of the East Coast.

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Dog and bear in suitcase - Lap of Tasmania Road trip

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