Port Arthur and the
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…
There’s plenty of things to see and do on your Tasman Peninsula road trip, and these are some of its highlights!
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.
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’!
No one likes paying big bucks to be crammed onto a bus and rushed around from place to place.
We recently discovered a really good alternative that will get you to Port Arthur without costing the earth, and while having a heap of fun along the way – the GuideGuys – Hobart to Port Arthur Self-Guided Tour!
It’s a really clever idea, and a LOT more relaxing…and all you need is an Android or Apple mobile device to get yourself started. Check it out here and see if it suits your style of DIY travel!
Have you ever thought about getting a bird’s eye view of Tasmania?
It all started with potato spraying more than 25 years ago, and now Osborne Heli Tours are without doubt Tasmania’s premier helicopter tour company.
This family-run Tassie business has its base near Port Arthur, and every day they showcase best of Port Arthur and the Tasman Peninsula through their three exciting tour options.
We love these tours so much that we have partnered with Osborne HeliTours to save you 10% OFF each of these awesome helicopter tours!
Simply click here, and use our exclusive LAPOFTAS promo code to receive your discount.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Tasmanian Devil Unzoo was the first conservation park in the world to give people the chance to meet a Tasmanian Devil 👍
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!
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.
“The little festival with a big heart” – The Koonya Garlic Festival is quirky and quaint with its own unique ambience, attracting throngs of passionate garlic lovers, foodies and gardeners from Tasmania & beyond – celebrating the joy of garlic, the food it flavours, and the music and art that it inspires!
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!
Whether you’re looking for luxury, great value, or a powered RV site with a view, the Tasman Peninsula has got you covered.
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.
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.
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.
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!
At more than 300m, the sea cliffs of Cape Raoul, Pillar and Hauy are the tallest in the southern hemisphere! 👀
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)
Dodges Ferry, Dunalley, Murdunna, Port Arthur
EV Battery Charging Stations (see PlugShare):
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.
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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