Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Port Arthur Historic Site
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Approximately 8 hours
Head north by coach from Hobart to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Port Arthur, famous for the ruins of the former penal colony established here. This is the most intact and evocative historic prison in Australia. It covers 242 acres around picturesque Mason Cove, and has many ruined and restored buildings set in gardens and rolling lawns. A line of fierce dogs once guarded the narrow isthmus that was the only overland escape point from Port Arthur.
Meet a specialist guide from the Port Arthur Historic Site -- (s)he will escort you on a guided walking tour. The two most impressive buildings on site -- the Penitentiary and the Separate Prison -- show how convict discipline ranged from physical punishment to psychological terror. Hear tales of the hardships suffered by many during the harsh years of this penal settlement's heyday.
Step inside the eerie cells and listen for echoes of the past, and wander through the reconstructed Government Gardens (originally established in 1858), which offer a glimpse of life on the other side of the bars during this period.
A light lunch is served on site. If time permits, take a harbor cruise on board the mv Marana.
Heading back to Hobart, you'll stop to admire some interesting landforms -- either the Tessallated Pavement, Tasman's Arch, or the blowhole and the Devil's Kitchen.
The walking tour requires approximately 40 minutes of walking. Participants must walk down stairs or a ramp to access the ruins. Once at the ruins, walking is on even, grassy surfaces and uneven, unpaved ground. Some ruins have cobblestones, uneven flooring and steps, and narrow doorways.