Located just 45 minutes drive from Primrose Sands, the Port Arthur Historic Site is a World Heritage site rich in convict history. It is one of Australia's most significant convict sites, built during the 18th and 19th Centuries. The Port Arthur Site has received many Tasmanian Tourism awards, including Best Major Tourist Attraction and Best Heritage & Cultural Tourism Experience.
It is easy to spend a day at the site, soaking up the beauty of the landscape and learning of Australia's convict history. Take the free guided tour and listen to the stories of the past - the great escapes, the characters who "lived" at the site and the events that impacted the Port Arthur site. We also recommend the free harbour cruise around the Isle of the Dead (or even purchase a ticket that includes a stop on the Isle).
There are cafes on site or plenty of beautiful spots to enjoy a picnic. Your admission ticket allows you to re-enter the site if you want to leave for lunch. Kids will receive their own "passport" to collect stamps along the way.
For the brave, ghost tours operate at night.
Take a look at our tourist activies image gallery and be inspired!
There are many tourist attractions and activities to explore on the Tasman Peninsula.
Federation Chocolate Factory
Located at Taranna, on the way to Port Arthur, the Federation Chocolate Factory offers traditional handmade chocolates and fudge. Watch the chocolates being made through the viewing window, try a free sample of some of the many flavours available to buy.
Tasman Island cruise
Experience one of the popular and award winning Tasman Island eco-cruises operating along the Tasman coastline, where you will explore caves, cliffs, search for birdlife and sealife. You may be lucky enough to see seals, dolphins or whales (in season). We have been on one of these cruises ourselves and absolutely loved it - please have a read of what we through about it here.
Tasmanian Devil Unzoo
Located at Taranna, on the way to Port Arthur, get up close to many Australian native animals, including Tasmanian Devils and kangaroos, which you can hand feed.
Explore the natural beauty, flora, fauna and spectacular coastal scenery in the Tasman National Park. Bushwalking tracks are found throughout the National Park, with day walks ranging between 2 - 8hrs return.
Coal Mines Historic Site
The World Heritage listed Coal Mines Historic Site is located Saltwater river, and is approx 1 hr from The Beach Escape @ Primrose Sands, and approximately 30 minutes from Port Arthur on the loop back through Nubeena.
This site contains the ruins of the first operational coal mine in Australia, which was worked by the "worst class of convicts from Port Arthur". The underground solitary confinement cells and mine entrances are still visible today.
There is so much history to take in. The area is well posted with interpretative panels that tell the story of the historic site. There are a variety of walks around the area, ranging from 10 minutes to 3 hrs, with stunning coastal views to take in.
Entry is free and you might see some wildlife, so bring a picnic lunch and enjoy an insight into Tasmania's convict history.
The Lime Bay State Reserve is located a short drive past the Coal Mines Historic Site. The sheltered beach offer a picturesque and tranquil setting to have a picnic and explore. Our kids loved exploring the area. And if you look out across the bay you can see Primrose Sands!