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Visiting historic Port Arthur Tasmania

Based in Tasmania, Port Arthur is an extremely well preserved prison settlement from the 1800’s. Originally a wood mill, Port Arthur was used as a depository for convicts from England and Ireland for much of the nineteenth century. Because it was almost completely surrounded by water, Port Arthur was well suited to its purpose. Only a narrow land strip connected the settlement to the mainland and it was manned by armed guards. Port Arthur accommodation is sought after by visitors who want to learn more about this interesting event in Australia’s history.

The Port Arthur inmates produced leather items and shoes, clothing and tools made from wood. Many of the settlement’s supplies were made on site by the prison population. Thus, the prison was virtually self-sufficient. Far from being a harmonious community, the convicts often worked as part of a chain gang. The beatings and violence towards the inmates earned Port Arthur the name ‘hell on Earth’. Of course, this phrase no longer applies today, as Port Arthur accommodation is comfortable and appealing!

The tourist industry at Port Arthur began to take hold as early as the 1920’s. After the prison closed, the name of Port Arthur was changed to Carnavon in an effort to shake off its dark history. However, tourists were very interested in the original convict settlement. Therefore, it was renamed Port Arthur in the 1920’s. Since then, it has been a tourist destination for Australians and visitors from around the world.

There are a variety of ways to see Port Arthur. The tour guides can show you the original prisons. You can also visit the Island of the Dead, a prisoner graveside which is open to the public. The dark history of Port Arthur has brought about stories of ghosts. You can learn more by taking the ghost tour at night.

The scenic backdrop of Port Arthur contrasts with its dark past. The natural beauty of the area is worth taking advantage of. Visitors can go for a hike, explore caves or enjoy boating.

It is wise to book your accommodation well in advance because Port Arthur is one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations. The inns, Bed and Breakfasts and hotels tend to fill up quickly, particularly in the summer. Because Port Arthur is located on an island, there are not as many accommodation options as there are in sprawling cities.

There are a number of large hotels and motels in Port Arthur. A motel or hotel can be a good option particularly if you have a large group and need several rooms. Smaller, independently-run places to stay include pubs with boarding facilities, B and B’s and family-owned hotels. For travellers who want independence, there are self-contained cottages and lodges with kitchenettes. Some of the lodges overlook the bay at Port Arthur. For motor home enthusiasts, an affordable option is an RV resort.


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If you are planning to visit Port Arthur in Tasmania, visit us to find some great Port Arthur accommodation. Find more information and pictures about the Port Arthur here.
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