Australia, Travel

Travel Guide: Port Arthur, Tasmania

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Port Arthur Historic Site

Port Arthur is a small town located on the Tasman peninsula steeped in history. Historically as a former convict settlement and more recently as the scene of a devastating massacre. It provides a unique insight into colonial history in Australia and is, in my opinion, an unmissable stop when visiting Tasmania.

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It was the destination for the hardest of convicted British criminals, sent here by boat from 1833, until 1853. We heard tales of punishing labour, disease and the conditions they lived in and treatment endured during this period in Australia. It’s probably of little surprise, given its history, that this site is famous for ghost sightings, and you can’t help but feel an eerie presence when exploring the historic buildings.

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We set aside the better part of a day to explore this historic site, which has over 30 buildings, ruins and restored period homes, set in 40 hectares of landscaped grounds. I highly recommend taking a guided walking tour, and for the brave, a ghost tour at night (I was not brave).

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For an extra fee, you can get on a cruise to the Isle of the Dead and take a guided tour of Port Arthur’s island burial ground (pictured), or visit Point Puer Boys Prison, the first reformatory built exclusively for juvenile male convicts.

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Stewarts Bay Lodge

After a big day of exploring, learning and reflecting, we drive to our nearby accommodation – Stewarts Bay Lodge. Nestled snuggly between a beach, a forest, the ocean, a national park and Port Arthur, it sounds like the perfect destination to unwind.

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bedroom

Stewarts Bay Lodge features five fully self-contained cabins, from 1-3 bedroom cottages, to deluxe spa cottages. This was the view from my bed :)

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Before dinner we head off on a walk through the forest to the beach as dusk fell.

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On our way back to the lodge we came across this little fella! Any ideas what species? I initially thought he was a Pademelon, however after further Googling, I believe this is a Potoroo (aka the rat-kangaroo!) We actually saw a LOT of Potoroos in Tasmania, alas this was the only live one. Potoroos are not good at crossing roads it turns out.

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Taylor’s Waterfront Restaurant

Our tummies now hungry from our big walk, we arrive at Taylor’s Waterfront Restaurant, attached to Stewarts Bay Lodge, for dinner. We enjoy a glass of wine and look over the water as the sun sets.

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We peruse the menu for a while, choosing from a selection of modern Australian dishes using locally sourced ingredients. Highlights included the Tasmanian Scotch Fillet Steak with Herbed Mash, Roasted Beetroot and Red Wine Jus ($33) and the Rannoch Farm Quail, Vanilla and Parsnip Puree with Wilted Greens ($18).

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We finished off our meals with a slice of Limoncello Infused Curd Tart ($16) and a Vanilla & Honey Panna Cotta Berry Compote ($16). We return to our lodge for the evening and fall asleep to the sound of nature.

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This is the 3rd instalment of my guides to Tasmania. Find Hobart here and Bruny Island here.

Love Swah + 1 travelled, ate & stayed courtesy of Tourism Tasmania 

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2 Comments

  • Reply Travel Guide | Travelguide August 4, 2014 at 5:14 am

    […] Travel Guide: Port Arthur, Tasmania – Love Swah http://loveswah.com/It provides a unique insight into colonial history in Australia and is, in my opinion, an unmissable stop when visiting Tasmania. port-arthur2. It was the destination for the hardest of convicted British criminals, sent here by boat … […]

  • Reply Travel Guide: Swansea and Richmond, Tasmania September 5, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    […] arise early for our scenic drive to Swansea, about 2 hours and 15mins drive from Port Arthur. Swansea is a small town located halfway between Hobart and Launceston on Tasmania’s east […]

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