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Port Arthur Historic Site

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Natural Wonders

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Amazing Walks

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Unique Wildlife

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Amazing Locations


The Peninsula's Convict Trail

The Peninsula's Convict Trail

Convict Trail: Pirates Bay

A drive yourself touring trail to important convict sites. Look for the yellow arrows showing the location of interpretation panels.

General info

Peninsula Convict Trail – More than a day!

The Convict Trail offers the opportunity to explore Tasmania’s convict heritage in places where the past seems just a clink of chains away.

Convicts could be sent here ‘for the term of their natural lives’… you won’t need that long to explore the Convict Trail but you will certainly need more than a day!

It takes most people a minimum of four hours to see Port Arthur Historic Site alone and the Tasman Peninsula is dotted with ruins that echo the stories of the men who were among the most hardened of the convicts sent to Tasmania.

There’s so much to see and do on this journey – far too much for one day! Remember to book accommodation so you can enjoy the attractions and activities of the Tasman and don’t forget to include the spinechilling nightly ghost tour at Port Arthur.

For more information, see the following articles:

1.1 The Convict Experience
1.2 Introduction

2.1 Eaglehawk Neck: The Pydairrerme
2.2 Eaglehawk Neck: A Man and His Dogs

3.1 Norfolk Bay (Taranna): The Whaleboat
3.2 Norfolk Bay (Taranna): The First Railway

4.1 Cascades (Koonya): Forests and Orchards
4.2 Cascades (Koonya): The Apple Industry

5.1 Impression Bay (Premaydena): The Emigrants
5.2 Impression Bay (Premaydena): Semaphore System

6.1 Saltwater River: The Convict System
6.2 Saltwater River: Bond to Free

7.1 Coal Mines: Link to World Heritage Coal Mines Historic Site
7.2 Coal Mines: Gardens of Hell

8.1 Port Arthur: Link to World Heritage Port Arthur Historic Site
8.2 Port Arthur: After the Convicts

9.1 Tasman Arch: Tourism
9.2 Tasman Arch: Tasman Arch to Waterfall Bay 1.7 km

The Convict Trail via the 'Loop Road' (B37)

Port Arthur to Saltwater River

The Loop Road provides the opportunity for visitors to venture further afield via The Convict Trail and explore the less frequented, yet no less stunning, corners of the Tasman Peninsula.

If you are looking to do some inspiring nature walks on your holiday, Stormlea Road (6 km from Port Arthur) provides access to the Cape Raoul track. Those energetic enough to venture forth will be rewarded with beautiful and serene bushland, as well as views of the Raoul Plateau, Shipstern Bluff and the distant 'Fluffies', famous amongst great wave surfers.

Further along the Nubeena Road, a left hand turn leads to White Beach—a wonderful stretch of sparkling sand and crystal waters, with spectacular sunsets across Storm Bay. White Beach is a very popular holiday location for Tasmanians – a local vote for the place to visit.

The pretty fishing village of Nubeena is situated on picturesque Parsons Bay and, as the largest township on the peninsula, is the commercial hub of the local community. Nubeena offers a range of welcoming accommodation places, a friendly bakery and a number of small shops and cosy cafes to enjoy. Nubeena also provides a number of essential services (doctor, chemist and emergency services).

If feeling adventurous, continue to follow The Loop Road (B37) through Nubeena and take the road out to the great sand dunes of Roaring Beach - a spectacular and remote place that whispers of an ancient past – yet another great surfing opportunity.

Visitors can follow the Convict Trail, driving through Nubeena to the remote Coal Mines Historic Site at Saltwater River - Port Arthur being just one of several convict sites that were established around the Tasman Peninsula. Often described as one of Tasmania's best-kept secrets, the Coal Mines Historic Site offers a fascinating contrast with a visit to the better known Port Arthur Historic Site; a self-guided opportunity with excellent interpretation with a sense of serenity, gothic mystery and discovery.

Historic ruins are scattered about a bushland environment rich in birdlife and natural beauty. Walking tracks lead past hidden ruins and buildings, as well as the main mine shaft. Entry is free. A fact sheet is available from the Port Arthur Visitor Centre. The small hamlets of Premaydena and Koonya also offer insights into the convict heritage of the Tasman Peninsula.

Premaydena was established as Impression Bay Probation Station in 1841 and was later a quarantine station. Today headstones on the point and the timbers of a tramway across the bay (revealed at low tide) bear poignant testimony to its convict past. Picturesque Koonya offers an opportunity for horse-riding on bush-land trails, a number of small beaches for day use and further insights into the convict system. A convict probation station was established in Koonya in the 1840s.

Shipstern Bluff

Convict Trail