102km (63 miles) SE of Hobart
Port Arthur, on the Tasman Peninsula, is an incredibly picturesque yet haunting place. Set on one of Australia's prettiest harbors, it shelters the remains of Tasmania's largest penal colony. It's the state's number-one tourist destination, and you really should plan to spend at least a day here.
From 1830 to 1877, Port Arthur was one of the harshest institutions of its type anywhere in the world. It was built to house the most notorious prisoners, many of whom had escaped from lesser institutions. Nearly 13,000 convicts found their way here, and nearly 2,000 died while incarcerated. A strip of land called Eaglehawk Neck connects Port Arthur to the rest of Tasmania. Guards and dogs kept watch over this narrow path, while the authorities circulated rumors that the waters around the peninsula were shark-infested. Only a few convicts ever managed to escape, and most of them either perished in the bush or were tracked down and hanged. Look out for the blowhole and other coastal formations, including Tasman's Arch, Devil's Kitchen, and the Tessellated Pavement, as you pass through Eaglehawk Neck.