Getting There -- Port Arthur is a 1 1/2-hour drive from Hobart on the Lyell and Arthur highways. This scenic drive forms part of the Convict Trail Touring Route and takes in breathtaking seascapes, rolling farmlands and villages, vineyards, and artists' studios. On the way to Port Arthur, you might want to stop off at the historic village of Richmond and at the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park. Richmond is 26km (16 miles) northeast of Hobart and is the site of the country's oldest bridge (1823), the best-preserved convict jail in Australia (1825), and several old churches, including St. John's Church (1836), the oldest Catholic church in the country.
Grayline (tel. 1300/858 687 in Australia; www.grayline.com.au) offers day tours to Port Arthur from Hobart daily (except Saturdays). The best tour costs A$150 for adults and A$75 for kids ages 4 to 14 and include admission fees, guided tours of Port Arthur and the Isle of the Dead, lunch, an audio guide and a harbor cruise.
Take a cruise with Navigators (tel. 03/6223 1914; www.navigators.net.au), and you will follow the sea route of convicts transported from Hobart to Port Arthur. The all-day journey includes a 2 1/2-hour cruise along the coastline to Port Arthur, entrance to the historic site, and a return by bus to Hobart. A range of packages is available, starting from A$159 for adults, A$128 for kids, and A$498 for a family of four. Cruises run October to May on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, departing at 8:15am.