Port Arthur Historic Site opens new visitor centre

Including state-of-the-art gallery, exhibition space, cafe and restaurant

Media release
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Port Arthur Gallery Entrance

Port Arthur Gallery Entrance [©Alastair Bett]

Port Arthur 1830 Restaurant and Bar
Port Arthur Gallery World Heritage
Port Arthur Visitor Centre Entrance
MFWF 2018 Famous or Infamous Eau de Vie Melbourne


Port Arthur is one of our nation’s most significant heritage sites, and one of Tasmania's most popular tourist destinations with around 340,000 people visiting the Historic Site this year. That's an impressive increase of  9% on last year .

To cater for this growth, and to ensure that visitors enjoy an even more memorable experience, the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority has successfully undertaken its largest ever construction project to build a new Visitor Centre.

The $12 million Centre provides an enhanced visitor experience with a state-of-the-art gallery and exhibition space, a larger café, new restaurant and a gift shop featuring speciality products from around the Tasman region.

At the new restaurant, aptly named 1830, diners can enjoy fresh local produce with views out over the World Heritage site whilst the popular Port Arthur Café has been expanded to include different styles of service with additional outdoor dining space. 

The new gift shop provides high quality products made by local artisans and there is a dedicated space for walkers embarking on the Three Capes Track to prepare for their adventure. 

Even more exciting is the introduction of 52 new character cards in a state-of-the-art interactive gallery inviting you to delve deeper into the who, what and when of Port Arthur’s fascinating and layered history.  (See more info below.)

Tasmania’s rich built heritage is one of the state's greatest assets, and this significant investment at Port Arthur is a reflection of the importance of preserving the past while planning for the future growth in the Tasmanian visitor economy.

Visiting the site:

  • Access to the Historic Site is via the Visitor Centre main entrance. 
  • Guided Tours depart from the lower level of the Visitor Centre.
  • Ghost Tours also start from the Visitor Centre.
  • Cafe is open from 9am-8:30pm
  • The Three Capes Track has a dedicated check-in counter and luggage storage area in the lower level of the Visitor Centre
  • The NEW Port Arthur Gallery is open for all visitors to explore the history and stories of Port Arthur.

Lottery of life Life cards:

A new set of cards has been be introduced and you're invited to follow the characters' stories. These are not all about tragedy but also of triumph; for the convicts, punishment was modified and moderated throughout the years the penal colony was in operation.
…Meet James Lynch who arrived at Port Arthur’s Point Puer Boys’ Prison in 1844. James was just nine years of age when he was transported for stealing three boxes of toys.  As an adult, between court appearances in Hobart for drunkenness, James occupied himself making and selling pegs, earning him the nickname “Jimmy the peg-man”.

Over the summer months

There's lots happening over the coming months including hands-on activities for kids and adults alike during the school holidays and a variety of dining options in the historic buildings.

Between 12-1:30pm and 2-3pm each day, you can drop in to the Education Centre (The Accountant’s House) to engage in interactive displays, play nineteenth century games, or take part in one of the hands-on activities such as making a convict tattoo, dressing a peg doll, designing a convict love token or writing and wax-sealing a Victorian-style letter.

As well as these scheduled activities, challenge your friends and family to a game of quoits or croquet on the lawn, or discover more stories of Port Arthur through the collection of books, magazines, activity pages and colouring sheets available in the Education Centre.

Check out the full program here.  


  • East Coast and Tasman Peninsula (TAS)

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January 09th, 2018
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