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Convict Trail
Convict Trail
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Total 205 km

Convict Trail

From historic Richmond to the Tasman National Park, Eaglehawk Neck and Port Arthur Historic Site, this fascinating journey is rich in convict history and natural beauty. The Tasman Peninsula is a place of breathtaking seascapes, some of the tallest sea cliffs in the world, and wild ocean views.

Start: Hobart

Duration: 1 - 3 days

Print: Convict Trail [PDF 325KB]

National Parks on this route:

Hobart - Richmond

  • Drive to the village of Richmond, with its colonial past, antique shops, art and craft galleries, restaurants and tea rooms.
  • Richmond is a perfect place to learn about Tasmania's rich heritage and is home to Australia's oldest bridge, built by convict labour between 1823 and 1825, Australia's oldest still-standing Catholic Church - St Johns - built in 1836, and Australia's oldest gaol, built in 1825.
  • Also of interest is Old Hobart Town, a carefully constructed model of Hobart as it was in 1820.
  • Close by are the vineyards and wineries of the Coal River Valley, part of the Southern Tasmanian Wine Regions where you can taste award-winning cool-climate wines.
  • The region is also rich in produce including cheese and olives. Why not enjoy a long lunch at Frogmore Creek or Pooley Wines. Afterwards enjoy a row on the river or a relax on the riverbanks.
  • Overnight Richmond or return Hobart

Richmond - Port Arthur - 1 hr 11 min (83 km)

  • On the way to Port Arthur stop at the Colonial and Convict Exhibition in Copping, with its extensive collection of interesting convict artifacts.
  • For lunch, continue on to Dunalley, a quaint fishing village built around the man-made Denison Canal, with a swing bridge for road traffic. At Dunalley you can sample local produce, including fresh seafood from the local Fish Market or the Dunalley Waterfront Café and Gallery, housed within an atmospheric 1942 timber building originally used as a fish cannery supplying overseas troops.
  • Continue to Eaglehawk Neck and the beginning of the many attractions of the Tasman Peninsula including Port Arthur Historic Site. In colonial times, the isthmus that is Eaglehawk Neck was guarded by ferocious dogs intended to ensure no convicts escaped the Port Arthur penal settlement.
  • At Eaglehawk Neck, stop at the lookout over Pirates Bay - a magnificent beach bounded by dramatic coastline. Once down on the neck itself, walk the 'dog line' near the Officers' Quarters. The Officers' Quarters has been restored as a museum interpreting the history and life at Eaglehawk Neck. Built in 1832, it's reputed to be the oldest wooden military building remaining in Australia.
  • A short drive south are the impressive coastal rock formations of the Devil's Kitchen, Tasman Arch, the Blowhole and Remarkable Cave, a cave-like opening that leads out to sea. From here you can walk to Crescent Bay, a secluded curve of striking beauty backed by huge sand dunes.
  • Overnight Port Arthur and surrounds.

Port Arthur - Hobart

Day 1

  • Allow a day to explore the UNECSO World Heritage listed Port Arthur Historic Site.
  • Port Arthur Historic Site on the Tasman Peninsula is Australia’s most intact and evocative convict site. The Port Arthur Historic Site has more than 30 buildings, ruins and restored period homes, dating from the prison’s establishment in 1830 until its closure in 1877. During this time about 12,500 convicts served sentences and for many it was a living hell. Today, the 30 convict-built structures that make up the site sit in 40 hectares (90 acres) of landscaped grounds, and you need to allow plenty of time to fully experience all it has to offer.
  • Afterwards, allow time to drive to the convict ruins at the Probation Station, and the World Heritage listed Convict Salt Mines at Saltwater River
  • In the evening take a ghost tour of the Port Arthur Historic Site and experience the site by night. Port Arthur will seem a very different place after sunset, full of mystery and intrigue.

Day 2

  • Before leaving the Tasman Peninsula, take an unforgettable sea journey on one of the small, high-speed vessels that depart from Eaglehawk Neck and hug the dramatic coastal cliffs and rock formations of the open eastern side of the peninsula. Its stunning 300-metre (986-foot) high cliffs were created after 6,000 years of wave action on the peninsula's sandstone, dolerite and granite.
  • There are also a number of walks of varying lengths and difficulty available in the Tasman National Park, including Waterfall Bay (60-90 minutes) and Bivouac Bay (3 hours). There are also the stunning Cape walks to explore Cape Huay, Cape Raoul or Cape Pillar have good walking tracks. Or, you could follow a surfer to Ship Stern Bluff to see the giant waves that have surfers from around the globe excited.
  • On your return to Hobart stop off at the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park and the Sorrell Fruit Farm.

Leg Time / Distance
Hobart to Richmond 25 min / 27 km
Richmond to Port Arthur 1 hr 10 min / 83 km
Port Arthur to Hobart  1 hr 20 min / 95 km