The pit stop: Port Arthur
More famous as a convict prison than a town, Port Arthur has a paradoxically beautiful setting, pinched between bush and sea, and sprinkled with enough features to fill a day or a few.
In a corner of the Port Arthur Historic Site visitor centre, 1830 Restaurant and Bar combines simple menus with perfect views: the slit windows peer onto the convict penitentiary. Come early for a breakfast view across an empty prison.
Wrapped in bush on the slopes of Mount Arthur, 350 metres above Port Arthur, McHenry Distillery’s simple cellar door offers tasting paddles of three gins or whiskies. Head to the outdoor deck to relax and imbibe. Distillery tours and gin-making workshops are also available.
It’s an aromatic welcome at Port Arthur Lavender, where you can pick a simple lavender sprig or find candles with curious sensory mixes such as lavender, cucumber and sage. Browse through lavender heat packs (including a Tasmanian Devil), foot soaks, scarves and blankets and even a lavender malt liqueur.
Beauty and brutality intermingle at the Port Arthur Historic Site. Among the World Heritage-listed collection of convict and colonial relics, standout structures include the penitentiary, Separate Prison and the shell of its unconsecrated church.
With 40 cabins sprinkled through beautiful coastal bushland, Stewarts Bay Lodge is an ideal base. Each cabin has its own variation on the Ladies Bay view, and a 15-minute walking trail connects the lodge to the Historic Site. The in-house On the Bay restaurant is one of the area’s best.