Australia’s history is famously, or infamously, shaped by its past as a penal colony. Starting in 1788, after the United States had won its War of Independence, Britain began to transport convicts to Australia, including Van Diemen’s Land, as Tasmania was known then. Port Arthur bears witness to that past, having been established as a penal colony in 1830. In 1877, the last prisoner was removed and the buildings and land were auctioned off to private investors. As early as the 1920s, curious travelers were arriving to visit this historic site. Today the ruins are atmospheric and haunting. It is one of 11 sites in Australia included on the World Heritage list associated with the transportation of convicts—almost half of them on Tasmania.
If you want to walk with the ghosts of Tasmania’s colorful past, visit AFAR Journeys for details of Pamela’s seven-day itinerary, as well as other trips to Australia created for AFAR.