One of Tasmania's top tourist attractions is the crumbling ruins of a penal colony, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the penitentiary, where 60 stone buildings remain, for a sobering glimpse into the brutal lives of the 12,500 convicts incarcerated here between 1830 and 1877. Visitors can also tour the Dockyard and Port Arthur gardens. There’s so much to see that a guided tour is recommended—especially the one that covers paranormal activity. (There's also a lantern-lit ghost tour, for brave families only.)
Established in the 1830s, this UNESCO World Heritage–listed penal colony on the Tasman Peninsula is one of Australia's most evocative convict sites. Extremely isolated due to the formidable geography, this was a fearsome place where re-offending convicts from England were sent to do time. It's an easy day trip from Hobart; start at the excellent visitor center and then take a somber walk through history, exploring the ruined and restored buildings set in 40 hectares (100 acres) of landscaped grounds.