Port Arthur Blog


Summer Activities Guide

By Bay Retreat on December 15, 2014 in

This summer, Port Arthur has a range of great activities that allow visitors to get up close and personal with some of the stories of site’s past. Kids, large and small can experience a family-friendly Ghost Tour, try their hand traditional pastimes of making a tussie mussie or a willow cane basket, and our ever popular History Plays return. Or join us for afternoon refreshment at the magnificent Visiting Magistrates House, not normally open to the public.

Carols by Candlelight

Sunday 21 December, 8.30pm

Join the traditional carol singing in the convict church at Port Arthur.

Boxing Day Woodchops

Friday 26 December, commencing at 9am

One of Australia’s longest running sports carnivals, the event this year will include stalls and traditional kids’ sports activities.

Christmas Day Trading

We are open 10am - 3pm Christmas Day. The Harbour Cruises will not operate however there will be limited guided tours. The Gift Shop and Cafe will be open and there will be a reduced entry fee to the Site. Boxing Day Woodchopping Carnival at Port Arthur

Family Friendly Ghost Tours

26 December - 26 January, 6:00 pm daily

Special early evening ghost tour presented with the younger visitor and their family in mind. For more information or to book: Historic Ghost Tour

Paranormal Investigation Experience

Due to popular demand the Paranormal Investigation Experience tours will be offeredtwice monthly during the warmer months of January &,  February. For more information or to book: Paranormal Investigation Experience

Afternoon Refreshments at the Visiting Magistrates House

28 December - 23 January, daily from 2-5pm except Saturdays

Refresh yourself in style at the gloriously refurbished mid-nineteenth century home that affords a magnificent vista over the grounds of the Port Arthur Historic Site. For the sweeter tooth there will be Devonshire Tea and for something a little more savoury, a tasting platter featuring fine Tasmanian produce. Premium Tasmanian beers and wines will also be available. Experience Devonshire Tea at the Visiting Magistrates House at Port Arthur

Family Fun Activities

26 December-23 January daily

Spend some time at our Education Centre and try your hand at some traditional crafts, design work and trades.  Make your own peg doll or replica 1/4 size convict brick. Learn about early animation by assembling a phantascope or try your hand at making convict love tokens. If you are a little weary from your exploring and adventures, take some time out in our specially designed Book Nook space. Discover stories about Port Arthur in our collection of books and magazines for all ages or do a Port Arthur themed colouring in or word game. Activities are offered in two sessions each day, 12–1.30pm and 2–3pm.  Check the information board downstairs in the Visitor Centre for today's activities.

Landscapes and Gardens Education Program

Port Arthur’s landscapes and gardens have providedinspiration, recreation and natural resources for residents and visitorsthroughout the Site’s history. Discover more about the significance and varieduses of Port Arthur’s natural environment through participating in our‘Landscapes and Gardens’ program this summer. During January our young visitorswill have the opportunity to try their hand at landscape painting and gardencrafts and learn about some unique and fascinating aspects of Port Arthur’shistory.  Children must be accompanied byadults however due to resource limitations priority will be given to childrenparticipating in activities. Willow Basketry: Children will be taught to produce a smallwillow basket using traditional methods &, materials. Tussie Mussies: Children will have the opportunity to work withour Heritage Horticulturalist to make a personalised bouquet, known as a tussiemussie, to take home as a special reminder of Port Arthur’s heritage gardens.

LandscapePainting: Children will beable to work with a local landscape artist to produce a watercolour painting ofa Port Arthur scene.

Port Arthur History Plays

27 December-24 January daily except Saturdays

A scene from A Boy's Life

The Man Who Threw a Stone

By Richard Davey.

Performed in the Separate Prison at 11.45am &, 2.45pm. Please be seated early to allow a prompt start.

The Shingle Strike

by David Young

Performed behind the Separate Prison at 12.30pm and 4.15pm (weather permitting)

A Boy’s Life

by Les Winspear

Performed behind the Separate Prison at 1.15pm and 3.30pm (weather permitting) This year, the plays are produced and directed by Chris Hamley. Each play runs approximately 20 minutes.

More information

  • Family fun activitiesA range of fun - and educational - family activities, including convict-era crafts, pastimes and games, offered by our Education Officer and guides.
  • Boxing Day WoodchopsEvery Boxing Day for the last 100 years or so, Port Arthur has hosted one of Australia's oldest continuing sporting carnivals.
  • History PlaysA series of three short plays, each exploring an aspect of Port Arthur's history in an entertaining and engaging way.
  • Summer Activity pdf 2014-15 [PDF 640KB]Download your complete Summer Activity guide here.