Tasmania: Port Arthur – super scary, unique and highly recommended

By August 3, 2014Australia

If you ever travel Australia, make sure you get to see Tasmania or “Tassie”, as the “Aussi’s” say. Since it is a 15 hours boat ride away from the mainland, there are not too many tourists going there, which really makes it a special and remote place. It’s most known for the Tasmanian Devil, a little monster with awful teeth. The island is a quiet place of nature with beautiful walks across the diverse and green countryside.

The most impressive and awkward place we went to, was Port Arthur. In the daytime the former prison is a beautiful ruin at the lakeside. However, at nights it is one of the spookiest things I’ve done traveling.

From 1833 until 1850 Port Arthur was the prison with Great Britain’s most dangerous prisoners. Despite other cruel prisons, the penalties were rather psychologically than physically, since people became aware, physical penalties lead to cruelty rather than social integration. Therefore, Port Arthur became a place of silent penalty – meaning neither the prisoners nor the staff were allowed to speak beyond the most necessary.

Port Arthur was the safest prison at its time, located on a peninsula with a small fenced connection to the mainland, equipped with dogs. The isolation, both personally and locally led to many suicides. There are 1646 graves, of prisoners and staff members at the near Island of the Dead, yet only the 180 staff members got a gravestone. The last prisoners arrived in 1850 and Port Arthur finally closed in 1877.

Today, especially the Ghost Tours at night are a tourist attraction. Around dawn at 08.30 pm people are guided through the ruins with petroleum lamps and the guide tells stories of ancient times. There is no “dungeon-like” extra-frightening to scare people, the super spooky things are the legends and ghost stories of tourists, visiting this place at night, hearing the screaming of former prisoners or seeing chairs moving by themselves. Although none of that happened when I was there, it was a super scary and unforgettable experience.

2 Comments

  • Lou says:

    Thanks for the warning. I will skip that one if ever I set foot on Tasmania. That aside I heard the island is beautiful.

  • stephaniesievers says:

    🙂 so maybe the daytime is a better time for you to see it! Tasmania is really beautiful and I did some amazing and diverse walks. Sometimes it felt as if I was in Hobbit-Land – and not at all a scary place except for Port Arthur.

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