Historic Port Arthur is very handy to Hobart. Heading there direct will only take a bit over an hour but a pretty drive and taking more time via Richmond is recommended. Turn left at Cambridge (10 mins) and it is only another 10 mins or so to the charming, historic town of Richmond. After an explore there, it is still only an hour to Port Arthur.
A visit to this region is a terrific way to combine scenery, wildlife, heritage and adventure. Sorell is the gateway to the southeast and it’s also worth a stop to explore the heritage buildings and antique shops. Copping has a collection of artefacts in the Colonial and Convict Exhibition. Copping was home for some time to Martin Bryant, the mass murderer who killed 35 people and injured 21 in the shooting spree at Port Arthur in 1996.
There are also many stunning sculptured rock formations and caves along the way - Tessellated Pavement, Blowhole, Devil’s Kitchen, Pirates Bay Lookout, Tasman Arch and Remarkable Cave. At Eaglehawk Neck there are the Officer’s Quarters and the Dog Line where savage dogs once guarded the isthmus to prevent convicts escaping from Port Arthur. For living animals, you can get up close and personal with Tassie devils at the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park in Taranna.
You should allow half the day for Port Arthur itself (and it is a nice spot for lunch). The site is dramatic, haunting, yet eerily relaxing. It’s a piece of living history where every hand-hewn, thumb-marked brick tells a story. Away from the ruins, the rolling lawns and graceful, shady trees offer a great spot for a picnic. There are two excellent cafes (licensed) - the Port Cafe in the Visitor's Centre and the Museum Coffee Shop in the Asylum building.
There is also a new attraction for brave late-nighters - you can access the latest scientific techniques and equipment for some serious ghost-hunting, conducting your own paranormal investigation. Here is a link to the official website to help you plan your visit.
And, of course, Rydges Hobart is handy for all your accommodation needs!