Port Arthur Historic Site
Exploring Port Arthur Historic Site
Wheelchair Access Review
We really wanted to visited the Port Arthur Historic Site while we were in Tasmania. Port Arthur is about a 1 hour 30min drive from Hobart. The Port Arthur Historic Site is a former convict settlement built in the 18th & 19th century, the huge convict site has more than 30 historic buildings and ruins and sits on over 100 acres.
As we discovered, there isn’t a lot of transport options from Hobart to Port Arthur apart from driving or a tour bus. Graysline was the only wheelchair accessible shuttle I could find operating a tour from Hobart to Port Arthur Historic Site. Please read my full review on transport to Port Arthur here.
After a lot of phones calls and organizing we decided to rent a non-accessible car during our Tasmania trip and just drive down to Port Arthur. Our drive to Port Arthur was very beautiful and scenic. We decided to book in a helicopter flight while we were down in Port Arthur. We booked in with Osborn Heli Tours and enjoyed the beautiful views of Port Arthur from above before we drove to the Port Arthur Historic Site just down the road.
I was very keen to visit the Port Arthur Historic Site. I find history very interesting so the Historic site was on my “must see” list during our trip. The atmosphere there was very eerie but I found it fascinating to hear the stories of the imprisoned convicts and the soldiers that lived and worked there. It makes you really appropriate the time we live in and the things we take for granted.
I actually found the Port Arthur Historic site more wheelchair accessible than I thought it would be. One of the main buildings was the old prison which had a glass ramp around the back to allow wheelchair access inside.
There was also access to the Silent prison and it’s outside area. There were steps up into the cell sections, but I was still able to see them from the bottom of the steps.
They also had an old cottage that was accessible via a ramp. A few of the buildings and ruins were not accessible due to steps, but this was to be expected with such an old site, nevertheless most places that could be made accessible were. There were a number off road areas throughout the site and some of the pathways were pretty bumpy, but I managed ok in my electric wheelchair.
They offer free guided tours throughout the day and also have a 20 minute cruise around the island of the dead which is included in the entry ticket and is fully wheelchair friendly. They offer additional tours, but they are not wheelchair accessible. You are able to get off and do a tour of the island of the dead at an extra cost, but the Island has a flight of steps, which makes it not accessible for wheelchair users
The Port Arthur Historic Site is a massive site and you can easily spend all day there, it’s that big of a site your entry ticket allows you to come back for free the next day. Because there is a lot of walking involved to explore the site they do offer golf buggy shuttles for people with limited mobility, but you need to be able to transfer from your chair, they than can attach your manual wheelchair to the back of the buggy. Unfortunately though this isn’t an option for electric wheelchair users.
We had a awesome day at the historic site. It is certainly a must see if you visit Tasmania,
In my opinion I give Port Arthur Historic Site a rating of 3.5 for wheelchair accessibility, and 4.5 stars for the overall experience .
* I was not financially compensated for this review. The review is based on my own opinion and personal experience.*