Port Arthur

Tasmania's must-see destination By Trina McLellan, @reporting4work

From brutal convict settlement to burgeoning community to carefully conserved historic site, Port Arthur offers a unique trip through Australia's history

Inspect the grand colonial home of the penal colony's Commandant that overlooks the harbour before heading back into the main site

Take a trip on the impressive MV Maranna, a modern, well-equipped catamaran that journeys out to the eerie Isle of the Dead and passes Point Puer, which once housed the boys' prison

After its journey, the MV Maranna returns to the harbourside dock, opposite the Commandant's House

Throughout the site there are many picturesque views and landmarks, such as this stone grotto

Historic buildings, including the penal colony's main church, have been lovingly conserved and provide many wonderful angles for photographers

The main building on the Port Arthur site is the impressive, carefully conserved Penitentiary, which presents many options for photographers to record its distinctive, front-facing exterior, its steel-reinforced interior and the view from behind the building

Across the lush lawns lies an avenue of Official Residences that allows visitors to step back in time and experience how these officers lived

The remnants of the nearby Military District include a guard tower, soldier accommodation and the nearby Free School, where the children of military personnel were educated

The striking Separate Prison is both stark and fascinating, having started life as a harsh jail for those who committed new crimes after arriving at Port Arthur. Its small cells were much later used as school rooms

Between the Separate Prison and the Asylum is a restored chapel with a realistic soundscape that takes visitors back to the harsh conditions of the penal colony

Whether the weather is fine or overcast, sunny or drizzly, there are so many stunning, moody views to capture at Port Arthur, just like this misty portside scene

But, as many will realise, Port Arthur's violent past did not end in colonial days. Modern history contains the stain of a shocking massacre by a single gunman committed on and around the historic site on April 28, 1996.

The beautiful reflection pool and its familiar cross in Port Arthur's memorial gardens offer visitors the chance to pay their quiet respects to those 35 lives lost just 20 years ago

So why not plan your trip to the Port Arthur Historic Site? Arrive by car or bus (90 minutes from Hobart) or in style on the MV Maranna which brings visitors from Hobart by sea. There's a map of the site at portarthur.org.au/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/04/PA-Guide-Main-Site-2016.pdf

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