A gravedigger who received visits from Satan; Australia's first novelist locked up for forgery who died after hearing his wife had shacked up with the man who jailed him; the good preacher who still haunts his former home. The stories on the Isle of the Dead at Port Arthur are absolute crackers – this tour is a must-see for anyone visiting the Tasman Peninsula.
A tour on the Isle of the Dead is something you can consider doing when visiting the Port Arthur Historic Site, about 90 minutes south of Hobart. The tour will set you back a further $15 on top of your $35 entry fee to Port Arthur, but it really is worth it. Port Arthur ran as a secondary convict punishment station between 1830 to 1877, and it sent 1100 of its dead folk to a tiny, beautiful island located about a 15-minute boat ride away from the main prison settlement.
Isle of the Dead as seen from the boat on the harbour cruise
It's such a weird place, and when you consider the number of people buried in such a small area, you really are walking atop a mass grave here. But even though it's so macabre and strange, it's such a pretty little island located in a truly lovely bay.
The boat ride over is quite peaceful if you head out on a not-too-busy day, and it's nice to walk up to the top floor and get a great view over Port Arthur and the peninsula.