Coal Mines Historic Site

Tasman Peninsula & Port Arthur

The least known of Tasmania’s World Heritage–listed convict sites provides a wonderfully low-key experience. The state's first operational mine, it began excavation in 1833 and was worked by convicts in abominable conditions before closing in 1848 on 'moral and financial grounds'. Walking tracks loop through the ruins of the site. The crumbled sandstone barracks, overlooking the water, are particularly evocative, and the solitary confinement cells are tortuously small and dark.

At Premaydena, take the signposted turn-off (the C341) 13km northwest to Saltwater River and the historic site. There’s a popular, basic and beautiful camp site 4km past the Coal Mines at Lime Bay State Reserve.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Tasman Peninsula & Port Arthur attractions

1. Lime Bay State Reserve


Isolated Lime Bay State Reserve is a beautiful area (via Premaydena and Saltwater River) aflutter with rare birds and butterflies, and with some lazy…

2. Tasmanian Devil Unzoo

9.04 MILES

Taranna’s prime attraction is this 'unzoo', an unfenced enclave of native bushland where wildlife comes and goes of its own accord. Species you might…

3. Eaglehawk Neck Historic Site

10.81 MILES

Down on the Eaglehawk Neck isthmus – where once the barking Dogline dissuaded convicts escaping from Port Arthur and the Tasman Peninsula to the south –…

4. Pirates Bay Lookout

11.06 MILES

As you approach Eaglehawk Neck from the north, turn east onto Pirates Bay Dr for eye-popping views across Pirates Bay, the Neck and the jagged coastline…

5. Tessellated Pavement

11.08 MILES

At the northern end of Pirates Bay, a 10-minute trail leads to a rocky coastal terrace that has curiously eroded into what looks like tiled paving – it's…

6. Doo Town


No one is really sure how it all started, but the raggedy collection of fishing shacks at Doo Town (3km south of Eaglehawk Neck on the way to the Blowhole…

8. Stewarts Beach

12.46 MILES

Safe-swimming beach not far from the Port Arthur Historic Site.