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Gourmet Traveller 2010 Travel Awards gallery
Expert Panel Awards: Best Australian Heritage Experience
Port Arthur Historic Site, Tas
Runner-up: Q Station, Manly, NSW
The phrase “hauntingly beautiful” may be one of the most hackneyed clichés in travel journalism, but it captures perfectly the intrigues of Port Arthur. This historic site is one of the prettiest ports in the country; on a sunny day there are few lovelier places to be than wandering its cottage gardens and elm avenues. But its natural beauty masks a tragic past – first as a hellish penal colony and then as the site of Australia’s worst massacre. A pilgrimage here offers a chance to learn about some of the characters who first inhabited this convict settlement, and an opportunity to contemplate the evil wreaked on this place 14 years ago when 35 tourists and workers were shot dead. Both dark episodes are treated with respect and gravity by guides and by fixed displays that don’t shy away from telling the chilling truths about the site's history. www.portarthur.org.au
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