Australia, Hiking with kids, Tasmania

Coal Mines Historic Site with Kids

Coal Mines Historic Site with Kids

Everyone who visits the Tasman Peninsula heads to the Port Arthur Penitentiary Historic Site right?  Well, not us.  The $99 family tickets cost exactly $49 more than our daily activities budget for Tasmania.

It looks and sounds like a fascinating place to visit, but if I’m going to blow the budget on an entry fee to something, I need to be 100% sure that my young kids won’t be bored (and therefore whiny).

I did find another awesome place that the kids loved though, The Coal Mines Historic Site.  Best of all, it’s free!

coal mines historic site
There was a lot of giggling happening as they ran around the corner to hide from mum

The Coal Mines Historic Site is #2 of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks.  It’s actually a great introduction to hiking for young kids as it’s a fairly manageable 2km circuit walk between the various ruins.

Along with the well known Port Arthur Penitentiary Site, the Coal Mines Historic Site is listed as an Australian Convict Site World Heritage property.

The worst behaved inmates at the nearby Port Arthur Penitentiary were sent to the Coal Mines for hard labour.  At one stage, it housed up to 600 convicts who worked in the underground tunnels, chipping the coal by hand and using trolleys to drag it back out.

coal mines historic site
Checking out the solitary confinement cells

The mine was closed in 1848 due to both ‘moral and financial grounds’.  Today, you can wander around the ruins of the barracks, chapel, bake house, store and officers quarters.  You can even go inside and check out the solitary cells.


The kids really enjoyed the walk around the Coal Mines Historical Site!  There is a lot of open space and freedom for young kids to walk with minimal help.  They enjoyed exploring and ‘finding’ new ruins as well as exploring the solitary confinement cells.

The fact that this is a self guided walk makes visiting with kids extremely easy.  No schedule or group to follow!

coal mines historic site
Apparently daddy is hiding from me now too!


There are a few different options for visiting all of the ruins.  Check out this page from the official webpage of the Coal Mines Historical Site.  We ended up doing something similar to walk number 2.  However, we started at the main site and walked up to the mine shaft before walking back down the dirt road to our car.


The site is open daily. No bookings or entry fee is required and toilets are available at the main car park.

The Coal Mines Historic Site is 25 minutes drive from Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula.  Travel on road B37 from Taranna or Nubeena on the Tasman Peninsula.  At Premaydena take road C 341 for approximately 13km. The final 3km is unsealed

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Look at all that green!

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