The peninsula is joined to another peninsula, Forestier Peninsula, by an isthmus called Eaglehawk Neck, around 75km by road from Hobart. This in turn is joined to the rest of Tasmania by an isthmus called East Bay Neck, near the town of Dunalley (which itself is about 60km by road from Hobart).
Although the area is named after Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, it was first settled by the British, who located a penal colony at Port Arthur. At the time, Eaglehawk Neck was lined with guards and guard dogs, to prevent the escape of any convicts.
The penal settlement of Port Arthur is now a tourist attraction - like the rest of the state, tourism is a major industry. Many other towns are located on the Tasman Peninsula, the largest of which are Nubeena and Koonya. The local government area is the Tasman Municipality and the major route to Hobart is the Arthur Highway.