Burnie & the coast

Once you leave Devonport you have the choice of heading south towards the major city of Launceston or west to Burnie and the North-West coast area. Burnie is only a half hour drive from Devonport and there is the chance to visit some pretty seaside areas including Ulverstone and Penguin. Take the coast road that winds its way beside rocky outcrops, small sandy beaches and carefully tended flowerbeds. Note the seaside rail track that still carries a vintage railcar on special occasions.

Burnie is a busy centre ringed by steep hills and some of the most fertile farming land in Australia. Its foreshore is home to major infrastructure for shipping, including huge mountains of woodchips that are exported each week. With sand and surf almost lapping at the door, Burnie’s central business and shopping district provides a thoroughfare to the beachside boardwalk and to a 17 kilometre walking trail around the city.

You may catch a glimpse of platypus just a few minutes drive east of the city at Fernglade, a tranquil retreat for picnicking or simply meandering along the banks of the Emu River. When you’ve worked up an appetite head up the hill to sample the region’s famous cheeses at the Lactos Cheese Tasting Centre and take advantage of the local prices and vast array of Tasmanian speciality.

Continue south and you’ll reach spectacular Annsleigh Gardens and Tea Rooms (open September to May) and the renowned Rhododendron Gardens (open August to February) - superb displays of more than 9,000 wild and hybrid Rhododendron.

Or further still to Australia’s biggest eucalypt tree farm - the Surrey Hills Tree Farm Estate - and enjoy a scenic drive though some of the richest farmland in Tasmania.

Return to the city via Guide Falls - a gentle cascade in summer flowing to a torrent during winter.

As you continue west other highlights are the towns of Wynyard, Stanley (with ‘The Nut’, a huge skillion butte that can be climbed on foot or via chairlift), Smithton and Marrawah, on the west coast, an area that officially has the cleanest air in the world. This journey is a reward in itself.

Burnie Town by Town listing