This is a comprehensive guide to the North West region in Tasmania. Here you will discover the many things to see and do in the region. Remember also that you can combine this itinerary with our other regional guides to create an in-depth itinerary for your ideal holiday.
Tasmania’s northern region covers the beautiful coastal towns of Devonport, Ulverstone, Burnie and Stanley, and inland the majestic Cradle Mountain and Tarkine Wilderness regions.
Devonport is the north’s main port, with the Spirit of Tasmania ferry docking at its port. Along the coastal shoreline is the Mersey Estuary where you will find Parkland, with a pleasant walking track along the foreshore. The Maritime Museum has a collection relating to early shipping activities. Home Hill was the home of Australia’s only Tasmanian-born Prime Minister Joseph Lyons, and is open to view with mementos of his Prime Ministerial days. The Tasmanian Arboretum displays trees and shrubs from around the world. Children will love the Big Big House incorporating laser skirmish, jungle gyms, the Imaginarium and indoor rock-climbing. The ever-popular Don River Railway is a heritage train ride, enjoying the area’s scenery and rail history.
A half hour’s drive east of Devonport is the beautiful and family-friendly Hawley Beach, Squeaking Point, and the charming town of Port Sorell. West of Devonport, Ulverstone and Penguin are charming towns offering great picnic spots and beaches to go swimming with the family. Heading inland from Ulverstone is the Gunns Plains Caves – limestone caves with an underground creek, and Tasmania’s largest wildlife park, Wings Wildlife Park. Leven Canyon lookout has views of the 400m gorge. There are several waterfalls in the area that are well worth a visit. The Penguin Markets are held every Sunday with over 200 stalls. Watch, from Penguin Point or Lillico Beach on the Bass Highway, as penguins make their way up the beach to rest. Dial Range has several walking tracks that offer stunning views over the north-west coast.
Burnie overlooks Emu Bay and is located 20 minutes to the west of Penguin. The beachside town is alive with plenty of activities on offer. Visit Burnie’s Regional Museum, where you will find a detailed account of Burnie’s history. The Maker’s Workshop displays local craft and wonderful life-size paper sculptures from creative paper Tasmania while also featuring Hellyer’s Road Whisky and Lactos cheese where you can do tastings. While in Burnie visit Hellyer’s Road Whisky Distillery where you can do tours of the distillery and enjoy the onsite café. Only a short drive away is Fernglade Platypus Sanctuary and Guide Falls. The Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden is a multiple award-winning rhododendron garden and known internationally for its unique designs.
West of Burnie is Wynyard, famous for its Tulip display and the Bloomin’ Tulip Festival, held every year in September/October. The area is also known for its ample trout, fly and sea fishing. Stroll along the boardwalk at the Gutteridge Gardens that leads to the banks of the Inglis River and on to Fossil Bluff. A short distance from the Wynyard wharf is the Wonders of Wynyard Exhibition Centre, home to the Ransley Veteran Car Collections and the Information Centre. Table Cape and its lighthouse are Wynyard’s most notable landmarks. Visit Fossil Bluff where you have the opportunity to see fossils in the cliff face at low tide, this is where Australia’s oldest marsupial fossil (Wynyardia bassiana) was found. Just outside Wynyard is the scenic Boat Harbour Beach and Rocky Cape National Park – a picturesque nature reserve that includes the stunning Sisters Beach and coastal caves that provide important insights into Aboriginal cultural life.
At the top north-west tip of Tasmania is Stanley, where the famous natural rock formation known as ‘the Nut’ overlooks the town. Take a chairlift ride up the Nut to view the spectacular panorama of the coast. Stanley is the departure point of the Wilderness to West Coast Tours, a fantastic journey through the rugged wilderness. The popular Stanley Seal Cruise is a 80 minute cruise that travels past the Nut, the old pioneer cemetery, eroded caves and Godfrey’s beach to Bull Rock, the breeding ground for the Australian Fur Seal – the largest and forth rarest seal species in the world.
Tarkine Forest Adventures at Dismal Swamp is a 624 hectare sinkhole located at the Northern end of the Tarkine Wilderness (20 minute west of Smithton and only 20 minutes from the beautiful Marrawah coastline). It is the largest sinkhole in the Southern Hemisphere. Ride the giant 110 metre slide to get to the sinkhole floor in 15 seconds or less or enjoy the 1.2kilometres of boardwalk in the swamp itself.
South of Stanley is Smithton, where you can try a helicopter tour over the Tarkine. The Tarkine Forest Reserve has many beautiful walks around the reserve. Head out to Lake Chisholm where a gentle half hour return walk will take you to the unique limestone sinkhole, one of only two filled with water in the state. West of Smithton is Marrawah, a popular surfing spot that has some of the biggest cold water surf breaks in the world. Cape Grim, Woolnorth Point and Homestead are in the area, as is the Roaring 40s Windfarm.
Travelling south on the C214, you will come to the popular town of Arthur River, situated on the edge of the Tarkine Wilderness. This tranquil and secluded town is home to the Arthur River Reflections Cruise, a peaceful cruise up Arthur River.
Thirty-five minutes south of Devonport, separating the Great West Tiers and the Cradle Mountain region, you will find Sheffield, the ‘Town of Murals’. Nearby, the town of Railton is noted for its topiary and Lake Barrington is one of four lakes in Tasmania classified as recreational water. At Promised Land you can visit the popular Tasmazia, a great place for the family with delicious pancakes, a gift shop, lavender farm, and the largest maze complex in the southern hemisphere.
Visit the iconic Cradle Mountain for stunning views of the Cradle Valley and an easy walk around Dove Lake at the base of the mountain. Stop at Devils @ cradle for a tour to meet the unique Tasmanian Devil. The stunning scenery and the physical challenges of the six-day Overland Track have built a national and international reputation as one of the great wilderness bushwalks.