Cities and townshipsEdit
One of the joys of north west Tasmania is to take the time to drive the secondary roads of the region and appreciate the natural beauty you will find. Take a map! The road system has evolved from the tracks of the earliest European settlers and is correspondingly haphazard. This region of the state contains rich red-brown soil which the locals claim will grow babies if you plant them in it. As a result, the roadsides abound with crops, pasture, dairy and beef cattle, sheep, and small family farms. The region also contains significant holdings of state and private forest. The road system is such that excursions can be planned in loops which don't necessarily involve re-tracing one's wheel tracks at the end of the day. Some of the best travel loops include:
- Devonport - Deloraine - Mole Creek - Mount Roland - Sheffield - Devonport
- Devonport - Sheffield - Cethana - Moina - Cradle Mountain - Ridgley - Burnie
- Burnie - Ridgley - Waratah - Hellyer Gorge - Yolla - Wynyard - Burnie
- Smithton - Montague - Woolnorth - Marrawah - Togari - Smithton (contains section of gravel surfaced road)
- Smithton - Togari - Marrawah - Arthur River - Couta Rocks - Roger River - Edith Creek - Smithton (contains section of gravel surfaced road)
After thousands of years of isolation enjoyed by the Aboriginal inhabitants of this region, white settlement began with the establishment of the Van Diemen's Land Company at Woolnorth in 1826. Such change was not without conflict, and echoes of that conflict exist today. Nevertheless, astute visitors can be exposed to significant elements of that history. Middens, like small dunes, remain to attest to the history and culture of the Aboriginal ancestors; Woolnorth remains; settlers and explorers are remembered in the nomenclature; early architecture survives; and community cemeteries read like storyboards.
Rex Airlines flies four times a day in and out of Wynyard (Burnie Airport), usually for around $160 per person, each way. Qantas also flies five times a day in and out of Devonport for around AU$160 per person, each way. The Spirit of Tasmania is the ferry service that operates from Devonport. It sails daily from Devonport and Melbourne in the evening and in the morning on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Vehicles and other cargo such as trailers are able to be taken aboard (although it can be very expensive). Fares are typically around $100 per person each way and around $400 for a vehicle each way.
The best way to see this region is by car. There's a maze of side roads off the main highway so be sure to take a good map with you.
The main population centers are serviced by local bus networks provided by:
- Metro Tasmania provides bus services for between Wynyard and Ulverstone.
- Mersey Link provides services between Devonport and Latrobe.
Two major companies which provide services around the state are:
Port Sorell, Hawley & Shearwater; The Dial Range; Table Cape; Cradle Mountain; Leven Canyon; Hellyer Gorge; Boat Harbour Beach; Rocky Cape National Park; The Nut; Woolnorth; Arthur River.
See and doEdit
There are many beaches all along the coastline, these are the most visited:
- Boat Harbour Beach - A beautiful little beach in a small bay with turquoise waters. Approximately 20 minutes from Wynyard.
- Godfreys Beach - At Stanley. A beautiful beach with stunning views of The Nut.
- Greens Beach - At Marrawah, 1 hr 45 min west of Burnie. Known as a good location for surfing, kitesurfing and windsurfing.
- Sisters Beach - Approximately 30 minutes from Wynyard.
- Somerset Beach - Located between Wynyard and Burnie, this is a nice swimming beach. The town centre is a few minutes walk from the beach.
All caves must be done with a tour guide which is included with the entrance fee which is bought at the cave entrances. Tours run seven days a week. All tours are approximately 45 minutes in duration.
- Gunns Plains Cave - 30 km south of Ulverstone. The tour times are from 10AM-4PM on the hour.
- King Solomon Cave - 16 km from Mole Creek. Named for its profusion of light-reflecting calcite crystals, conjuring up images of the legendary King Solomon’s mines.
- Marakoopa Cave - Close to Mole Creek. A cave of large caverns and extensive areas of flowstone formations. This cave also offers the best glow-worm display of any tourist cave in Australia.
- AGFEST - A renowned annual agricultural field day held in Tasmania. It was first held in 1983 and is run by the Rural Youth Organisation of Tasmania with profits assisting Tasmania Rural Counselling. It has grown to the state's largest single event and attracts up to 70,000 visitors during three days in May each year at the 200-acre (80 ha) site in rural Carrick.
- Bloomin Tulips Festival (Wynyard) - An annual celebration of everything that is colourful, beautiful and charming about not only the tulips that adorn Table Cape, but also our the Waratah-Wynyard municipality.
- Burnie Shines - A month long festival held every October. See website for details.
- Chocolate Winterfest  (Latrobe) - Latrobe's wickedly delicious festival celebrating all things chocolate.
- Devonport Jazz - Annual music festival featuring artists from interstate as well as Tasmania's leading jazz musicians, Devonport Jazz is a celebration of all jazz genres - both old and new. Devonport Jazz breaks the mould by incorporating elements of education, food, visual art, dance and film into the traditional jazz festival program.
- Festival in the Park (Ulverstone) - A major celebration of lifestyle, food, wine and entertainment of Tasmania's North West Coast. It is held in Anzac Park on the banks of the beautiful Leven River.
- Forth Valley Blues Festival - The festival has showcased some of the very best in Australian Blues & Roots music talent, with both home grown Tassie acts and great mainland names.
- Mural Fest (Sheffield) - The International Mural Fest is a truly unique art competition that is held annually in Sheffield - the 'Town of Murals', in Tasmania, Australia, commencing Easter Sunday every year.
- Taste of the North West (Sheffield) - A showcase of Tasmania’s North West region’s finest food and beverages, held in the picturesque King George V Park with majestic Mount Roland as a backdrop. End of April.
- Taste The Harvest (Devonport) - The aim of the festival is to celebrate the diversity of fantastic produce that is available on the North West Coast.
- Brickendon - One of Tasmania's oldest farming properties, settled in 1824 by William Archer, the farm has been continuously operated and lived on by his direct descendants, now in their 7th generation.
- Don River Railway
- Highfield Historic Site - Located at Stanley. Built from 1832 to 1835 for the chief agent of the Van Diemen's Company. The State Government purchased the house in the early 1980s when it was in a dilapidated state. Today the house has been restored and invites visitors to look through the beautiful old building and grounds, read the interpretation and ask the guides for any information about the early history of Stanley.
- Latrobe - The township of Latrobe is one of the finest historical towns in Tasmania.
- Waldhiem - Located in the Cradle Valley. Gustav and Kate Weindorfer built the rustic home and guest chalet in 1912.
- Burnie Farmers Market - 1st & 3rd Saturday of every month 8AM to 12:30PM. Up to 50 stalls of both fresh produce and crafts. Wivenhoe Show Grounds, Smith Street, Burnie.
- Devonport Farmers Market - 2nd & 4th Saturday of every month 8:30AM-noon. Devonport Showgrounds, off Gunn Street.
- Don Village Market - Situated opposite Don River Railway, Don Village Market is run every Sunday, specialising in homemade crafts and produce. Outdoor and undercover stalls are available catering for approximately 50 stalls from homespun goods through to the garden enthusiasts.
- Latrobe Market - Every Sunday, Latrobe hosts its popular street market which has a little bit of everything from antiques and crafts to fresh produce and home made preserves. This market will delight the treasure trove enthusiasts, antiques collectors, food and vegetable buffs. Something to please everybody.
- Penguin Undercover Market - The Penguin Market is one of Tasmania's largest markets offering over 200 stalls under cover. This makes Penguin Market one of the only all weather markets. The Market has quality product lines, which include fresh produce, fine Tasmanian woodwork, jewellery, fashion, giftware, hand made craft and home wares. There is also an International food court, which includes pizza and pasta, an espresso bar, souvlaki, seafood, Asian food, an ice cream bar, juice and health food.
- Sheffield Town Hall Market - Held every third Saturday of each month from 9AM to 2PM with stalls along High Street and inside the Town Hall. Stalls include second hand goods, preserves, live poultry, biscuits and cakes, handcrafts and handmade gifts, stationary supplies, fresh produce, coffee and yummy food.
- Made with Love Market Bazaar (Wynyard) - A hidden gem of a market held every second Saturday of the month. Market goers can purchase reasonably priced high quality locally handmade homewares, jewellery, candles, fashion, baby/children's wear and toys, plants and locally grown produce, speciality cakes/sweets and nanna style home baking.
- Wynyard Farmers Market - 2nd & 4th Saturday of every month 8:30AM to noon. Wynyard Showgrounds, Jackson St Wynyard.
- Wynyard Foreshore Market - 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month from 8:30AM to around 12:30PM. Wynyard Waterfront, Old Bass Highway.
Museums & galleriesEdit
- Burnie Regional Museum  - History of Burnie and surrounds.
- Burnie Regional Art Gallery  - Three galleries exhibiting a permanent collection and local, state and national exhibitions.
- Bass Strait Maritime Centre  - Located in Devonport.
- Wonders of Wynyard - Showcases local artists, history and products. Also home to an impressive collection of vintage cars.
- Devonport Gallery  - Open M-F 10AM-5PM, Sa noon-5PM, Su and public holidays 1-5PM.
- Devonport Regional Gallery - Presents an annual program of exhibitions, education and public programs including events and workshops.
- Makers' Workshop  - Located in Burnie. The Makers' Workshop is a place that honours Burnie's history, makers, innovators and artists.
- Mural House (Sheffield) - Specialises in murals inspired by native art from a range of cultures, painted by the artist on the interior walls of her home.
- Stanley Artworks Studio Gallery - Stanley Artworks seeks to illustrate the Tasmanian identity through a distinctive selection of contemporary Tasmanian art and craft. Representing more than 50 Tasmanian artists, the Gallery features a diverse range of work in a vibrant program of exhibitions.
- Tiagarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre & Museum - Offers guided tours and thousands of different artifacts arranged in many different displays to encompass the Aboriginal heritage of the area.
- The Wilderness Gallery  (Cradle Mountain) - Photographing wild places needs a mix of physical toughness, extraordinary skill and emotional sensitivity. See the captivating results in The Wilderness Gallery, Tasmania's unique purpose-built showcase for environmental photography. These beautiful and dramatic images from photographers based in Australia and around the world will excite your imagination, lift your spirits and expand your horizon.
There are also plenty of walks available in all of the region's national parks. There are many walks available unlisted here and if you wish to undertake any of these you should seek the appropriate guidebooks and maps. Tasmania's weather can be unforgiving so you must be prepared for all types of weather. It is possible to join walks by the North West Walking Club.
- Devils Gullet - Near Mole Creek. A stunning lookout platform overhanging sheer cliff face, with views to Cradle Mountain across the huge chasm of Fisher River Valley.
- Dial Range - Views along the coast and looking down on Penguin.
- Great Western Tiers - A collection of mountain bluffs in the northern part of the Central Highlands. Lots of day walks.
- Hellyer Gorge - A number of walking tracks along the banks of the Hellyer River.
- Leven Canyon - Enjoy spectacular sweeping views from Cruickshanks Lookout 275 m above the Leven River.
- Mount Roland - Spectacular 360-degree views.
- The Nut - A walking track climbs to the summit, or you can take the chairlift. Spectacular views across Bass Strait beaches and over the Stanley.
- Overland Track - The most famous bushwalk in Australia, ranking with some of the worlds best walks.
- Penguin Cradle Trail - A 5- to 7-day walk from Penguin to the Cradle Valley.
- Sisters Beach - Walk to Anniversary Bay, or follow Postmans Track to Rocky Cape. Or just stoll along the beach.
- South Arthur Forests - Julius River, Lake Chisholm, Milkshakes Hills, and Sumac Lookout.
- St Valentines Peak - Views stretching from the coast to the north and Cradle Mountain to the south. (4h30m)
- Bridle Veil Falls - Near Lemonthyme Lodge Wilderness Retreat at Moina, near Cradle Valley. (4 hr)
- Champagne Falls - Another hour past Bridle Veil Falls. (6 hr)
- Dip Falls - 10 km east of the Stanley turn off, head south to the Dip River Forest reserve. The Dip Falls are 26 km from the Bass Highway junction, on a good sealed road, apart from the last few kilometres, which are gravel.
- Guide Falls - This is a popular picnic area just south of Burnie, near Ridgley. An easy walking track to the base of the two-tiered falls is a few hundred metres upstream.
- Lewis Falls and Oxley Falls - On the track into Lees Paddocks.
- Liffey Falls - Off the Lake Highway along Riversdale Road. (40 min)
- Meander Falls - A one-hour drive from Launceston or Devonport. (6 hr)
- Montezuma Falls - At 104 m high, these are some of the most impressive waterfalls in Tasmania. Follow the gravel road from the Murchison Highway (A10), 2 km south of Rosebery, to the former township of Williamsford. (7 km, 3 hr)
- Pencil Pine Falls and Knyvet Falls - 100 metres downstream from the bridge, at the entrance to the Cradle Mountain National Park. Knyvet Falls is short stroll away. Just follow the nature track. (30 min)
- Philosopher’s Falls - 10 km from Waratah. (1 hr 30 min)
- Waratah Falls - At Waratah.
- Winterbrook Falls - South of Nietta, close to the Leven Canyon, at the northern end of Black Bluff Range. (6 hr)
Every town has at least one pub.
As far as nightlife, the only party scenes are in Burnie and Devonport.
- Hellyers Road Distillery (Whisky Distillery & Cafe)  - Australia's largest distiller of single malt whisky and proudly Tasmanian. Distillery tours available.
The roads here are rarely straight nor level. They are often narrow, and occasionally damp and slippery.
About 5% of often-travelled roads are gravel surfaced. They are working roads and often contain log and haulage trucks. Where possible check your road maps, most maps indicate unsealed roads. Some hire car contracts require you to not traverse the unsealed roads, read them carefully.
Your travel times and planning should be adjusted to ensure that you have plenty of time to arrive at your destination. As a general rule of thumb, allowing one hour to travel 70 km should provide for relaxed and comfortable travel and plenty of time to enjoy travel breaks.
- along and across the North Coast to - Northeast Tasmania - passing through Devonport and Launceston
- travelling the immediate South to - West Coast
- further away - East Coast and leading down to the Southeast Tasmania and Hobart