The North-West and West Coasts of Tasmania are beautiful at any time of year but summer is when they really shine. It’s the perfect time to take advantage of the warm weather and explore from the mountains to the sea. Here are just a few ideas when planning your summer getaway.
Canyon to Coast
As you head west from Devonport drop into the Turners Beach Berry Patch – nothing says summer like freshly harvested berries and here you can have the fun of picking your own. Or just grab a wood-fired pizza, a coffee and ice cream on your way toward Ulverstone.
To burn off the calories and for an amazing view first make the roughly 45 minute drive inland from Ulverstone to the Leven Canyon. The 1.2km circuit walk will reward you with spectacular sweeping views from Cruickshanks Lookout 275m above the Leven River.
Then, trek down the nearly 697 steps of the Forest Stairs followed by a short walk to the Edge Lookout for a different view of the canyon. To complete the experience follow the signs for a short drive and walk into the canyon floor at Canyon View.
To cool off, head back into Ulverstone and make a splash at the waterslide, go for a ride on the nearby Pedal Buggies or enjoy a more relaxing, close-up view of the waterway with Leven River Cruises, choosing from four varied tours from one to five hours.
Making your way further west along the coast you must stop at one of the most popular beaches in the region at Boat Harbour, only about 30km from Burnie. The glimpses of azure water and white sands through the trees as you wind your way down the road will take your breath away. It’s the perfect spot for a refreshing swim and lunch at the waterfront cafe, which often has live music on the weekends, as you head towards Stanley.
This isthmus with its dominant landmark affectionately known at the Nut is flanked by two beaches perfect for strolling after a feed of fish and chips or to work up an appetite for more fine dining options. It’s no wonder it’s been chosen as a filming location for the likes of Masterchef and a Hollywood film, with its historic buildings making it feel like you’re stepping back in time. Shop in some of the boutique stores then venture up the ancient volcanic plug that looms over the fishing village, either by chairlift or take the challenge of the calf-burning climb up the zig-zagging pathway. Then head out on the water with Stanley Seal Cruises for a 70-minute return trip to view Australian fur seals as they lie in the sun, feed and enjoy themselves.
From Stanley its roughly a three-hour drive down to the historic harbour town of Strahan. Break the journey at the old mining villages of Tullah, Rosebery, Queenstown or Zeehan. Take a ride on the West Coast Wilderness Railway and experience the steam rack and pinion train that was the first of its kind in Australia in the late 19th century.
You can choose between half and full day trips that allow you to explore a rainforests punctuated with feats of engineering. For a more adrenaline-pumping option combine a train trip with rafting down the King River with its exhilarating rapids or head to the Henty Dunes, 14km north of Strahan. Reaching heights of around 30 metres this series of giant dunes extends 15 kilometres along the coast. Why not try tobogganing down the dunes, take the easy 1.5 hour walk to Ocean Beach, Tasmania’s longest beach, or for a faster pace you can zoom over the sand with Strahan ATV adventures.
Finish up in Strahan, situated on the edge of Macquarie Harbour, where you can cruise down the majestic Gordon River, one of the last great untouched wilderness areas on earth.
Fun in the sun this summer!
Just a few of the many events happening in the region during the summer months:
Beach Mission, Stanley Caravan Park, January 18-21
Ulverstone Hobby, Collectables and Craft Fair, January 20-21
Taste the Harvest, Devonport, January 21
Australia Day festivities including:
- Henley-on-Mersey, Latrobe, January 26
- Mt Lyell Picnic, West Strahan Beach, January 26
- Twilight on the Duck, Smithton, January 26
- Somerest Foreshore Fiesta, January 26
- Festival of King Island January 26-28
Burnie Platypus Festival, January 28
Devonport Kite Festival, February 11
Devil Country Muster, Smithton, February 16-18
Targa North-West, February 17-18
Ghost Rock Concert in the Vines, February 24
Festival in the Park, Ulverstone, February 25
Gone Nuts 101km Run, Stanley to Table Cape, March 3
Devonport Apex Regatta, March 4
VolksFeast, Turners Beach Berry Patch, March 10
SteamFest, Sheffield, March 10-12
Forth Valley Blues Festival, March 16-17
Live at the Wharf, Ulverstone, Friday nights from 5.30pm
Words: Claire Turfrey