So, you’ve sailed into Burnie, the sun has been hanging low in the sky for less than an hour, and the little seaside town’s locals are also rising.
Burnie will welcome 32 cruise ships over the 2017-2018 season, and if you are one of the 39.8 per cent of passengers on board, you have not pre-booked an organised tour. Well then, what is there to do?
A lot! Let us tell you.
Stretch your legs
After the famous Burnie dockside welcome you will jump on board a bus for the quick trip to the Makers’ Workshop – the perfect place to discover more about Burnie’s papermaking history as well as sample locally-made cheese, see craftspeople at work and pick-up some of their creations to take home. From here it’s a short stroll just across the highway to the lovely Burnie Park – home to the city’s oldest building, the Burnie Inn, as well as the focus of Anzac and Remembrance Day services at the cenotaph, this undulating, landscaped park has exotic and native trees as well as a duck pond and waterfall.
For a longer walk you can take advantage of the smooth cemented pathway that runs along the coastline out to Cooee Beach, a roughly 3km trek each way. Or head along the boardwalk and continue around the edge of town, walking along the port right opposite your cruise ship, and make your way towards the yacht club and south Burnie beach. As you follow the pathway towards the Emu River you will see interpretive installations that will share more of Burnie’s papermaking history, opposite the site of the old paper mill.
If you feel like heading just out of town there are more wonderful options to explore the outdoors that will require a taxi trip or maybe even a hire care, including the impressive Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden, Fernglade with its river pathway and chance to spot platypus, as well as the magnificent Guide Falls just outside Ridgley. As you head that way make sure to detour to the lookout just up Mount St for a wonderful vista over the city and a birds-eye-view of your cruise ship in port.
Want to venture a little further along the Coast? Popular spots that are roughly a 20-minute drive away are Wynyard to the west or Penguin to the east. Wynyard is a lovely riverfront town with a charming main street filled with stores to explore, as well as nearby Table Cape, a flat-topped promontory which offers stunning views along the coast and guided tours of the historic lighthouse. With a name as cute as Penguin, it’s worth the trip just to say you’ve been there! This coastal hamlet is home to the Big Penguin, situated on the waterfront and perfect for snapping a photo with. Grab lunch at a local café and if it happens to be a Sunday wander through the market.
Explore the history and culture
Burnie’s history stretches back to its settlement by the Van Diemen’s Land Company’s chief surveyor Henry Hellyer in 1827 and for the best way to find out more about its origins make your way to the Burnie Regional Museum. Immerse yourself in the city’s bygone times by stepping back 100 years to walk down the carefully recreated Federation streetscape. You will be fascinated by the rooms packed with personal treasures, memorabilia and tools of the trade.
Next it’s just a quick walk down the street to the Burnie Regional Art Gallery, where you can soak up some culture thanks to the ever-changing selection of works from local and national artists. Currently it is hosting an exhibition of international standard, with the National Geographic 50 greatest photographs on display until April 15. The photography takes viewers through the most compelling imagery published in the magazine’s near 130-year history, exploring hidden worlds, secret stories and some amazing places on the planet.
To help you see Burnie’s history with different eyes as you walk around the city, pick up a copy of the Burnie Art Deco Trail Map (http://www.artdecotasmania.com.au) at the Makers’ Workshop or Burnie City Council Chambers on Wilson St. It was the establishment of the Associated Pulp and Paper Mills in 1938 that really saw the town boom and many buildings constructed during this time are great examples of the distinctive architectural movement.
Tempt the Tastebuds
Tasmania is well known for its delicious local produce and your stop in Burnie offers the perfect opportunity to sample some of the best the state has to offer. There are many cafes and restaurants to enjoy during your time in the city but some of the top spots include:
Rear 6 Cattley St, Burnie
Tucked away in the plaza behind the multi-storey carpark, enter through Boland’s Arcade from Wilson St. Serving contemporary food, local roasted coffee, wine, beer and cider, it’s a popular spot for breakfast and lunch.
50 Cattley St, Burnie
Located in a restored 1890s chapel, this café has a wonderful atmosphere and delicious food to match. Well known for freshly roasted coffee and local produce that is very Instagrammable.
153 Old Surrey Rd, Havenview
About a 10-minute drive from Burnie, be rewarded with views of the rolling landscape of the Emu Valley and an extensive menu in the fully licensed Distillery Cafe. While you’re there, sample some of their award-winning whisky or go behind the scenes and tour the working distillery.
2 North Terrace, Burnie
It’s hard to beat the ultimate waterfront location of Fish Frenzy. The perfect spot for brekky Friday to Sunday, a coffee or icecream, refreshing beer or wine, classic fish and chips or a range of other Australian cuisines. Upstairs you will find Bayviews Restaurants, which offers a more fine-dining option, open for lunch Thursday to Saturday.
Set in a 1920s building, Spirit Bar showcases a wide range of spirits, ciders and wines produced around Tasmania, complimented by a local produce menu. Open from 4pm Wednesday and Thursday and from 3pm Friday and Saturday.