Our suggestions for the best itineraries to make the most of holidays in Tasmania’s North West or King Island.
Arrive in Devonport by plane or on the Spirit of Tasmania
Enjoy the morning in Devonport visiting one or more of Devonport’s cultural sites including;
Travel through to Burnie via the bustling townships of Ulverstone and Penguin. Hop off the highway at Ulverstone and uncover the stories of the past in antique shops and the History Museum or plan your trip to coincide with the Cradle Coast Farmers Market on the banks of the Leven River. Take the coastal road through to charming Penguin to enjoy top class coffee, food and wine, and boutique stores.
The final stop for the day is Burnie – the City of Makers. Whisky, cheese, paper, and jewellery are just some of the wonderful local products made in this port-side town. A visit to the Makers workshop is a must.
Overnight Burnie or Wynyard
Heading West towards Stanley keep an eye out for farm gate sales and local markets – you won’t believe the variety and freshness of the local produce available.
As you travel along the coast take your time and call in at the delightful village of Wynyard, the local’s favourite holiday destination of Boat Harbour (you may never want to leave), and if time permits, the Rocky Cape National Park. You will be amazed at the lushness of the land in this scenic area with its patchwork of greens, reds and browns alongside the beautiful blues of Bass Strait.
On arrival in Stanley call into the Visitor Information Centre to book your accommodation (two nights are recommended) and plan the next day’s explorations.
Overnight Stanley or Smithton
The options are endless in this beautiful part of the world. You could;
Spend the day in Stanley exploring the beautifully restored Bass Strait fishing village with its tiny, brightly painted cottages neatly terraced on the lower slopes of The Nut – an extinct volcanic plug. Perhaps you might like to climb to the top of The Nut (or if you feel like taking a more leisurely approach a chairlift is available), explore historic Highfield House, view seals, penguins or platypus, and in the afternoon head to The Angel’s Share, a showcase of Tasmania’s finest beverages. Whatever you choose to do you simply must indulge in some of the amazing local seafood.
Discover the Tarkine – the 447,000-hectare wilderness area is Australia’s largest tract of unprotected temperate rainforest. The Tarkine remains a hidden treasure which speaks for itself when you visit. Take the time to appreciate the spirit of this magical place with a forest walk, self-guided drive on the new Tarkine Drive, or tranquil river cruise.
Surely it isn’t time to leave yet? Have you seen everything you wanted? Maybe you could just squeeze in one or two more of this beautiful region’s experiences before its time to head home? Coffee overlooking the crystal clear waves or lunch by the fire in one of the cosy pubs along the way perhaps?
Head back to the airport more relaxed than you imagined possible. What a fantastic short break in Tasmania’s North West to tell your friends about!
With exploration and foodie fulfilment in mind head off from Launceston towards Devonport and the North West.
Start out sweet and satisfy your raspberry cravings at the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm in Elizabeth Town. A few short kilometres down the road is cheese, glorious cheese at Ashgrove Farm Cheese. Indulge, learn a thing or two about cheese making, and wave to herd of dairy cows as you head out the gate.
On the outskirts of Latrobe is the House of Anvers providing decadent chocolate truffle treats. There are so many options you’ll need to stock up and indulge every day of your holiday!
As you journey through the fertile farmlands the Seven Sheds Brewery at Railton beckons connoisseurs of real ale. This little town enthrals curious visitors with sculptured hedgerows, a testament to the imaginative island locals in this area.
Just a little further and you’ll discover Sheffield – the perfect spot for an overnight stay.
The perfect day for sleeping in and enjoying the famous Tasmanian country hospitality. Once you are up and about Sheffield is a wonderful town to explore with a magnificent display of murals at every turn. Big is better in Sheffield where the town itself has become a canvas for the world’s art.
You’ll find the natural countryside a lovely setting to pursue your artistic and taste orientated pursuits. Discover the multitude of boutique cellar doors showcasing the best of Tasmanian cool climate wines, beer and delicious nibbles as you journey down towards the coast.
The port city of Devonport sits on the banks of the Mersey River; a lovely spot to rest your well-nourished body. Select from one of the cosy establishments along the banks of the river to watch the Spirit of Tasmania depart in the evening. Overnight – Devonport
Leaving Devonport this morning turn west towards Ulverstone. Before reaching the riverside town head inland to explore the famous caves and sinkholes of Gunns Plains.
Gunns Plains Caves runs tours taking visitors underground to marvel at the stunning cave formation, rich colours and sparkling crystals that are hidden beneath the picturesque farmland. Whilst in this beautiful natural area you could also visit Wings Wildlife Park, take a walk in the depths of the Leven Canyon, or ascend to its heights for spectacular views.
Call into riverside Ulverstone for some afternoon tea before journeying on toward Burnie. Explore the creative heart of Burnie at the Makers workshop before settling in for the evening and overnight.
As you heading towards Stanley today why not call in to some of the townships along the way. At the coastal hamlet of Wynyard is the Wonders of Wynyard exhibition centre with its high class vintage car display that will appeal to car lovers. It is also a great stop over to showcase what you can find locally – why not grab some of the fresh local produce for a picnic today?
On the way to Stanley, zip down the hill to a gem of a beachside hamlet the locals adore; Boat Harbour. Grab a coffee and stroll along the pure white sand for a touch of paradise. Rocky Cape National Park is another great place to take a short stroll – the Tasmanian Aboriginal history of this stunning place is intriguing.
When you arrive in Stanley the options are endless – if you arrive early enough you can climb the Nut (or take the chairlift) for a birds-eye view of Australia’s prettiest fishing village; stroll the art galleries and craft shops along High Street; visit the Stanley Seaquarium to learn about unique Tasmanian sea life; fish yourself or enjoy fine seafood with the freshest local ingredients available. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn of the past while you enjoy the present at historic Highfield House. Overnight Stanley
Make day five a real adventure! Ride a twisting 110-metre slide to the bottom of Dismal Swamp at Tarkine Forest Adventures before taking a cruising on the Arthur River. Journey deep into the pristine wilderness of the Tarkine where a sea eagle will dive with majestic precision to seize an offered fish, and the trees will rise to the sky and sink to the deep in their mirrored reflection.
The adventurous can surf the big Southern Ocean swell at Marrawah, watch the breakers at the Edge of the World or try a Woolnorth Dinner and Devil Tour to witness the wonder of a Tasmanian Devil as he feeds at dusk.
Exhausted from an exhilarating day Tall Timbers in Smithton is ideal for a restful night. Overnight Smithton
Head back to your point of departure fortified from your Tasmanian adventure with a tale of the exotic, the extraordinary and the wonderful that from five short days will give memories to inspire the spirit for a lifetime.
Awake to the Captain’s morning welcome as the Spirit of Tasmania sails into Devonport; the city with spirit on the banks of the Mersey River. If sailing is not your preferred method of travel, Qantaslink fly direct from Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport to Devonport where you can pick up a hire car.
Whether arriving by boat or plane when you hit the road head west for a short drive to Ulverstone. Nestled between rolling farm hills and the sea, Ulverstone is a delightful riverside town. The town is parking meter-free so you can linger longer; tuck into some local produce for breakfast or a snack, enjoy some retail therapy, or take a walk along the waterfront.
If you’re ready to explore, head inland to Gunns Plains and the inspiring Leven Canyon. You can delve into the glowworm-lit Gunns Plains Caves or get up close and personal with Tasmanian Devils, wombats, wallabies and more at Wings Wildlife Park.
Hint: As you travel in the North West keep an eye out for local markets, farmers markets and farm gate sales – the variety and freshness of the local produce is well renowned.
Overnight – Ulverstone or Penguin
Begin your leisurely travels west along some of the most amazing and accessible coastline and be sure to stop at the many picturesque lookouts and towns. Take the coastal road through to charming Penguin to enjoy top class coffee, food and wine, and boutique stores.
The portside city of Burnie beckons so allow time to explore the Makers Workshop, a celebration of past and present local artisans. The diversity and creativity of ‘makers’ are showcased in this dedicated facility including live demonstrations and an engaging Paper Tour. Visitor Information can be collected at the centre and read over lunch as you enjoy a break in the café.
Back on the road and the coastal hamlets of Wynyard and Boat Harbour await. Visit the Wonders of Wynyard exhibition centre for a world-class display of historic cars and grab some of the fresh local produce for your dinner tonight. On arrival in beautiful Boat Harbour take a stroll along the pure white sand – a little touch of paradise.
Overnight – Boat Harbour
Travelling west again today and the historic fishing village of Stanley, in the shadows of the iconic landscape feature The Nut, is the next destination.
The Nut, an extinct volcanic plug that reaches out into Bass Strait, is easily visible not only on the approach to town but right along the coastline from Burnie. An invigorating walk to the top is well worth the effort (a chair lift is available if you prefer the more leisurely approach) to take in the beautiful views.
Back in town and join a land or sea tour to view wildlife such as seals and penguins. Discover stories of the region’s past at the historic Highfield House, time for a spot of fishing or watch the fresh catch from the sea come ashore at Stanley Wharf. Late afternoon is the perfect time to pop into The Angel’s Share, offering tastings and sales of Tasmania’s finest whiskies and spirits and showcasing local artisan giftware.
Overnight – Stanley
The air is so fresh (some say the cleanest in the world) at the Edge of the World on Tasmania’s far North West coast. Throw in a stone, make a wish and then enjoy a cruise on the Arthur River as you wind your way deep into the Tarkine.
If you are lucky to be on the West Coast on a wet and windy day you may get to experience why Marrawah is popular with big wave surfers – a truly stunning display of nature in its most impressive form. Travel on via the Tarkine Drive and call into Sumac Lookout to see for yourself why this wilderness area is so magical and unique.
Overnight – Smithton
Head back along the coast towards Burnie and visit Australia’s largest single malt whisky distillery, Hellyers Road Distillery. Sample for yourself the 2013 Best New World Whiskey (Pinot Noir Finish varietal) or some of the other divine whisky products available.
Wrap up warm and keep some whisky for the fireside tonight as you turn inland towards Cradle Mountain. Take a walk around Dove Lake, view the Devils at Devils@Cradle, be pampered at Waldheim Alpine Spa or view the amazing images at the Wilderness Gallery – there’s no shortage of inspiring sights and experiences in this Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Overnight – Cradle Mountain
Leaving the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park head to Sheffield – a town adorned with murals. Take the audio tour (bookings at the Sheffield Visitor Centre) to learn about their colourful stories.
Choose a tasting journey as you start the descent towards the coast; wine lovers choose Lower Barrington with a visit to Barringwood Park Vineyard, beer lovers choose Railton’s Seven Sheds microbrewery for tastings and a chat with the brewer. Either will eventually make your way to Latrobe. Wander through the Axeman’s Hall of Fame, be amazed at the retail delights of Reliquaire and treat your taste buds to an exquisite chocolate experience at the House of Anvers. Turn the car towards the beachside township of Port Sorell and call into Ghost Rock Vineyard – plan your evening and book your accommodation over a glass of their finest.
Narawntapu National Park at sunset is where wildlife comes to graze – wallabies, kangaroos, wombats and pademelons make this a must-see for those wanting to view Tasmanian wildlife in its natural environment.
Overnight – Port Sorell/Shearwater
Spend the day exploring the region’s largest city: Devonport. Why not try some, or all, of the following options;
Relax and enjoy your final day but keep an eye on the time – you don’t want to miss your flight or your cruise home…or do you?
Pushed for time? Try this whirlwind tour for the best of King Island.
Begin the day with a hearty breakfast at Renae’s Café washed down with a cup of their excellent coffee. Don’t forget to pick the brains of the locals about what’s on this weekend and where to go.
Pick up your pre-ordered hamper from Foodworks and hit the road for Cape Wickham at the far northern end of the island. Allow time to stop on the way for a walk along Yellow Rock River to see the remains of The Shannon which was wrecked on King Island in 1906. Don’t hang about too long enjoying the view, we’ve got deadlines to meet, but if you’re a keen ornithologist have a look along the river trail to see what you can spot on the way back to the car –this is a very popular nesting area.
Keep heading north until you see the sign for Disappointment Bay. This is one of the best beaches on the island and ideal for a paddle or a spot of beach fishing.
All that sea air will probably have you feeling a bit peckish so we recommend taking the short trip to the 150-year-old Cape Wickham Lighthouse. Here you can enjoy your lunch in and try to work out how they managed to build the largest lighthouse in the southern hemisphere at such a remote location.
After your rest you’ll be ready for a visit to Pennys Lagoon and Lake Martha Lavinia; the latter being a great swimming spot (if you are brave enough at this time of year!) and a rare perched lake. Take a walk around the lake or perhaps save yourself for a longer walk on Martha Lavinia Beach, one of the best (and emptiest) surf beaches in the world – make sure you rug up!
If you can tear yourself away from the beauty of this beach then it’s probably time to head back to town. After a freshen up choose from the variety of local eateries in Currie for a delicious dinner and a well-deserved drink.
Overnight – Currie
Pop into Harbour Road this morning for an enlivening coffee and homemade treats. The itinerary takes you south today so you might want to grab another hamper full of delicious local produce for the road.
Drive carefully on the gravel roads taking in the beautiful coastal scenery on your way towards Surprise Bay. The Calcified Forest is a must-see, as are the spectacular Seal Rocks, the starting point of one of the loveliest walks on The Grazing Trail. Tucked away at this end of the island The Sealer’s Wall is a haunting reminder of why so few seals are found on the island today.
Make your way towards Grassy and the harbour, including and a visit to Portside Links along the way. Once a golf club, this unique facility now includes quality accommodation and a delightful gallery exhibiting a range of work by local artists.
The island offers unique nature experiences including the chance to see Platypus on a guided tour or seeing the Fairy Penguins at Grassy Harbour. Head down at dusk to see these enchanting creatures but remember to follow the signed advice to protect the penguins from harm.
Dine at King’s Cuisine in Grassy to cap off your day.
Overnight – Grassy
Departure day already – time certainly flies when you are having fun.
Located only ten minutes from the airport you simply must call into King Island Dairy to pick up some cheese to take home with you.
Don’t be surprised if you start planning your next trip to King Island the moment you get home – this beautiful place is so hard to resist.
Lazy days on the beach not your sort of thing? Burn off the cheese with this non-stop schedule.
Start your activities in Currie with a hearty breakfast at Renae’s or from the King Island Bake-house before heading to the King Island Golf and Bowling Club for a round on this beautiful and challenging links course. Warm yourself afterwards at Harbour Road with a bowl of homemade soup and then stretch the legs and join King Island Rambles with a climb to the top of Currie Lighthouse.
In the afternoon take your wetsuit, surfboards and fishing rods to British Admiral Beach. This beach is an excellent place to learn to surf (and was recently voted one of the Top 101 Australian Beaches) and is also a very popular fishing beach. If you’ve purchased a licence you might even like to dive for crayfish or abalone
If you don’t have any luck with your fishing or diving then head back to Currie and see what local fish is on the menu at Parers Hotel.
Overnight – Currie
Up early and head to Naracoopa on the east coast for a walk along the peaceful foreshore or out to the end of the restored jetty. After a breakfast of bacon and eggs on the foreshore burn off the carbs with a stroll past Rocky Glen Retreat towards Fraser Bluff – part of the Grazing Trail walks located throughout the island.
Visit Bert’s Café for an alfresco lunch overlooking the foreshore before popping on your beanie and taking another highly recommended walk along Nine Mile Beach. It’s a pristine place ideal for searching for seashells; you may even find the very rare, beautiful and fragile nautilus shell.
Overnight – Currie
Time to saddle- up with Mick and Eliza from King Island Trail Rides. Rides can be as long or short as you like ranging from one hour to three days. If you take the three-day option you’ll need to extend your flight ticket but it will be worth it as you travel up the west coast from their farm at Badger Box Beach to Cape Wickham Lighthouse and around to Disappointment Bay. If you decide on a more leisurely ride, head back to Currie in the afternoon and try out one of the other eateries for dinner.
Grassy is on the ‘to do’ list today but there are no breakfast or lunch options available so don’t forget to bring your own. Join a platypus tour with Ondrea Richards who boasts of a 100% success rate in spotting these incredible egg-laying mammals. Afterwards head to the starting point of the South East Grazing Trail which will take you down through the old mine, along Sand Blow Beach and past Grassy Harbour. Pop into the Portside Links Gallery to enjoy work by local artists with refreshments.
As the sun begins to fall, await the arrival of the Fairy Penguins returning from their day at sea. Head to the end of the breakwater for the best views. Please remember to follow the advice on the signs to ensure you minimise the impact on these beautiful locals.
Afterwards, dine at King’s Cuisine where Steve will cook up a wonderful array of local produce and finish your meal with one of his fantastic deserts or some of the famous local cheese.
Overnight – Grassy
Book your stay with John and Rhonda at Naracoopa Holiday Cottages to learn about some of the best spots for bird watching on King Island and hear about the local species. Top tip – Download the Birds of King Island guide before you arrive.
Head off towards Sea Elephant River, King Island’s only tidal river, which is a haven for water birds and sits at the southern end of the RAMSAR listed Lavinia Nature Reserve. Lunch here with a picnic hamper ordered from Foodworks featuring plenty of delicious local produce.
Next, take a leisurely drive towards Currie and past King Island Alpacas. Hosts, Les and Anne, will be very happy to show you around and explain how they make their yarn from alpaca wool. Take a detour along Bicentennial Road (between Reekara Road and Ridges Road) for a look to the east where you’ll see the regrowth of many King Island native flora species following a devastating fire in 2007.
Back in Currie head towards British Admiral Beach and explore the tracks through the sand hills. Keep an eye out for the wallabies that have made most of the tracks you walk along. Keep on to the other end of British Admiral and follow the track to Badger Box Beach. At the end of this smaller beach, you’ll find a Short Tailed Shearwater colony. These incredible birds leave King Island in late April and spend the southern winter around the Aleutian Islands in North America before returning in spring to reclaim their nesting burrows and rearing just one chick.
After this beautiful walk, it’s time to head back to Currie for a hearty dinner at one of the local eating houses and a good night sleep.
Head along the coastal South Road, past the Ettrick River and Pearshape Lagoon until you see the signs for the Copperhead Cliff Walk, Seal Rocks and the Calcified Forest. This area is one of the most spectacular on King Island and it would be easy to spend most of your day here.
After your picnic lunch, meander along the coast towards the southernmost point of King Island at Stokes Point.
Stokes Point Light is a good landmark to keep an eye on as you explore the rocky coastline. At certain times of the year, locals come to harvest natural sea salt from the shallow hollows in these rocks. A rather less peaceful harvesting was carried out here in the past, evidence of which is the Sealer’s Wall about 1km south of Surprise Bay. On the way back to town stop off at the Huxley Hill Wind Farm to learn about King Island’s renewable energy program. Alternatively, head to Naracoopa and enjoy the scenery while dining at Rocky Glen Retreat and Restaurant.
Book a Platypus tour with local guide, Ondrea who can claim a 100% success rate in spotting these unusual creatures. After seeing the platypus head towards the South East Trail which starts in the old mining town of Grassy and continues through the old scheelite mine to Sandblow Beach. Keep your eyes open for local flora and fauna and bear in mind that you may have to get your feet wet in the small creeks that cross this path depending on the time of year.
On the way back towards Grassy, pop into Portside Links for a look at the gallery featuring local art and then continue on to Grassy Harbour to witness the daily dusk return of the Fairy Penguins from their ocean workplace.
Dine at King’s Cuisine where Steve serves up a range of local foods in an inventive style.
Take a King Island Trail Ride which offers both short and long adventures through winding sandy tracks and across beautiful beaches and a great opportunity to witness the local bird and wildlife.
Yellow Rock Beach and Yellow Rock River offer an opportunity to see a range of shorebirds and waders. If you’re coming from Currie and travelling by car make sure you follow the signs to the bird hide along Heddles Road.
Travel to the top of the island to see the 150-year-old Cape Wickham Lighthouse made from locally quarried stone. Eat your lunch in the picnic shelter before you head off on the Cape Wickham to Victoria Cove Grazing Trail. Stop at Pennys Lagoon to see an example of a perched lake, one of only three in the world. Lavinia Beach is a stunning setting and is also considered to be one of the world’s best surf beaches. There is a gentle walk on the Pennys Lagoon Loop where you’ll see some interpretative signage and may catch sight of a wallaby. Keep an eye out while on the beach for well-camouflaged shorebird nests and also for the beautiful shells which can be found here.
If you’re heading back to Currie, pay a visit to the Kelp Factory where sea kelp is hung, dried and processed before being exported. Visit the office and ask for the key to the Visitors Centre for further information about this fascinating process.
Before you leave King Island there are two more creatures whose acquaintance you must make. Penicillium Roquefort and Penicillium Camemberti are the bacteria that respectively make blue and white cheese so tasty. You’ll be hard pushed to see them but you are invited to sample them at the Fromagerie, adjacent to the King Island Dairy on North Road. You’ll definitely want to take some these King Island creatures home!