Tasmania's Burnie

This vibrant north coast seaport has very successfully blended its pioneer history, raw natural environment and busy city life.

Burnie has a reputation as a city of excitement, pleasure and year-round fun. It boasts a great variety of lively pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants, which welcome overseas visitors in the down to earth ‘Tassie’ way.

Tasmania’s fourth largest city lies on the shores of Emu Bay, where wildlife watching is a great drawcard. A boardwalk on the foreshore leads to West Beach and a penguin observation centre, where you spot the shy little waddlers at dusk. Fern Glade has free guided excursions at dusk, to view the platypus families in Emu Creek.

Papermaking is the big popular attraction in Burnie. The Creative Paper Mill has demonstrations of the delicate art. You can make your own paper models and buy the work of local paper artists.

Burnie Railway Station is the place to be on Sundays to board the famous Market Train and shop for local produce at the Farmers Market. Other attractions are the Pioneer Village Museum, the Regional Art Gallery, Burnie Park animal sanctuary, Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden (September-November) and Annsleigh Gardens.

Travel north on the Bass Highway and the sightseeing options multiply fast, including the dramatic beaches, headlands and wildflowers in Rocky Cape National Park. The region’s waterfalls constitute a day tour to view the beautiful Guide, Dip, Waratah and Detention falls. The quaint fishing village of Stanley is a must. It nestles beneath a weird sea-sculptured, rocky crag called The Nut. Inland touring routes lead to a superb World Heritage Area wilderness in Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park.

Places to stay offer much variety. A downtown classic Art Deco building from a bygone era, has fully-serviced apartments. There are quaint and charming colonial cottages like Duck House and Mrs Philpotts. Motor lodges have fine restaurants and one comes with an Irish Bar. A National Trust listed Victorian house, offers guestrooms and a home-style cooked breakfast. An upmarket motor inn has a balcony overlooking the beach.

Cafes, restaurants and wine bars offer varied cuisine and a range of local vintage wines. A la carte restaurants include those specialising in Italian, Chinese, Mexican and fresh Aussie seafood. Nightclubs and hotels have DJ’s Thursday to Saturday, some offering karaoke. Live music venues pump out techno, dance, pop and rock music on weekends.