Tasmania Itineraries - Great Nature Trail

This journey takes you along the north west coast of Tasmania into a land of spectacular capes, coastal panoramas, rich pasture, rolling hills, untouched wilderness and historic mining towns.

It is a logical extension of the circular route through Cradle Country and begins in the Port Sorell region. Here you can enjoy relaxing walks on stunning beaches and make close contact with abundant wildlife in the Narawntapu National Park, including penguins, seals and platypuses.

Driving westwards, the vehicular ferry terminus town of Devonport is soon reached. Here you can admire fine displays in the Arts centre, Maritime Museum and Imaginarium Science Centre and take a rollicking ride on the Don River Railway.

Continue on to Ulverstone, noted for its fine continental breads and pastries. Also its ravenous trout, which throw themselves onto every fishing line cast in the upper reaches of the Leven River. The next stop is Penguin, where the eponymous creatures religiously return to their sandy burrows as the sun goes down, in order to please curious humans on wildlife observation tours. A side trip is possible here to view giant freshwater lobsters - just one of the subterranean wonders of the Gunns Plains Caves.

Burnie township offers the chance to learn the secrets of commercial paper-making at the Creative Paper Mill. You can see the latest exhibition at the Art Gallery, wander back in time at the Pioneer Village, shop at the Farmer's Market and smell the floral perfumes at Emu Valley and Annsleigh gardens.

Stanley stands out as the birthplace of Australia's only Tasmanian Prime Minister, Joseph Lyons. It is also the home of 'The Nut,' a readily identifiable landmark and an extinct volcano, which soars 153 metres, dominating the town with its sheer sided walls. Stanley is an historic treasure, classified by the National Trust and visitors can see a wonderfully preserved homestead called 'Highfield.'

The Great Nature Trail still has more surprises in store at Smithton. Delicious cheeses and seafood are on the menu here. At Dismal Swamp Maze and Visitor Centre, you will find a highly interactive forest display, which includes a giant slide.

For those intrepid explorers intent on reaching the remote Cape Grim, the road continues on to Woolnorth Wind Farm. You may wish to follow the A.2 road to Marrawah surf beach and West Point, from where you can fruitlessly search the horizon for South America - this is the longest unbroken stretch of water on the planet.