Devonport, at the mouth of the Mersey River, is one of three major cities in Tasmania's north, the others being Launceston and Burnie. To visitors to Tasmania, it is primarily known as the port for the Spirit of Tasmania car and passenger ferries - Spirit I and II - which make daily 10-hour trips between their terminals at East Devonport and Station Pier, Melbourne.
Devonport is seen by many as a way station, not only for people travelling between Tasmania and the mainland but for travellers on the north west coast of Tasmania. It is an active seaport that handles most of the movement of produce from the farms and fisheries of Tasmania. With over 23,000 people, the City of Devonport is the largest population centre on the northern coast of Tasmania.
Where Is it?: Devonport is 102 km north west of Launcestion via Bass Highway, 47 km east of Burnie and 277 km from Hobart. It is a sea port on Bass Strait
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Located on the outskirts of Devonport at the village of Don, The Don River Railway is one of the most enjoyable railway museums in Australia. Its focus is Tasmania's trains of yesteryear, and its sizeable display includes steam and diesel engines and other rolling stock that have played an important part in Tasmania's rail history. The extensive workshop is open for visitors to wander around and see trains in various stages of restoration. Don't miss the leisurely tourist train ride along the banks of the Don River to Coles Beach.
Simon Martin Whips & Leathercraft is a one of a kind shop and a great place for the whole family. No where else in Tasmania will you be able to see Australian Stockwhips and Saddles made right under the one roof. Learn about the work that goes into crafting up to 48 strands of leather and witness the taking shape of the Worlds Longest Stockwhip, that is a 10 year project.
Mersey Bluff is an interesting coastal area featuring cliffs, seascapes, parkland and Aboriginal rock art. There are walking tracks along the coast from which to enjoy nature, or to take an early morning walk and watch the Spirit of Tasmsnia come in from Melbouren. To the west of Mersy Bluff is Don Heads. Tiagarra, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Cultural and Arts Centre, has dioramas showing the lifestyle of the Tasmanian Aborigines from the region, and is close to Aboriginal rock carvings.
Bass Strait Maritime Centre
Devonport's maritime history is celebrated at the Bass Strait Maritime Centre, which features a large collection of model ships. Devonport's seafaring connection continues today through the Spirit of Tasmania, the only passenger ferry operating across Bass Strait.
160 hectares of native bushland which abounds with many varieties of birds, skinks and wildflowers. Discover the sculpture 'Preeatenna', which means 'lizard' in the Tasmanian Aboriginal language, reinforcing the important Aboriginal cultural links to the area. Read the message on the Peace Pole, and take in the superb views of Devonport and the Mersey River Estuary. The circuit walk is 3.6km and takes 1.5 - 2hrs. Maps from the Devonport Visitor Centre. Location: top end of Durkins Rd, off Stony Rise Rd, Devonport.
In The Area
Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park
The entrance to Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park is around a 1hour 30 minute drive from Devonport. Australia's most recognisable mountain, Cradle Mountain forms the northern end of the wild Cradle Mtn. Lake St Clair National Park, itself a part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The familiar jagged contours of Cradle Mountain epitomise the feel of a wild landscape, while abundant wildlife, icy streams, alpine heathlands, colourful deciduous beech and ancient pines reflected in still glacial lakes entice many visitors to stay and explore.
A day drive from Devonport up the north west coast is highly recommended. The drive can include Burnie, Wynyard, Table Cape, picturesque village of Boat Harbour, Stanley and Circular Head, Rocky Cape National Park, Smithton, and Marrawah on the west coast. Simply follow Bass Highway west from Burnie. Off the main road you will find Trowutta caves and arch; Hellyer Gorge State Reserve; Allendale Gardens at Edith Creek. The coastal towns of Ulverstone (16km) and Penguin (28km) are to the east of Burnie on the road to Devonport. There are numerous waterfalls to visit, including Dip Falls and the giant eucalyptus tree and Guide Falls. Another recommended day trip from Burnie is a driving tour of the Great Western Tiers.
The Great Western Tiers are the northern face of the Tasmanian Central Plateau, which rises up to 1420m above sea level and is dominated by Cradle Mountain. In the foothills of the Great Western Tiers can be found a wide range of attractions both man made and natural which can be explored on this drive.
Allow a full day for the drive; add additional time if you are contemplating taking any of the bushwalks in the area or spending more time than a quick visit. The Great Western Tiers are the gateway to Tasmania's best known National Parks - Cradle Mountain, Lake St. Clair and Walls Of Jerusalem - as well as an alternative route to the west coast of Tasmania.
Leven Canyon is a 250 metre deep ravine that is part of a wildlife corridor from the coast to Cradle Mountain. The Leven River runs through 300-metre limestone cliffs carved through the Loongana Range, down to Bass Strait.
The canyon is a little-known tourist destination in Tasmania but is well woth a visit. A viewing platform offers spectacular views of Black Bluff, the canyon itself and the surrounding areas. Location: 50 km south of Devonport by road.
Hidden beneath the picturesque farmland of Gunn Plains is a fascinating world of caves, sinkholes and underground streams. Many beautiful cave formations are present, such as stalactites, stalagmites, helictites and a large array of dazzling flowstone are present in the public section of the cave. The caves host an assortment of wildlife, being inhabited by the endangered Tasmanian Giant Freshwater Crayfish, Platypus, freshwater fish and eels. Location: 41 km south of Devonport by road.
Wander through a peaceful landscape among trees from ancient times in this unique 66 glorious acres of botanical Tree Park. Follow our walks and nature trails or sit quietly and watch the waterbirds and platypus. Entry by donation. 9am to sunset. 03 6427 2690. Location: Old Tramway Road, Eugenana, 10km south of Devonport.
Ten kilometres east of the Stanley turn off, head south to the Dip River Forest reserve. The Dip Falls are 26 kilometres from the Bass Highway junction, on a good sealed road, apart from the last few kilometres, which are gravel. There are well appointed barbecue, picnic and rest room facilities. 152 steep steps descend to the bottom of the cubic-basalt formed falls, which are impressive during the winter months. The track to the accessible viewing platform is beyond the falls. The Big Tree is a couple of kilometres further on. This spot is well worth visiting and is a good family trip.