Tourism Industry Coincil Tasmania

Devonport. Stay a bit longer, you will regret it if you don’t.

Situated where the mouth of the Mersey River meets the notorious Bass Strait, Devonport is the ideal hub to base yourself and explore the extraordinary and often underestimated North-West Tasmania. Within a little over an hour you can travel from warm coastal beaches to the iconic highland region of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.

With a population of 25,000, Devonport has benefitted from a recent urban redevelopment project that has resulted in an outstanding central precinct. It includes a waterfront park on the banks of the Mersey River, featuring an adventure playground and elevated walkway and viewing platform. A new high-end hotel is due to open in late 2022 and a state-of-the-art sound and light show is in the pipeline for the future.

Surrounded by coastline, Devonport can highlight accessible, friendly beaches for swimming and recreation. The standout is the iconic Mersey Bluff Beach with its landmark vertically striped lighthouse. The Bluff is also home to a culturally significant area of Tasmanian Aboriginal heritage, featuring historic petroglyphs.

The city boasts many kilometres of cycle and walking tracks. The tracks easily lead you to the river front, beaches, and reserves on both sides of the Mersey River. Crossing the river is a novelty on the aptly named Spirit of Devonport ferry, mirroring, albeit in miniature, the iconic Spirit of Tasmania ferries that dominate the view of the port.

Once on the eastern shore, you can walk to Shipwreck Beach or continue to the Eastern Foreshore Heritage Walk.

To the western side of the city, the Don Reserve is packed with natural flora and fauna and follows the contours of the tranquil Don River. You can branch off the walking trail, crossing the river to Don Heads, a rocky headland peppered with columnar basalt rocks along its shore. The walk (at low tide) provides one of the most accessible and best examples of a basalt lava flow. It clearly depicts the chaos that shaped the profile of North-West Tasmanian. Subsequent marine erosion has produced a wave cut platform with monolithic basalt columns and odd geometric rock formations.

The walking trail will eventually lead to Lillico Beach Conservation Area, where in the evening you can view little penguins returning from their day foraging in Bass Strait.

Devonport has numerous visitor attractions suitable for families and travellers of all ages.

The renowned Devonport Regional Gallery presents a program of contemporary Tasmanian art and has creative learning activities on-hand for children and adults.

The Bass Strait Maritime Centre celebrates Devonport’s maritime and social history with fixed and temporary displays. Visitors of all ages will love the ship simulator, where you can test your captaining skills by attempting to berth a steamship at the Mersey River Wharf.

The heritage listed National Trust property, Home Hill, is the former residence of Tasmania’s only Prime Minister, Joseph Lyons, and his wife Dame Enid. Dame Enid is the most decorated woman in Australian history, having received a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire and a Dame of the Order of Australia. She is also the first woman elected to the House of Representatives and to hold a seat in the federal senate. You can take a tour of the property and be in awe of this extraordinary woman and witness many original artefacts of Australian political history.

Whilst on the history trend, enjoy the adventure of a unique sailing experience on board the Julie Burgess, a lovingly restored 1936 fishing ketch. Learn about the infamous Burgess fishing fleet as you sail out of the Mersey River and into the Bass Strait.

Furthermore, visit the Don River Railway and jump on a historic steam train as it winds its way along the eastern banks of the Don River on a 45-minute trip to Coles Beach.

There are many wonderful things to do in Devonport. Often overlooked as a gateway to Tasmania due to the Spirit of Tasmania ferry terminal, Devonport is being reinvented as a great place to base yourself and stay a while. Not only for the abundance of activities and attractions, but also as a hub for reaching out to the underestimated Cradle Coast region, rich with good food, paddock to plate experiences, historic towns, and natural wonder.

Devonport will encourage you to linger longer as you discover what the region has to offer. You will regret it if you don’t.

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DEVONPORT ITINERARY

Day 1: Explore Devonport

Arrive early in Devonport aboard the Spirit of Tasmania ferry. Devonport will be your base for the next four days to explore this amazing, diverse and often underestimated region of North-West Tasmania. Enjoy breakfast by the sea at Drift Beachside Café at the Mersey Bluff precinct. Take a stroll along the walkway past the blowhole and wander up to the iconic lighthouse with its distinctive vertical red and white stripes.

The Mersey Bluff is a significant Aboriginal cultural site. Walk the grounds to view historic petroglyphs and you may encounter some local wildlife. The Bluff is an extremely popular patrolled swimming beach with a fantastic playground for children to burn off some energy.

Continue on the walking track to the Bass Strait Maritime Centre, Devonport’s maritime and social history museum. Marvel at the roll-on-roll off ferries that have serviced the Strait over the years. Feeling adventurous? Test out your skills on the steamship simulator.

At midday, check in to your modern two-bedroom family apartment at the Waterfront Apartments. Your accommodation is right next door to a children-friendly café and 18-hole mini golf course, set alongside the Mersey River. Take a walk into the city or ride your bikes along the Devonport cycle and walking tracks.

The Visitor Information Centre and Devonport Regional Gallery are located at the Paranaple Arts Centre where you can pick up some maps of the region and see the most recent contemporary art exhibitions on show. The Gallery always has hands-on creative learning activities for the children and workshop space open to the public. Retail and dining options are all within walking distance. After lunch, join the 2pm guided tour of Home Hill, a National Trust property and the family home of Joseph Lyons and his wife Dame Enid. Joe was Australia’s 10th, and only Tasmanian, Prime Minister. Dame Enid is the most decorated woman in Australian history, having received a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire and a Dame of the Order of Australia. She is also the first woman elected to the House of Representatives and to hold a seat in the federal senate. Take the tour and be awe of this extraordinary woman.

Barclay Motor Inn, Gateway Hotel, Mersey Bank Apartments and Stony Rise Cottages are other wonderful options for your three-night stay in Devonport.

Day 2: Along the Coast to Stanley

Today you will indulge your senses on a day trip to the historic township of Stanley. Follow the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail as you make your way to Stanley. Indulge in berry delights or pick your own at the Turners Beach Berry Patch. For award-winning honey, pop into Mawbanna for the Blue Hills Honey Experience.

Once you arrive in the historic town of Stanley make your way to the base of the Nut. Catch a ride up on the chairlift to the top or if you feel like a workout, take the walking path. Once at the top take the one-hour circuit track and experience wonderful views along the coast.

Everyone will have worked up an appetite, so enjoy local seafood at one of the many Stanley eateries. After lunch, stroll the historic town of Stanley and visit the cottage where Joseph Lyons was born. On your drive back to Devonport call into the seaside village of Penguin and take some photos with the Big Penguin that dominates the main street. Back in Devonport, pop into Market Square and grab a pre-dinner drink at the boutique distillery or brewery, before dining at one of the many restaurants in town. At dusk head to Lillico Beach to see the little penguins return to their burrows.

Make sure you take a coat. It can be very cold waiting for the engaging little creatures to make their way up the beach.

Day 3: Cradle Mountain

Today’s adventure is to the iconic Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area. Travel via Sheffield, the town of murals to take in the majestic views of Mount Roland. Sheffield hosts an annual Mural Fest competition which attracts artists from all over the world. Grab a coffee at one of the many local cafes and continue your journey to Cradle Mountain. Take the bus into Dove Lake and walk the famous 6km track around the lake. After your walk, head to Devils at Cradle. Take a Keeper Tour of the sanctuary and learn about this charismatic and unique Tasmanian animal. Make your way back to Devonport taking in the Novelty Letterbox Trail through Wilmot, Valley of Views. There are approximately 80 extravagantly decorated letterboxes to look out for on the trail from Moina towards Forth.

Day 4: Wrap-Up and Souvenirs

Start your day at House of Anvers Chocolate Factory, tasting and retail centre, café and museum. If you visit in winter do not leave without a packet of their famous snowballs - you won’t be disappointed. Next up, visit the Tasmanian Arboretum, a 66-hectare botanic garden with a resident platypus and birdlife in abundance. Head out to Northdown for lunch at the family-owned Ghost Rock Wines. Buy direct from the cellar door and enjoy the family-friendly cafe. After lunch visit Spreyton’s award-winning Simon Martin Whips and Leathercraft. This is a unique attraction for the whole family. Next up take the extraordinary 45-minute return ride on the Don River Railway. The train runs on the Melrose Line through the beautiful Don Reserve to the junction at Coles Beach.

Enjoy a relaxing final evening in Devonport at one local restaurants overlooking Bluff Beach, taking in the evening sea view.

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