Burnie

Industrial port turned artisanal mecca on the northwest coast

WHAT SPARKS YOUR INTEREST?

Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden - Over 20,000 rhododendrons and other plants set among 11 hectare. The garden is widely known internationally and is one of Australia's major rhododendron gardens. The Gardens are also home to echidna, platypus and a wide range of bird life.

Hellyers Road Distillery
Image thanks to: Tourism Australia & Graham Freeman

Burnie Regional Museum (previously known as Pioneer Village Museum)
Image thanks to: Tourism Tasmania & Rick Eaves

Makers' Workshop Interpretation Centre
Image thanks to: Tourism Tasmania & Melinda Ta

Burnie city at night
Image thanks to: Tourism Tasmania & Gina Fynearts

Hellyers Road Distillery - Australia’s largest boutique distillery and the only distillery in northern Tasmania. Producing whiskies of the highest quality and they are continual winners of Australian and international awards.
Image thanks to: Rob Burnett Images

Guide Falls - Located south of historic Burnie, it is easily accessible with a short walk and is absolutely one of the most stunning waterfalls in the Burnie hinterlands.

See paper being made by hand and then have a go yourself making your own unique paper on a Paper Making Tour

Burnie

Region

Take the scenic drive from Devonport west on coastal Route 1. You’ll pass through scenic seaside towns like Penguin before you end up in Burnie just half-hour’s drive away. The first thing you’ll notice about this northwest coastal town is the towering industrial port. But don’t let the industry fool you — there are artisanal treasures to be found.

Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden, Tasmania, AustraliaEmu Bay, the distant Bass Strait and the town’s proximity to the Australian mainland made Burnie uniquely perfect for an industrial port. Nearby forestry also made Burnie the perfect place for the paper mill industry. But the industrial port is only a part of Burnie’s past as the town has found a way to reinvent itself.

Now, this coastal gem is full of makers. The beating heart of this artistic community is the Maker’s Workshop which is part museum, gallery, workshop and arts center. It’s a wonderful place to visit where you can learn to make paper, blow glass, create ceramics, develop textiles or learn to paint, sculpt or draw. Image thanks to: Wai Nang Poon (Emu Valley)

Location

This community of artists is just 47 kilometres west of Devonport and a 30-minute drive. It’s nearly 150 kilometers from Launceston and a 1.5 hour drive. Hobart is clear across the island and will take you nearly 4 hours by car.

Burnie waterfront, Tasmania, AustraliaThis beach side enclave of makers has an eclectic mix of shops and galleries throughout. A stroll through town could take an entire afternoon as you marvel at what the local makers have crafted. Then it’s time for an evening stroll along Emu Bay where you can look out over the Bass Strait and imagine the Australian mainland in the distance.

Even the industrial side of town is worth exploring. It is full of history and it is all captured by the Burnie Regional Museum. The museum is open daily and features a replica of Burnie’s main thoroughfare — Federation Street — which is frozen in time. It shows you the historic life of this important Tasmanian port city.

Burnie is the perfect stop during a seaside drive exploring the northwest coast. It is a unique town worth an afternoon to experience the town’s reinvention as a maker’s enclave. It also has plenty of shops, restaurants and short walks to explore during your journey.

The port town is also perfect for those looking to stay longer to learn a craft. There are plenty of accommodations in town that can suit the budget of just about any traveller. Who knows, you just might be invited into the community of makers and it may inspire you to move to this seaside community.

Burnie city at night, Tasmania, AustraliaBurnie has a broad range of appeal. Of course, there is the Maker’s Workshop that calls out to anyone with a creative streak. But the town also has one of Tasmania’s finest distilleries. The Hellyers Road Distillery is Australia’s largest boutique whisky distillery which draws thousands of spirit lovers from all over the world. Burnie is a great place for a leisurely libation.

History buffs are drawn to Burnie for the Burnie Regional Museum where the rise and fall of industry can be experienced. But Burnie is also perfect for nature lovers. The 12-hectare Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden makes for a lovely stroll while the Little Penguin Observation Centre draws thousands between the months of September through March.

The Little Penguin Observation Center can get crowded. After a day searching for food in the depths of Emu Bay and the Bass Strait, the smallest penguins in the world come back to Burnie in rafts at sunset. These tiny blue penguins can be seen fighting small waves and waddling to their beach homes every evening. All you need to do is stand silent on a boardwalk with other tourists to experience the majesty. Image thanks to: Tourism Tasmania & Bob Iddon and Tourism Tasmania & Gina Fynearts (Burnie during the day and night)

Accommodation Offerings

Burnie is a well-developed town with plenty of accommodations throughout. You’ll find a wide range of options in and just out of town.

Activities and Things to Do and See

The Little Penguin Observation Centre. September through March, you can watch the world’s smallest penguins swim back to shore in formations called rafts. These tiny blue penguins make beachside homes and you can watch silently from a nearby boardwalk.

Burnie Regional Museum (previously known as Pioneer Village Museum), Tasmania, Australia

Burnie Regional Museum. This historic museum is nestled right into the industrial area of town where you can walk a replica of Federation Street from generations past.

Maker’s Workshop. Burnie has reinvented itself as a maker’s enclave. You can watch makers ply their craft or choose to get hands-on. Learn how to paint, draw, sculpt, make paper, create textiles, blow glass and more.

Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden. More than 12 hectares of beautiful flowers perfect for a romantic escape.

Casual beachside walks lead you to a beautiful downtown full of shops that are littered with local crafts. Perfect place to pick up a unique souvenir. Image thanks to: Tourism Tasmania & Rick Eaves (Burnie Regional Museum)

What to Eat

 

You’ll find plenty of eateries in Burnie’s CBD. As the town has reinvented itself as a maker’s paradise, the food scene has changed to accommodate these artists. You can find boutique chocolate and coffee shops, cafes and seafood restaurants. Head to the north side of the CBD to enjoy a meal with a seaside view. Image thanks to: Tourism Tasmania & Latrobe Council (Chocolate fest)

 

 

History

The first explorers of the Bass Strait noted a “peak like volcano” at the site of Burnie in 1798. The first land expedition took explorers up the mountain where they noted the area’s agricultural potential back in 1827.

Burnie, originally known as Emu Bay, soon exploded with the forestry industry. A sawmill was built in town and timber was exported to mainland Australia. In 1847, the Burnie Inn was built to accommodate loggers and it still stands in operation today.

The late 1800’s brought a train track to Burnie connecting the town to Zeehan for silver exports. Burnie’s industrial portside grew. In 1937, the Associated Pulp and Paper Mills was built cementing Burnie’s importance as a port city.

Environment

Emu Bay and the Bass Strait ensure mild summers and cool winters in Burnie. The summer is drier than the winter, but Burnie is perfect for a year-round visit with its makers workshop and museums.

Useful Information/Local Tips

Just inland from Burnie is a myriad of wonderful walks. There are multiple waterfalls and bushwalks to explore including the beautiful Guide Falls.

What to do

Burnie

Leven River Cruise

Leven River Cruise

On this tour you will receive commentary on the local river history, river environment and surrounds, look for the see eagles, the very rare Tasmanian Azure Kingfisher, the goshawk, brown hawks along with many other species of birds and you may spot the elusive platypus in its natural surrounds. This is a lovely tour and depending on the day you may enjoy the beautiful reflections of the Leven River. BYO drinks and nibbles.

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AU$60

2 Hour Cruise

AU$60

2 Hour Cruise

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Leven River Picnic Cruise and Land Tour

Leven River Cruise

Self Catered River and Land Tour supplies a lovely relaxing river and land package cruise where you can cater your own food and drinks. Enjoy the Leven River sanctuary with a cultural twist of the local settlement and development is shared

AU$80

River Cruise

AU$80

River Cruise

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It only takes 2 minutes

Where to Stay

Burnie

Burnie by the Bay Apartments

Burnie - North West Coast

Located in the heart of Burnie, this apartment building is steps from Burnie Waterfront Boardwalk and Maker’s Workshop Information Centre. Burnie Park and Burnie Arts & Function Centre are also within 10 minutes.
Along with a coffee shop/café, this apartment building has laundry facilities and a 24-hour front desk. Free continental breakfast, free WiFi in public areas, and free self parking are also provided. Other amenities include a library and express check-out.
Each apartment has 2 bedrooms and offers free WiFi and a DVD player. Guests will find a kitchen with a refrigerator, an oven, a stovetop, and a microwave.

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Star rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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The Ikon Hotel

Burnie - North West Coast

Situated in Burnie, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Burnie Arts & Function Centre, Burnie Waterfront Boardwalk, and Maker's Workshop Information Centre.

Star rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Alexandria Bed & Breakfast

Wynyard - North West Coast

Situated on the riverwalk, this bed & breakfast is within 2 km of Wynyard Golf Course, Fossil Bluff, and Wonders of Wynyard Exhibition Center.

Star rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Coastal Pods Wynyard

Wynyard - North West Coast

Situated near the beach, this luxury apartment building is within a 10-minute walk of East Wynard Beach and Wonders of Wynyard Exhibition Center. Fossil Bluff and Wynyard Golf Course are also within 5 km.

Star rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The Waterfront Wynyard

Wynyard - North West Coast

Located in the heart of Wynyard, this motel is within a 15-minute walk of East Wynard Beach, Wonders of Wynyard Exhibition Center, and Fossil Bluff.

Star rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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The Duck House

Burnie - North West Coast

Located in the heart of Burnie, this cottage is within a 5-minute walk of Burnie Waterfront Boardwalk and Maker's Workshop Information Centre. Burnie Arts & Function Centre and Burnie Park are also within 15 minutes.

Star rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Burnie City Apartments

Burnie - North West

Situated in Burnie, this luxury apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Burnie Arts & Function Centre and Burnie Waterfront Boardwalk.

Star rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Beach Hotel

Star rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Leisure Ville Holiday Centre

Wynyard - North West Coast

Situated near the beach, this campground is 1.1 km from Seabrook Golf Club and within 5 km of East Wynard Beach and Wonders of Wynyard Exhibition Center. Fossil Bluff is 3.8 km away.

Star rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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