Image thanks to: penguin-waterfront-escape
St Andrew's Uniting (Presbyterian) Church
Image thanks to: Tourism Tasmania & Kathryn Leahy


Friendly people living with Fairy Penguins on the Bass Strait




You'll find the friendly town of Penguin between Burnie and Ulverstone on the Bass Highway. This northwest seaside resort town was named by botanist Robert Campbell Gunn after the fairy penguins that inhabit the coastline. Now you'll find a cheeky giant penguin statue in the middle of town.


Penguin is a breathtaking 15-minute drive east of Burnie along the coast. It's only 31 kilometers and 22 minutes along the coast from Devonport by car. It'll take you over 1.5 hours to drive the 131 kilometers from Launceston. And Hobart is 310 kilometers away on the other side of the island. That drive will take you 3.5 hours.

Launceston, Tasmania, AustraliaMake sure to bring your camera to Penguin. The town features a picturesque esplanade, scenic walking trails and breathtaking drives along the coast. And you'll want to make the drive up to Penguin on a Sunday. The town boasts Tasmania's largest covered market where more than 200 vendors sell local food, wine, crafts and goods.

And if you're lucky, you'll catch some of the Fairy Penguins living in the area. The townsfolk love their little flightless friends and they show that love with a 10-foot penguin statue waiting for a picture in the heart of Penguin.

The clean, cool beaches of the coastal road between Ulverstone and Wynyard make for a perfect scenic drive. And all along the highway, between the asphalt and the train tracks, you'll find carefully curated gardens that bloom year round. All of this scenery makes Penguin the perfect romantic getaway. And to cap off the beautiful drive, head to one of the many walking tracks at the Dial Range with the breathtaking views of Penguin and the coast.

Penguin is just a small piece of a much larger picture. The coastal road between Ulverstone and Wynyard is full of scenery that is capable of sweeping you off your feet. You'll find families and couples navigating this beautiful piece of Tasmania while stopping for Penguin's shops and hotels as well as its Sunday Market.

The town comes alive with penguin lovers between November and March. Fairy Penguins leave to hunt food in the Bass Strait during the day. Every evening, these tiny feathered friends come back to the coast in rafts. Battling small waves, they make their way back to beachside homes where you'll hear them calling out for each other before turning in for the night. Image: Wynyard-Sunset

Accommodation Offerings

Penguin is a rather small town but you'll find a few hotels and motels on the Main Road near the water. There are also a couple of caravan parks north of town near Preservation Bay.

Activities and Things to Do and See

The Big Penguin is a 10-foot statue made of cement. It is the town's most photographed attraction and you can find it in the town's center across the street from the post office. The Big Penguin has been standing since 1975.

Little penguins, Tasmania, AustraliaStay quiet on the right beach at sunset and you'll be lucky enough to see the Fairy Penguins come back home after a day of hunting food out on the water. The Penguins only come back to the beaches in rafts between November and March.

The oceanside Uniting Church and St. Stephens Anglican Church adds to the beauty of Penguin. The 1903-built Uniting Church is an old timber marvel while the 1874-built St. Stephens Anglican church features a Bluestone base, bellcote and a shingled roof.

Head over to Hiscutt Park in order to marvel at a replica Dutch Windmill. Gifted to Penguin in 1988, it commemorates the Dutch explorers who were the first Europeans to make contact with Tasmania.

Be sure to visit Johnsons Beach Reef just west of the Uniting Church. It is particularly beautiful for a walk at low tide when the reef is exposed for exploring.

What to Eat

There are plenty of restaurants, pubs and cafes for those looking to fuel up after a drive on the coastal highway. You'll find them all on Main Road near the beach.


The absence of a river caused Penguin to be one of the last districts settled along Tasmania's northwest coast. Tasmania's rugged bush made travel by foot nearly impossible so early explorers required rivers for safe anchorage and exploration. The heavy bush caused the settlement to take place relatively late in Tasmania's history.

A wharf was built in Penguin in 1874 for timber and potato exports. The burgeoning trade on the northwest coast cleared most of the dense brush making way for the town of Penguin. A railway arrived in 1901 which devastated Penguins port industry. Now the town relies on tourism for its economy and offers up a variety of coastal activities.


Penguin features a rather pleasant climate. While the town is warm and temperate, it can be rainy. And the rain has an inverse relationship with the temperature. As the temperature falls in winter, rainfall climbs. It rains least during summer.

Useful Information/Local Tips

Low Head Penguin Tours, Tasmania, AustraliaThe Penguin Generals Cemetery saw its first burials back in the 1860's and is a great visit for history buffs.

Penguins make their way back up the beach to nest between September and March making Penguin the perfect pitstop on a coastal drive during summer. Image Credit: Pete Harmsen


What's Nearby

Beautiful nature walks await at nearby Dial Range and Mount Montgomery. The nearby Ferndale Bush Walk takes you to an old silver mine named Thorsby's Tunnel.

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