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Great Nature Trail
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Total 270 km

Great Nature Trail

From the abundant wildlife of Narawntapu National Park along 200 km of scenic coastal drive to the wild and remote far north-west coast.

Start: Devonport

Explore: Tasmania's North West

Duration: 2 - 4 days

Print: Great Nature Trail [PDF 380KB]

National Parks and Reserves:

Devonport - Burnie

  • Start your journey at Narawntapu National Park just east of Devonport, where Forester kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and pademelons graze unconcerned by your presence. Narawntapau is a great location but so much better at dusk.
  • Across the Rubicon estuary from the park is Port Sorell, with its distinctive, attractive beach and laid-back lifestyle. Join the locals on a relaxed walk along the foreshore after a meal of local food and wine.
  • For something more sedate, perhaps wander among the 1,900 trees and shrubs of the Tasmanian Arboretum at Eugenana. Identify native species and see first-hand how exotic plants adjust to Tasmanian conditions.
  • The original highway between Devonport and Burnie is a scenic coastal drive that passes through the fascinating small towns of Ulverstone and Penguin. Look out for dolphins and whales on your way as they are often sighted along this coastal trail.
  • The Sunday Penguin School Market is popular with people en route to destinations farther west. You may not see a shy little penguin during your visit, but you can have your photo taken with the 'Big Penguin' on the foreshore. Penguin also has a great range of cafés and dining options if you choose to stay a little longer.
  • The 'Caves and Canyon' detour inland from Ulverstone or Penguin is diverse and rewarding. The road takes you first through Gunns Plains, the idyllic setting for Gunns Plains Caves.
  • Overnight Burnie and surrounds.

Burnie - Stanley

  • Meet local artisans, try a paper-making tour, grab a coffee, taste some local produce, and browse locally made gifts or mementos at the Makers' Workshop.
  • Burnie also has its very own whisky distillery, regional art gallery, Little Penguin Observation Centre and free guided penguin tours by local volunteers around sunset from September to March.
  • Farther inland the reveals the spectacular Leven Canyon and Black Bluff, with walking tracks.
  • Back on the coast, a host of wildlife has colonised urban areas of the industrial port town of Burnie. Take an evening guided or self-guided tour to view penguins and platypuses.
  • On the town’s doorstep is Fern Glade, the habitat of several platypus families you can readily see most days. Early mornings and evenings are the best viewing times.
  • Farther west is Wynyard, famous for its Bloomin’ Tulips festival celebrating the October flowering of the tulips that are grown commercially in the area.
  • Wynyard’s defining landmark is the massive Table Cape, a cliff-top patchwork of rich soils and colourful crops high above Bass Strait. Take a stroll with breathtaking views from Table Cape Lookout to the historic lighthouse. The tulip farm visitor centre and shop is open weekdays but not public holidays or weekends.
  • While visiting Wynyard, wander along the Inglis River walking trails or search for fossils at Fossil Bluff.
  • Also check out some of Wynyard's markets – the Foreshore, Railway Hall, and Farmers' Market.
  • Also in Wynyard is the Wonders of Wynyard Gallery, and Veteran Car Display including the equal oldest (1903) Ford vehicle in the world on public display.
  • Nearby Boat Harbour and Sisters Beach are picture-postcard locations and popular local swimming, boating and fishing spots, the latter providing access to Rocky Cape National Park, where you can take great walks to view Aboriginal sites, caves unique flora and the unusual geology of the area or snorkel in secluded crystal clear bays.
  • Continue on to Stanley

Stanley – Arthur River

  • Stanley, a historic fishing village dominated by an unusual landform known as the ‘Nut’, is the destination for most people travelling along the Great Nature Trail.
  • Relive the past with a guided walking tour of the village or a visit to Highfield House, the imposing former residence of the General Manager of the Van Diemens Land Company. Evening ghost tours recount the stories and hardships of the families who lived and worked on the property.
  • During your stay, take a short cruise to a local Australian fur seal colony, visit platypuses at twilight by four wheel drive, or take an evening tour to little penguin and short tailed shearwater rookeries.
  • West of Stanley is Tarkine Forest Adventures, a natural Blackwood forest sinkhole, believed to be the only one in the world. The 40 metre deep sinkhole is a unique forest habitat supporting a range of plant and animal species. Take an exhilarating slide or walk down to the forest floor or relax in the interpretive centre and dine on local produce.
  • The coast farther west near the settlement of Arthur River is known as the ‘Edge of the World’ because from here the open ocean extends 40 000 km all the way to Argentina.
  • On the Arthur River itself, rainforest reflections rival those of the famed Gordon River, and during a cruise you are almost certain to catch sight of sea eagles soaring overhead.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous, hire a canoe or rowing boat and drift quietly along the river keeping an eye out for platypuses and other wildlife.
  • On your way back to Stanley, consider taking the roads through the Tarkine via Julius River, Milkshake Hills reserve and Lake Chisolm.

Stanley - Cape Grim

  • If you decide to stay on the North-West Coast, visit Woolnorth and Cape Grim, the westernmost point on the mainland of Tasmania. Woolnorth is a working farm that still operates under its original charter granted to the Van Diemen's Land Company in the early 1800s.
  • Day Tours available from Stanley or Smithton also take in the Woolnorth Wind Farm.
  • And if you don't decide to stay on – travel the Western Explorer to Corinna or backtrack along the Great Nature Trail to join up with the Cradle Country self drive intinerary.
LegTime / Distance
Devonport - Burnie 37 min / 48 km
Burnie - Stanley 60 min / 78 km
Stanley - Arthur River 1 hr 8 min / 82 km
Stanley - Cape Grim

 1 hr 01 min / 62 km