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North West Coast
North West Trail
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Total 270 km

North West Coast

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: North West Coast [PDF 380KB]

National parks:

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.
  • Across the Rubicon estuary from the national park is Port Sorell with its distinctive, attractive beach and laid-back lifestyle where you can join the locals on a relaxed walk along the foreshore.
  • Wander among the 1,900 trees of the Tasmanian Arboretum at nearby Eugenana. Platypus can be reliably seen most days in Founder's Lake and around 80 local bird species are present.
  • Follow the coast highway between Devonport and Burnie for a scenic drive that passes through the small towns of Ulverstone and Penguin.
  • At Penguin, have your photo taken with the 'Big Penguin' on the foreshore. Penguin also has a great range of cafes and dining options if you choose to stay longer.
  • Just a 20 minute detour inland from Ulverstone is Gunns Plains Cave. The cave was formed by an underground river that still flows and contains Giant Freshwater Lobster, fish and eel. Lofty chambers contain many varied formations including magnificent calcite shawls. Platypus sleep and nest in the sandy banks along the river.
  • Overnight Burnie and surrounds.

Burnie - Stanley

  • In Burnie, visit the Makers Workshop - part contemporary museum, part arts centre - where you can meet the makers - all sorts of makers. You'll find paper making, cheese making, whisky making, ceramics, textiles, glass, print makers, painters, sculptors and lots more. Have a chat about their work or see their objects for sale in the gift shop or for something different, join a class and learn how to make paper out of apple pulp, lavender, rainforest leaves or wombat droppings.
  • Burnie also has its 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 is the spectacular Leven Canyon and Black Bluff, with walking tracks.
  • On Burnie's doorstep is Fern Glade Reserve, a peaceful river valley on the edge of the city and the habitat of several platypus families that are readily seen 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 and dinner at the Stanley Hotel, where you can sit back and relax in the pub with a meal of fresh seafood, likely caught that day.

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 (circa 1833), the imposing former residence of the General Manager of the Van Diemens Land Company.
  • 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. Teeming with rare plant and animal life, this 40-metre drop is the only natural blackwood forest sinkhole in the world. Jump on the 110-metre slide for a quick trip to the swamp floor. After a 360-metre meander back up to the top (and a few more slides down), pop into the treetop restaurant for a local produce lunch and a glass of Tassie wine.
  • From Stanley, continue on to the town of Arthur River on Tasmania's west coast.
  • The coast 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 on a cruise you're almost certain to catch sight of sea eagles soaring overhead.
  • 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, take the road through the Tarkine Forest Reserve via Julius River, Milkshakes Hills Reserve and Lake Chisolm, all great spots to stop and enjoy Tasmania's wilderness.

Stanley - Cape Grim

  • If you decide to return to Stanley on the North-West Coast, visit the privately-owned Woolnorth at Cape Grim.
  • Woolnorth homestead is an historic working farm that still operates under its original charter granted to the Van Diemen's Land Company in the early 1800s. The property is also the home to one of Australia's largest wind farms.
  • Day tours are available from Stanley or Smithton.
  • You could also continue south on the Western Explorer road to Corinna or backtrack to join up with our Cradle Country itinerary.
Leg Time / 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