Hitching its growth to the impetus provided by an Australian pulp and paper plant, Burnie is Tasmania’s fourth largest town and Australia’s fifth largest container port. On the north west coast, Burnie is a deepwater port in Emu Bay, part way along the scenic Bass Highway drive from Devonport to Smithton.
Stop and smell the flowers in the Emu Valley Rhododendron Gardens and Annsleigh Gardens, or taste the local vintage cheeses such as heritage brie and St Clare Swiss at the Lactos factory.
The Pioneer Village Museum in the centre of town recreates craft workshops at the turn of the 19th century. Parks and reserves are a feature of the region which is graced by Burnie Park, and travellers can dine in restored Burnie Inn. Fern Glade (3km out of town), Guide Falls (17km) and Hellyer Gorge (46km) are all worth a visit. Fern Glade is a stalking ground for platypus which browse on the bed of the Emu River in the early morning and evening.
Off the road between Burnie and Wynyard, Fossil Bluff presents fascinating gullies of long dead life forms. These parts were a favourite haunt of the Tasmanian tiger, a large marsupial scientists are convinced is extinct, but which locals reckon still prowls the district.
In some areas of Levin Canyon, the river has gouged walls 250 metres deep, while the stalactites and stalagmites of the limestone caves at Gunns Plains have been forming for millions of years.
- Northwest Country Music Awards (March), North West Festival of Fire (July), Rhododendron Festival (Ocotober)
Things to do
Lactos Cheese Tasting and Sales Centre - for range of cheese and dairy products. The chocolate cheese is a real winner.
Pioneer Village Museum - reconstructed row of heritage shops, Civic Centre Plaza
Heritage town walk - brochure from Visitor Centre
Visitor Information Centre - Civic Centre Plaza, Burnie
In the area
Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden - 6 km south of town
Guide Falls Alpaca Farm - 18 km south