Situated on Emu Bay at the mouth of the Emu River, Burnie is Tasmania's third largest city and port for the rich agricultural and mineral mining activities of the region. Burnie is a major deepwater port for the north of Tasmania, with two permanent container ships making daily crossings to Melbourne. Burnie is very much a city in transition.
Driven by the need to renew its economic base after the closure of major industrial works, it is actively campaigning to bolster tourism, attract new investment and build the capacity of residents to develop businesses of their own. This move is appropriate and timely as Burnie makes a great base for exploring the region due to its central position and extensive facilties.
Burnie's location - midway along the Bass Strait coast of Tasmania's worth west, makes it an ideal base from which to explore the north west region of the state. It has a wide range of accommodation and the biggest and business shopping precincts in the north west, to ensure every need for the traveller is catered for. Where Is it?: Burnie is 149 km north west of Launcestion via Bass Highway, 47 km west of Devonport.
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Burnie Regional Museum provides a detailed account of the history of the city of Burnie. Wander the charming Federation Street and see how ordinary people lived 100 years ago. The Museum has a beautiful range of vintage and antique-inspired gifts, quality educational gifts for children, Tasmanian history books and historical novels and souvenirs. You can also purchase reprints of historical photographs from our collection.
There are not too many places in Australia - or the world for that matter - that offer the visitor something so unique you will be hard pressed to find anything like it elsewhere. The City of Burnie has managed to achieve this in one of its premier visitor attractions - Makers' Workshop. Drawing on the city s heritage as a leading industrial centre, Makers Workshop salutes the role of paper manufacturing in its past, while honouring the skills of its makers, innovators and artists of its present and future.
Serving the north-west and west coasts of Tasmania, the Gallery has a fine permanent collection, and the focus is on works on paper, including many fine prints by some of Australia s most famous artists. This reflects the importance of the paper industry in Burnie s past history. Location: Burnie Arts and Function Centre, Wilmot St, Burnie.
Burnie is a city that erupted at the peak of the international architectural movement known as Art Deco. It is a celebration of the modern age and an advertisement for the bright future that was to come about as a result of industrialisation of the age.
Most significantly the potent hydro electricity generated by Tasmania's Hydro Electric Commission (HEC) was able to attract new industry despite the depression years. In Burnie that new industry came in the form of the Australian Pulp and Paper Mill, known locally as "the Pulp". Between them the Hydro and the Pulp were responsible for a series of striking commercial and industrial buildings and also for a network of smart private homes to comfortably house the new executives that came to town.
In The Area
Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden has about 20,000 plants on an 11ha landscaped site, just a ten-minute drive south of Burnie. The 11-hectare/28-acre garden features over 22,000 select rhododendrons and companion plants, creating a spectacular display between August and January each year. Colourful autumn foliage makes April a good time to visit, too. In addition to the hybrid rhododendrons familiar to gardeners, you can see many wild species of rhododendrons planted to reflect their geographical origins - from Asia Minor, across the Himalayas to China, Japan and to North America.
You can take a number of walks through the Gardens to enjoy the plants and tranquillity of this lush environment. Platypus, echidna, and diverse bird life are routinely sighted, and plantings are enhanced by a number of landscape features include gazebos, bridges, waterways, and a fountain.
The Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden is a partner garden of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.
The entrance to Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park is around a 1hour 30 minute drive from Burnie. Australia's most recognisable mountain, Cradle Mountain forms the northern end of the wild Cradle Mtn. Lake St Clair National Park, itself a part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The familiar jagged contours of Cradle Mountain epitomise the feel of a wild landscape, while abundant wildlife, icy streams, alpine heathlands, colourful deciduous beech and ancient pines reflected in still glacial lakes entice many visitors to stay and explore.
A day drive from Burnie up the north west coast is highly recommended. The drive can include Wynyard, Table Cape, picturesque village of Boat Harbour, Stanley and Circular Head, Rocky Cape National Park, Smithton, and Marrawah on the west coast. Simply follow Bass Highway west from Burnie. Off the main road you will find Trowutta caves and arch; Hellyer Gorge State Reserve; Allendale Gardens at Edith Creek. The coastal towns of Ulverstone (16km) and Penguin (28km) are to the east of Burnie on the road to Devonport. There are numerous waterfalls to visit, including Dip Falls and the giant eucalyptus tree and Guide Falls. Another recommended day trip from Burnie is a driving tour of the Great Western Tiers.
The Great Western Tiers are the northern face of the Tasmanian Central Plateau, which rises up to 1420m above sea level and is dominated by Cradle Mountain. In the foothills of the Great Western Tiers can be found a wide range of attractions both man made and natural which can be explored on this drive.
Allow a full day for the drive; add additional time if you are contemplating taking any of the bushwalks in the area or spending more time than a quick visit. The Great Western Tiers are the gateway to Tasmania's best known National Parks - Cradle Mountain, Lake St. Clair and Walls Of Jerusalem - as well as an alternative route to the west coast of Tasmania.
One of the prettiest corners of this part of Tasmania, Table Cape is a spectacular flat topped promontory with a sheer drop to the sea. Table Cape is known for its magnificent tulip fields, that become stripes of glowing colour each October when the Tulip Festival announces the start of the tulip harvest.
Leven Canyon is a 250 metre deep ravine that is part of a wildlife corridor from the coast to Cradle Mountain. The Leven River runs through 300-metre limestone cliffs carved through the Loongana Range, down to Bass Strait.
The canyon is a little-known tourist destination in Tasmania but is well woth a visit. A viewing platform offers spectacular views of Black Bluff, the canyon itself and the surrounding areas. Location: 55 km south of Burnie by road.
Hidden beneath the picturesque farmland of Gunn Plains is a fascinating world of caves, sinkholes and underground streams. Many beautiful cave formations are present, such as stalactites, stalagmites, helictites and a large array of dazzling flowstone are present in the public section of the cave. The caves host an assortment of wildlife, being inhabited by the endangered Tasmanian Giant Freshwater Crayfish, Platypus, freshwater fish and eels.