Walk your way around Burnie, Penguin and Leven Canyon


Tucked close to our coastal towns are some great opportunities to pull on walking boots. What’s more, lots are just a short drive from the city. Whether you have a penchant for waterfalls and want an easy 800-meter wander or you’d like to summit a peak on a half day mission, the North West has you covered. There’s even a reserve home to local platypus less than four kilometres from the city post office. We’ve picked a few crackers that will feel a world away from city streets.

1. Oldaker Falls

It’s not every city that has a waterfall in its midst. There’s no need to leave urban Burnie to picnic by Oldaker Falls. This little beauty is located in Burnie Park, which has plenty of space for the family with gardens, playgrounds and sprawling lawns for the kids to run free. Dotted with shady exotic trees, there’s a patch for everyone. The waterfall is an easy 800-metre wander, and flows best after heavy rain. It runs down into a pond where the ducks like to hang out, completing a picture-perfect outing for younger ones. Oldaker Falls is also located over the road from the Makers Workshop where you can catch local artisans in action, find yourself a new wall hanging and grab a bite to eat.

 

 

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2. Mount Dial

Set aside three hours to head up Mount Dial, just behind the sweet seaside town of Penguin. If you’re hopping off the Spirit of Tasmania, it’ll only take half an hour to reach the track start, just off Ironcliffe Road. It’s part of the Dial Range, an outdoor playground that’s a mecca for mountain biking enthusiasts and keen walkers. Don’t worry, you won’t bump into cyclists on this walking trail! Once you get walking, it doesn’t take long to move into forest, weaving through tall tree ferns and gentle-flowing creeks. From the top of Dial, views spill out to the east and over lush farmland. You should be able to spot Mount Roland and on a clear day Bass Strait sparkles. Head back into Penguin for celebratory sweet treats at Renaissance or Letterbox Café.

4. Mount Gnomon

A hop across from Mount Dial is Mount Gnomon, also part of the undulating Dial Range. It’ll take about two hours for this trek which starts a few kilometres out of Penguin, just beyond Mount Gnomon Farm. It’s a moderately challenging climb through tall Eucalypt forest. Once on the summit, the views are fantastic. You’ll see Mount Duncan back to the south and the cities of Devonport and Ulverstone hugging the coastline of Bass Strait. You can also opt to do Mount Gnomon and Mount Dial as a combo if you’re feeling energetic and keen to tick off two mountains. Be sure to drop in to meet Guy at Mount Gnomon Farm and his heritage-breed free range pigs before or after for a cider on tap from their cider orchard. Guy is open for lunch Saturdays and Sundays – perhaps some home-made charcuterie and farm produce cooked on the asado grill with French Chef Madjid? Be sure to book ahead and maybe even head on a Secret Life of Pigs farm tour.

 

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5. Leven Canyon

Few know that just out of Ulverstone the Leven River runs through 300-metre tall limestone cliffs … Leven Canyon is both epic and accessible. In about 45 minutes’ driving, you’ll arrive at the walking circuit start. There are two great lookouts, Cruickshanks and Edge, on the 1.2km walk. Both provide plunging views down to the river that has carved its way through Loongana Range’s thick, forested country. The river continues out to Bass Strait. It’s a moderate 45-minute loop through lush forest; keep a look out for colourful fungi along the way. There is also a walk to the floor of the canyon, and nearby are Gunns Plains Caves as well as Wings Wildlife Park with Tassie’s largest mix of animals.

 

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6. Saint Valentines Peak

Step it up by taking the Saint Valentines trail. It’s located south of Ridgley and you’re best to allow about five hours. This is a decent hike, ideal for experienced walkers with its early river crossing (not always possible in winter) and exposed ridgeline. That said, the climb comes with amazing views in every direction. Early on, there’s easy button grass sections with duckboard and areas of lush moss and lichen. Once you get above the tree line, vistas begin to reveal. The ridge to the summit is speccy, though can be unnerving in strong winds so pick your day! Up top, this peak dominates the area, so save lunch for the pinnacle to take in the North West.

 

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7. Guide Falls

Not far from Saint Valentines, at Ridgley, are Guide Falls. Nestled in the Burnie hinterland, Guide Falls Reserve is only 20 minutes from the city centre. There are great picnic areas at the base and top of the falls. It’s an easy five-minute walk to the lower area where you can hear the falls tumbling down and enjoy the misty feels on your face. Alternately, hit steps to the top where there’s a great platform for happy snaps and more picnic facilities. You can actually drive in to the top section, too. Top tip: these falls tend to be best in winter and spring.

 

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8. Fernglade Reserve

Keen to see a platypus? Fernglade Reserve is literally 3.9km from Burnie’s Post Office in the middle of town and is home to resident platypus, not to mention rare orchids and bountiful birdlife. This natural playground includes a one-kilometre return walk that takes you under the bush canopy and along the banks of Emu River. More than 12 native orchids have been recorded and there’s great barbecue facilities for those keen to stay later to watch for surfacing platypus. Do note that vehicle access is restricted from dusk to dawn. The walking is flat and there’s plenty of tree ferns and well-established shady trees. It’s the type of place that invites you to stay a while and let the Emu River calms work their relaxing magic.

 

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