10 Things to do in North West Tasmania this Summer
The weather is warming and North West Tassie shines on long summer days. With hidden coves, long stretches of coastline and a bounty of seasonal produce, we’ve hand-picked the top 10 things to experience when you hit the North West.
1. Get High on Roland
Mount Roland is a cracker of a climb. On a clear summer’s day, views stretch out to Bass Strait and across the Great Western Tiers from 1234m above sea level. Located not far from Sheffield, be sure to allow time before or after your walk to coffee and fuel up at this well-loved town of murals. Choose to head up the Face Track (3-5 hours, quickest route but very steep) via Kings Road or take the longer track departing from O’Neills Road (4-6 hours).
2. Strut through Penguin
This seaside town is as quaint as they come. The locals worked together to makeover the town, with painted penguins topping street posts and outdoor furniture a fine possie for listening to the waves roll in. There’s a well photographed giant penguin, who dutifully dresses up come Christmas or fundraising efforts. Pop into a French-style Renaissance café (or Letterbox Cafe) where the locals chatter and wander the stores including Small Folk, brimming with heirloom wooden children’s gifts through to Cocoon Designs – a gorgeous furniture and interior design store. Mountain biking enthusiasts will find world-class trails on the fringe of town and those keen to stay a little longer will find that Novo Luxury Apartment is all style (our hot tip - check out their food experience packages). Nearby, you’ll also find free range heritage-breed produce at Mount Gnomon Farm, Red Cow Dairies delish cheeses and Cradle Coast Olives … yum!
3. Take a Dive at Boat Harbour via Table Cape
We can’t promise it’s going to be as tropical as it looks. The water at Boat Harbour Beach is what the locals might say is rather refreshing! But who likes diving into warm water in the height of summer? Grab a coffee right on the sandy beach and if snorkelling or swimming isn’t your thing, take a coastal walk. The track through to Sisters Beach from Boat Harbour is a beaut and nearby Rocky Cape National Park has fascinating indigenous history, geology and sweeping seascapes. Walk, swim, wander past classic shacks and settle into local pace. Be sure to take the turn off to Table Cape and explore this fertile wonder with its classic lighthouse on the way. The tulips are only out for Spring time but it’s still spectacular!
4. Follow the Flavours - Cradle Coast Tasting Trail
Summer berries from Turners Beach, crisp craft brews by the coast and delectably smooth Van Diemens gelato – it’s all waiting for you along the Cradle Coast Tasting Trail. Everything on the trail is grown, made or created in the region. Download the trail and map out tasty stops sweet Belgium chocolates in Latrobe to Southern Rock Lobster in Stanley. Just arrive hungry.
5. Climb an Extinct Volcano at Stanley
Rising 150 metres from the sea, The Nut is nature’s backdrop to the township of Stanley. In geological terms, it’s an ancient volcanic plug and can be climbed on foot or via a chairlift. Down below, see why the township has been used on movie sets with its colonial buildings and streetscape charm. Grab some crusty bread and picnic supplies from Providore 24 for a Nut-summit lunch, sip your angel’s share of Tassie whisky at The Angel’s Share and cosy up in a luxe suite at the Ship Inn. Dinner in these parts is all about the fisherman’s latest catch or the finest quality beef from Cape Grim Beef.
6. Tip Toe into Temperate Rainforest
From Stanley, you’re getting close to the Tarkine which is one of the largest tracts of temperate rainforest left on the planet. There’s some great shorter walks, such as into Trowutta Arch which is an easy stop along the Tarkine Drive and about 50 minutes from Stanley. The geological wonder is the result of a collapsed cave and is super speccy for snaps. The cool rainforest air feels extra good on a summer’s day too. Complete your day with oysters at Tarkine Fresh Oysters.
7. Sip your way through the North West
From craft beer to single malts to cool climate wines, there are plenty of roadside stops for the thirsty traveller. Hellyers Road Distillery awaits the discerning whisky enthusiast, Spreyton Cider offer sparkling goodness in view of the orchard and Seven Sheds have a beer garden in Railton just waiting for summer days. Sample a drop from one of Tasmania's oldest and most picturesque vineyards Lake Barrington Vineyard or take a long lunch in the gorgeous surrounds of Ghost Rock Vineyard. A little further up the road is stunning Hawley Beach, a popular haunt for the locals. You’ll understand why when you see the clear inviting waters and orange lichen-licked rocks.
8. Head for the heart – Cradle Mountain
Get alpine with a visit to Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Whether you plan to conquer the mighty peak itself (allow a day for this 1545 metre-above sea level ascent) or explore the Ballroom Forest on the shores of Dove Lake, there’s a trail to suit. A good climb that delivers epic Cradle views is Marion’s Lookout. If it’s wildlife-spotting you’re after, heading to Ronny Creek by bus for your best chance to see wombats grazing and delve into a night tour with Devils@Cradle Wildlife Park. There are quolls there too! Did we mention you could canyon? It is one of the most epic experiences on the island to abseil and float and waterfall leap your way through with Cradle Mountain Canyons.
9. Peer into the Leven Canyon
A bit of a well-kept North West secret is this impressive canyon, a sheer 300 metre plunging ravine that’ll take your breath. It’s about a 45-minute drive from Ulverstone and includes a great little 1.2km circuit walk. Mix up your day, and then drive about half an hour to Gunns Plains Caves for to explore our underworld. Back up at ground level, Wings Wildlife Park has Tassie’s biggest range of wildlife – from our classics like the Tassie Devil to curious meerkats.
10. Go Chasing Waterfalls
There are some very impressive waterfalls dotted through the wilds of North West Tassie. And some are delivered just 20 minutes from the city GPO. Guide Falls are tucked away in Burnie’s hinterland for those who love a picnic to the tune of cascading water just a short skip from town. Dip Falls is another popular fall, located about 27km up a country road between Wynyard and Stanley. And after viewing all the waterfalls you'll need to refuel with what could be considered Tasmania's best burger which is found at The Colony Cafe, Blue Hills Honey. Then there’s the town of Waratah, sitting on the Tarkine’s edge, where the waterfall literally flows right beside the main road. There’s also some seriously rich mining tales to dive into here.