As Tasmanian hopping-off points go, Burnie is one of the best. Located on the island’s northern shore, this small city port is well connected to the Tasmanian interior by a network of motorways, but also has plenty to offer in its own right. One of the biggest attractions is the city’s strong culture of handmade arts and crafts, while the local penguin population has been charming visitors for years. Whisky lovers are also known to make a pilgrimage to the city, with Hellyers Road Distillery concocting all manner of traditional single malts, as well as a host of unique creations. Fern Glade Reserve is another popular tourist spot, offering visitors a chance to see platypus in the wild while getting acquainted with Tasmania’s wide variety of flora and fauna. Australian Rules Football is also a big part of Burnie’s charm, and the very successful Burnie Dockers Football Club make their home here.
Due to its coastal location, Burnie has mild summers and cool winters, with warmer days ranging from 19C to 21C. Accordingly, aim for the warmer months of December to March, and enjoy all the outdoor activities on offer. Arts and crafts events are held throughout the year, as is the city’s farmers’ market, which runs fortnightly. October sees the city get in touch with the farming community during the Burnie agricultural show, while the year’s biggest event, Burnie Shine, is also held in October, and showcases all that makes the town what it is. Football season runs from April to March so you can get better acquainted with the purple and white of the Dockers.
It is advisable to hire a car if you are planning to explore the rest of the island. If not, Burnie is served by a very reliable bus service, Metro Tasmania. Ticket prices aren’t too high and some tickets cover pretty much all of the city. A Metro Greencard is available for extensive bus use, and will work out better as a more affordable alternative in the long run. Due to its size, Burnie is also relatively walker-friendly, and can be covered on foot without too much hassle.