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What to See and Do in Devonport

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by Archie Ward (subscribe)
I'm an Australian living in Thailand. I like to read, write and travel. I'm currently working on my (commercial) travel website to make more moolah for my trips.
Published July 29th 2015
Best of the Bass Strait

Photo Credit: Synyan

Experience this charming spot in the Northwest of Tasmania at the mouth of the Mersey River. Everyone enjoys this maritime town of just over 25,000 residents, pristine nature, rich history, and a temperate climate year-round. With its inviting, azure waters, there are many things to do in Devonport, and it is a perfect a base from which to explore the rest of the North West. And if you're planning on venturing out, using to ensure you have a ride coming straight out of the airport is going to make things a lot easier.

Mersey River
Mersey River

Photo Credit: Ghouston

Bluff Lighthouse and Bluff Beach

If you were to ask what to see in Devonport, most people would tell you to stop at Mersey Bluff Lighthouse, built in 1889, ended a history of shipwrecks in this area, which was a fast-expanding agricultural port. With gorgeous views of the coastline and Bass Strait, this iconic 13m-high lighthouse has the unusual feature of a vertical red stripe. This is definitely one of the most striking things to see in Devonport and well worth the climb to the top. Just a short walk from the lighthouse is Devonport's main beach, Bluff Beach. Relax on the sparkling white sands, or go swimming, cycling, surfing or sailing. Devonport also has many other good beaches including the quieter Back Beach, and Cole's Beach, which is undoubtedly the best beach for surfing.

Devonport Jazz Festival

There are many fun things to do in Devonport, but if you have the time, consider booking your trip around the annual four-day Devonport Jazz Festival in late July. With a full array of Tasmania's own leading jazz musicians, the Festival features something for everyone with both old and new music, local food stalls, visual arts, dance, and film, across more than 15 venues. One of the most exciting Devonport activities!

Bass Strait Maritime Centre

The waters of the Bass Strait separate Tasmania from Mainland Australia. This Strait is notorious for the challenges and adventures it has provided explorers, boat-builders, traders, and fisherman throughout history. Discover their stories at the Bass Strait Maritime Centre. Formerly the harbourmaster's residence, this is the only maritime centre completely dedicated to the shipwrecks, natural history, and human endeavours of the Bass Strait. Children will love the simulated experience of being Captain of a steamer, where they will also confront challenges, just as former captains of sea captains around the Mersey Bay and Port Phillip Bay have faced. The Centre also has a superb collection of flags, models, and other maritime paraphernalia. This is one of Devonport's premier tourist attractions.

Learn about part of Australia's history visit Home Hill

If you are wondering what to do in Devonport for a couple of hours in the afternoon, take an informative guided tour of this well-preserved National Trust property and spend time in the gardens. Home Hill was the family abode of Prime Minister Joseph Lyons, Premier of Tasmania during the 1920s and later Prime Minister of Australia, Dame Enid Lyons,the first woman elected to the Australian House of Representatives,and their twelve children.

Wander in the Tasmanian Arboretum

Photo Credit: Karora

Spend your morning wandering in this peaceful landscape amidst the world's largest collection of Tasmanian woody plants including Wollemi Pines and Southern Hemisphere Confiers. Set in the hills alongside the Don River, the Arboretum is definitely a bit of a hidden jewel and one of the best things to do around Devonport. Take a picnic and a camera, amble in the gardens, or spend the day making a barbeque, eating delicious homemade ice cream, and kicking a ball with the kids in the park's wide-open spaces. Nearly every day you can find a platypus at Founder's Lake within the Arboretum, and with more than 80 local species of birds, it is an absolute birder's paradise. Founded in 1984, the Arboretum has been developed entirely by the local community.

Like flowers? Visit a fuschia farm

Just a five minutes drive outside of Devonport is the delightful Mason's Fuschia Farm, opened about 20 years ago as a hobby by Stephanie Mason. With over 1500 varieties of fuchsias to see, there is also a play area, tearooms serving delicious snacks, fuchsia tea and iced fuchsia drinks, views of the Bass Strait, all with no entry fee. Where else can you see a fuschia farm? Definitely one of Devonport's tourist attractions that is overlooked!

Devonport Regional Gallery

One of Devonport's main tourist attractions, this gallery contains mainly works by 20th century Tasmanian artists as well as art by local and mainland artists, glassworks, and ceramics. Originally founded by Jean Thomas at the Little Gallery as a private gallery in 1966, Thomas' vision was to create a space for promoting Tasmanian artists, and for community art and activities. Jean Thomas developed a small business on the premises selling wood and wool and woven projects to showcase local craftswomen and support the Gallery financially. Besides its permanent collection and changing exhibitions, the Gallery also runs educational programmes and events.

Don River Railway

Photo Credit: Gary Houston

This Railway Museum, holding the largest collection of steam locomotive and passenger carriages in all of Tasmania, is one of the most unique of Devonport's Tasmanian attractions. You can take a half-hour ride on one of the brightly coloured vintage steam trains on the hour everyday, and enjoy breathtaking views while traveling along the Don River to the junction at Cole's Beach. Spend some time in the workshop and view the daily activities of the many engineers, upholsterers, welders, and carpenters, and view the most recently restored carriages.

Take a tour of the countryside

Cradle Mountain & Dove Lake

Photo Credit: Joern Brauns

If you are considering what to do in Devonport & Tasmania, go for an excursion in the countryside to Tasmania's famous Cradle Mountain National Park area. Hire a car and drive up to Cradle Mountain and Lake St. Clair, a World Heritage Site. Refresh yourself in the tranquility of the many waterfalls, glaciers, and mountain lakes. You can also arrange to explore the area by horseback.

Harbour Sightseeing Tour

Photo Credit: Nachoman-au

The whole family will love a harbour cruise on the Spirit of Tasmania Ferry or any of the many other harbour cruise lines you can choose from. Catch a cruise from Devonport to Melbourne just a short distance away, eat breakfast or have tea on board, and get a sense of the history of the area.
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Phone: 03 6424 4466
Where: North-West Tasmania
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