Burnie Tasmania has been transformed. Well, apparently. This being our first visit to the northern Tasmanian city, we can’t comment on its reputedly tainted past.
These days, it definitely makes a positive impact. The industrial port zone somehow adds character to the region. And cruise ships bring their passengers here during the summer, so they obviously approve.
Burnie Tasmania: History & Factory Shame
There’s no attempt to ignore the history of the town. At one of the lookouts over the port, there’s even a memorial stone declaring that Burnie in Tasmania was once Australia’s most polluted city. The words obnoxious odour, polluted air, noxious smell, factory, stained the sea red… aren’t exactly what you’d expect from tourism promotion. But the city is intensely proud of the gigantic improvements made since those nasty days in the 1960s.
Other lookouts paint a rosier picture. Rising from the surrounding bushy hinterland, versions like the Roundhill Lookout offer views over the city and Emu Bay. On a sunny day, Bass Strait sparkles bright blue along the coast with Ulverstone to the east and Table Cape to the west.
Burnie Tasmania Workshop Makeover
The Burnie Little Penguin Observation Centre and Habitat** goes some way towards proving the new environmental stance of the city. The adorable creatures could choose to live elsewhere. But they have taken up residence on the rocky foreshore practically on the doorstep of the town’s CBD. We have more photos of the penguin habitat, and we’ll share them one day too!
(20/04/11: we’ve written that article now, click link above**)
North West Coast Sporting Hub
Adjacent to the Makers Workshop and the Penguin Observation Centre, is the West Park Oval. The park is home to the Burnie Dockers team in the Tasmanian State League (Australian Rules football). It’s also a venue for cycling, cricket and athletics. The Point’s indoor complex opened last year and has a function room, offices and corporate seating with magnificent views of both the sporting field and the sea.
We mentioned another sporting triumph, the Burnie Tennis Club, in a previous article about the North West Coast. Following an upgrade to the centre court lighting and scoreboard, and resurfacing of all 16 courts, the facilities are now of international standard. The refurbishment and extensions to the club house are nothing short of brilliant.
And while elite level athletes are well catered for, leisurely recreation and families have not been forgotten. Views from The Point function centre extend over the Burnie Park. Landscaping combines bright flower gardens with established trees and a large expanse of lawn. The park is not far from the city centre, and features playground equipment and free barbecues.
The Factory Taste of Burnie Tasmania
To taste refreshments of a different sort, you can head to Hellyers Road Distillery for some whisky tasting. Not in Hellyers Road as you might expect from the name, but in Old Surrey Road, Burnie. Open seven days (excluding public holidays) from 10:00 until 4:30, there’s a cafe and gift shop on site. You can book tours of the distillery which include tastings of the whisky.
Likewise, you can visit the Tasmanian Cheese Tasting Centre, also in Old Surrey Road. Using the premium milk produced in the north west of Tasmania, the factory churns out a range of products. In addition to the free samples, the factory outlet sells odd-shaped seconds (and perfectly ripe, top-quality!) cheese to the public.
From Burnie to Cooee
Improvements to the town’s facilities benefit both tourists on holiday and locals. Burnie has recently unveiled a brand new walking and cycling track along the beautiful coastline. Connecting the boardwalk near the penguins, pedestrians now have a safe and flat link from Emu River to Cooee.
The walkway was actually very convenient for us. During our visit, we stayed in cabin accommodation on the beach at Cooee. Apart from the freezing temperature of the supposedly heated pool, we didn’t have any complaints. The cabins were neat, tidy and the place was pretty quiet; except for some crowing roosters in the mornings.
Seems like everyone is crowing about the new and improved version of Burnie Tasmania!
For more information, visit the Discover Burnie Tasmania website.
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