Arriving in Devonport Tasmania
My first encounter was very fleeting: arriving on the Spirit of Tasmania in the wee small hours of the morning before exiting via the main highway towards Launceston, about an hour’s drive away. The town was still in darkness and the inside of the quarantine station was about the extent of any sightseeing.
In my defence, there was a pressing engagement at a house sit at Geeveston in the Huon Valley, (so the other end of the island) and time was limited. But since then, I’ve started to make amends… Vehicle and passenger ferries named Spirit of Tasmania cross Bass Strait daily, sometimes even twice, between Melbourne on the mainland and Devonport in Tasmania. It is a leisurely alternative to flying and a convenient way to bring your own wheels and lots of extra luggage.
The authorities have made the most of their town’s attraction with perfectly placed viewing and photography platforms on the Mersey River. While taking photos of the Spirit of Tasmania docking, I couldn’t help but be amused by the passengers all waving madly – obviously they were happy to arrive. Hopefully this was a sign they were keen to start their holidays, and not that the seas had been too rough and they were glad to arrive one piece!!
Latrobe and the House of Anvers
About 10 minutes from Devonport along the Bass Highway is the small township of Latrobe, home to the House of Anvers. Housed in a Californian bungalow with lovely garden surrounds, the boutique Belgian chocolate factory has an adjoining cafe. My visit happened to coincide with Mothers Day, and the place was packed. Next time (well, any decent chocoholic would return for a follow up taste test), I will make it a week-day so the factory is operational. The static displays are fascinating, and I can definitely recommend the product. Yes I did taste, but all in the name of research, of course!
Devonport Lighthouse and Mersey Bluff
The extensive recreational precinct at Mersey Bluff includes a large tennis complex offering great facilities; and there seemed to be hundreds of children involved in soccer and football on the adjacent fields. The whole area gave the impression of a council with excellent planning and community pride – there was just a really nice vibe about the whole town. For anyone interested in lighthouses, there is a very impressive version at the top of the cliff facing Bass Strait.
Exploring some of the surrounding townships from this home base is easy. The coastal drive between Devonport and Penguin is brilliant: it is Tasmania: what would you expect? And the family-oriented attractions partway at Ulverstone foreshore included pedal buggies, a wicked playground and a water slide. Keep the kids happy on the drive, always a good thing!
The Penguin community gardening project on the foreshore is quite inspiring. And if you feel the need for an inflated monument, there is a big penguin – apparently one of the most photographed statues in the state… so I add to that statistic with my snap.
Nothing else puts a town on the map like a superstar, although… the local colony of furry namesakes might have something to say about that?
What else is there to know about Devonport?
- you can view penguins in the wild, free of charge, nearby
(another Tasmanian wildlife encounter)
- there’s the Imaginarium Science Centre
- the Penguin market is very highly regarded
- Devonport was the marital home of Joseph Lyons and his wife
Dame Enid Lyons
- and the Australian Weaving Mills Factory Outlet
But then who needs more incentive to visit Devonport? Did I mention delectable chocolates…?
Devonport Cabin Accommodation
A day-trip may not be sufficient to uncover all the delights, edible or otherwise, of the area. We were lucky to have a cabin in East Devonport, which turned out to be exceptional value, very clean and had all the essentials for anyone travelling with a family.
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