Devonport Tasmania issues a welcome to passengers arriving at the Apple Isle via ferry, travelling from Melbourne in Victoria across Bass Strait. But Devonport is so much more than a docking station for the Spirit of Tasmania boats. We set out to discover more about the city of Devonport in Tasmania’s North West Coast tourism zone.
Devonport Tasmania: You’re Welcome
You’re Welcome: the town’s tourism slogan, and that definitely applies at the Visitor Information Centre. The council owned and operated travel agency is located in Formby Road, across the Mersey River from the Spirit of Tasmania terminal. Open seven days and stocking a good range of brochures, the Centre is a sensible place to start your exploration of the region.
Built in the 1920s, the former home of the harbour master is now home to a collection of maritime memorabilia. Boasting all the bells and whistles associated with ships and navigation, the museum faces Bluff Road. Nearby you will also find the town’s controversial bronze sculpture, Spirit of the Sea .
Looking to walk or ride in Devonport? Tasmania has a range of fitness challenges, but the river foreshore offers a gentle option. From the city centre, you can stroll or pedal around the Mersey Bluff past sculptures and lookouts to the lighthouse. Take your camera to capture river and coastal views; interesting historical features; the blowhole and even aboriginal rock carvings.
Don River Railway
This tourist attraction is operated by a bevvy of volunteers and is located at Don, a suburb of Devonport. The special feature is a train journey running through a bushland reserve along the Don River towards Mersey Bluff. The ride takes 1/2 an hour but entrance fees include access to everything at the site. A railway-focused museum is housed in the station building; there’s a signal station, a workshop and an abundance of trains in the yard.
Here’s one for the kids: the Devonport Discovery and Adventure Centre. Incorporating the Imaginarium Science Centre with laser skirmish, rock climbing and jungle gyms for the younger age group. The science section hosts travelling exhibitions and boasts hands-on exhibits and displays. Pendemonium by any other name.
Perhaps you’re looking for a little political history during your Tasmanian tour. What about a visit to the home of a former Tasmanian Government Premier and Prime Minister, now a National Trust property? Joseph Lyons and his wife Enid built this stunning weatherboard home in Devonport in 1916. The house is still furnished with the Lyon family’s original belongings and is open to the public.
Shopping for souvenirs before boarding the Spirit of Tasmania? No ordinary antique shop, the Antique Emporium is aptly named and found on Formby Road not far from the Visitor Information Centre. The huge shed houses a bizarre range of wares arranged over several levels. They sell books, furniture, giftware, garden products… even lollies and jams. And then there’s the pirate ship!
Australian Weaving Mills
Factory outlet is an over-used term these days, but you can still find a genuine version in Tasman Street, Devonport. Tasmanian bargains from the retail shop include Dickies, Esprit and Dri-Glo products. The outlet is open to the public from Monday to Friday (9.30 – 3.00) and again on Saturday mornings (9.00 until 12.00).
Regional Art Gallery
The gallery collections are displayed in a former Baptist Church, built in 1904. The amazing building in Stewart Street (near the Devonport shopping mall) was formerly the town library. Now refurbished, the fine and decorative art gallery shows predominately Tasmanian-made work and is open at least four hours every day.
Other Towns near Devonport Tasmania
Within easy driving proximity of Devonport, other Tasmanian towns are waiting to be discovered. Latrobe is to the south, an excellent heritage town boasting fine buildings, parklands and tourist attractions. Port Sorell lies to the east and is a small seaside community with lovely, sheltered beaches. Also within striking distance are Sheffield (the Town of Murals) and the coastal holiday hub of Ulverstone.
Touring Supplies for Spirit Arrivals
Devonport seems to have more shops, services and accommodation than most cities of this size. With a residential population of 25,000+, Devonport is also the regional headquarters for a large rural community. Tourists arriving in Tasmania via the Spirit or the local airport, can purchase the majority of standard supplies from the
- supermarket-based shopping centre in Best Street
- shopping strip in William Street
- Rooke Street Mall
The farms around Devonport Tasmania are sometimes referred to as Australia’s market garden. Producing an estimated 40% of Tasmanian vegetables, crops include potatoes, onions, peas, carrots and beans. Keen to sample some of the local delights (think seafood, beef, cheese, chocolate, wine, beer…) we tried to find a business called Gourmet to Go, which was supposed to be located in Oldaker Street, according to the obviously outdated brochure!!