Enjoy the big charm of Tasmania's smaller cities - Launceston, Devonport and Burnie.
The compact, picturesque Tasmanian cities of Launceston, Devonport and Burnie have lots to delight travellers. Discover restaurants, galleries, parklands and historic streetscapes, meet the friendly locals and explore the surrounding attractions. In Tasmania's north lies Launceston, home to a thriving cultural scene and the wilderness of Cataract Gorge. Along the island's rugged north-west coast you can explore the pretty port of Devonport and the lively seaside city of Burnie.
Weatherboard Victorian houses dot the hilly streets of Launceston, Tasmania's second-largest city. Wander through century-old parks and explore Cataract Gorge, an enchanting wilderness, just minutes from the city centre. Stroll through the fern-fringed gully, climb or abseil the gorge's walls or take in panoramic views on the chairlift. Check out the restaurants lining the city's revitalised seafront, where the boardwalk leads to Inveresk and one of Australia's best regional galleries.
From Launceston, the Tamar Valley Wine Route winds past wetlands, wildlife parks and wineries to Georgetown, near Nabowla's tidy lavender fields and the little penguin colony of Low Head. Or drive past croplands to Scottsdale and Bridport, where you can play golf overlooking Bass Strait. Also near Launceston are rustic villages such as Longford, Ross and Evandale. In April Targa Tasmania, an exhilarating six-day tarmac rally, starts in Launceston and loops around Tasmania.
Fringed by fertile farmland and a wild coastline, Devonport is known for its creative culture, tranquillity and clean sea air. Walk around the port, where the Spirit of Tasmania ships have become landmarks, and continue along the coastline to the sandy beach of The Bluff. Check out the surf beaches, go rowing or sailing along the Mersey River and learn about local Aboriginal history in the Tiagarra Aboriginal Centre. Spot penguins on Lillico Beach and fish from the beach or Mersey River.
Inland, quaint towns dot the emerald countryside. Hunt for antiques in Latrobe, see murals in Sheffield and shop for crafts in Deloraine. Or journey along the coastline to seaside villages such as Penguin, Wynard and Stanley, which sits in the shadow of the steep volcanic plug known as ‘The Nut'. Surf Marrawah's huge waves and cruise the Arthur River into the Tarkine wilderness. Off this coastline lies remote King Island, where you can dive shipwrecks, go game-fishing and taste the famous local cheese.
The coastal road from Devonport leads past the port of Burnie, the starting point for Australia's premier 10km (six mile) road race, the Burnie Ten. Feast on fish and chips along the beachfront or join the holiday-makers in summer, when lifeguards patrol the sands. Burnie is home to Australia's biggest eucalypt tree farm and a paper mill that exhibits works by local artists. Learn about the city's history in the Pioneer Village Museum, join a tasting tour through the cheese factory and sample single malt whiskey in the distillery.
Visit Launceston, Devonport and Burnie and you'll see that Tasmania's small cities have big personalities.