Tours

Click the headings below for Tours information;

Australian Wild Harvest

Enjoy Gourmet Food Tours of the North West region offering a "Paddock to Plate" experience. Your tour will visit local food producers, culminating in a lunch which incorporates some produce from the farms visited. Phone 0411 785 412, email enquiries@australianwildharvest.com.au.

Cradle-Coast Tours

Enjoy insight an introduction and also boutique tours of the Central Coast area and North-West region. Your tour guide will pick you up from your accommodation and escort you around some of the very best attractions this scenic part of Tasmania has to offer. Phone 03 6425 5854 or 0407 335 925 visit www.cradlecoasttours.com.au.

Classic Motocycle Hire at Dragonfly Classics

Ride a classic Honda or BMW motorcycle on some of the best touring roads in the world. We can arrange to meet you and pair you with a bike from a day to a week or more. Hire and day tours. Mobile 0438 750 455 Email www.dragonflyclassics.com.au.

Leven River Cruises

Providing personalised customer cruises of the Leven River. Enjoy and relax in its natural scenic sanctuary and be enthralled with an interpretation of its historic cultural twist. Cruises range from 1 hour on the Leven River Bay or 2 hours along the tidal Leven River. Enjoy a 3 to 4 hour picnic cruise. Take the 5 hour tour where you can relax in an amazing historic sanctuary of eucalyptus, blackwood, Antarctica dicksonia and wildlife, whilst you enjoy a scrumptious 3 course meal. Bookings essential contact Kim, phone 0400 130 258, email kim@levenrivercruises.com.au visit www.levenrivercruises.com.au.

Murray's Big Day Out

A unique Tasmanian Touring Experience. Travel in comfort and let Murray drive. Design your own itinerary or choose from some of Murray's quick pick day trips. Murray offers a day out with personal and friendly service and door to door pick up, Minimum of 2 people and maximum of 7. Budget priced for a great day out. Phone 03 6424 5250. Fax 03 6423 5086. Mobile 0427 252 439. Visit www.murraysdayout.com.au.

Itineraries

Click the headings below for Itineraries information;

Coastal Detour

Motorists traveling along the north-west of Tasmania are well served by the National Highway. Central Coast, however, is fortunate to have retained a small section of 'old highway'. Discover this scenic coastal detour which hugs the headlands and sandy shores from Ulverstone through to Howth.

Ulverstone, with the Leven River at its centre, is Tasmania’s largest town. A popular summer destination, it is best known for beautiful memorial parklands, great beaches, a relaxed lifestyle and free parking! For many locals and visitors, it offers an ideal setting for a picnic or barbecue next to the river or main beach.

A good place to begin your coastal tour is at the Zigzag Garden walkway and lookout. The base of the walkway starts in Maud Street. Enjoy a leisurely climb surrounded by beautiful, award-winning gardens, and at the top take in a panoramic view of Ulverstone and Bass Strait. Or for a less strenuous alternative, drive to the lookout via Upper Maud Street.

Turning onto Penguin Road, head west to find the first landmark of this scenic drive, the Three Sisters - Goat Island Nature Reserve. A small offshore island, Goat Island is accessible at low tide (via West Ulverstone Beach) – but take care not to get stranded. It offers many magical hours of fossicking, with shallow caves amongst the rock, and abundant bird and marine life. Throw a line into the ‘fish trap’, or search for traces of the rail line which carried rock from the island in the early 1900s. Not far away can be seen a cluster of small islands known as the Three Sisters which are sanctuaries to a variety of bird life.

Continue along Penguin Road with its rocky headlands and secluded coves. Take your time, as the road is narrow and winding. It’s a lovely drive, enhanced by viewing stations along the way offering uninterrupted outlooks of the coastline and Bass Strait.

The next stop is the town of Penguin, named after the occupants of the nearby rookeries. Greeting visitors along its eastern entrance are the Perry-Ling Gardens. A mass of colour in spring, the gardens follow the road and rail route into town for approximately one kilometre.

Penguin is very much a seaside town, with its main street adjacent to the beach. It’s a popular destination with visitors who are attracted by the beautiful parks, foreshore, old buildings and cafés, and the busy Sunday market.

And it’s also here that you’ll find The Big Penguin, one of the most photographed landmarks in Tasmania. The Ferro cement structure stands a proud 3m tall on the esplanade where it was erected in 1975 to commemorate the town’s centenary.

Heading west on the final leg of the tour, turn right at the traffic-lights and continue on to Preservation Bay, home of the Penguin Surf Life Saving Club and a popular spot for surfing, fishing and swimming, and then Sulphur Creek with its lovely stretch of sandy beach. It’s just a little further on to Howth, where the old highway meets the new and our coastal detour concludes.

Wilderness, Canyons & Caves

For those who like to relax by getting back to nature, Central Coast has some outstanding natural attractions.

Explore the Gunns Plains Cave located on Gunns Plains Road about 20 minutes from Ulverstone (south on B17/via Preston Road). One of the best examples of its type in Tasmania, the cave is home to some of the largest limestone shawl formations in the Southern Hemisphere and also features an underground stream and sparkling glow-worm display. Tours are conducted daily at 10am, 11am, 12noon, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm.

Further south, along Loongana Road (on C128), is the Leven Canyon, a spectacular 250m-deep ravine worn over tens of thousands of years by rains and the Leven River which flows at its base. It is estimated that between 45,000 and 70,000 kilolitres of water roars through the canyon every day.
From a well-equipped picnic area, follow the short rainforest walk to a cliff-face viewing platform and marvel at the breathtaking scenery. To also view the dramatic cliff formations from their base, drive one kilometre from the reserve on the Loongana Road, then follow the walking track to the canyon floor.

An eco escape awaits visitors to Mountain Valley Wilderness Holidays. Located at Loongana about 45km from Ulverstone and at the base of Black Bluff, the area comprises a 61ha private wildlife, forest and karst reserve. Through guided bushwalks, individually tailored, discover the natural wonders of the lost valley, a pristine wilderness of ancient forests, waterfalls and caves. Secluded accommodation is provided in the form of cosy, comfortable log cabins, with meals included.

More itinerary ideas…

Near the coast, forming a backdrop to the town of Penguin, the Dial Range offers a Mecca of walking experiences. This chain of mountains and valleys was given its name because the silhouette of one of its summits, the Gnomon, resembles an ancient sun-dial. With access via Ironcliffe Road, the Range has more than 50km of trail, providing opportunities for short walks or longer treks, depending on bushwalking experience. Short walks include Ferndene (30 mins return), Tall Trees (45 mins), Mount Montgomery (2 hrs), Leven River (40-60 mins) and Mount Gnomon (2 hrs). For more information, purchase a Dial Range Recreation and Management Map from a local visitor centre.

The Dial Range is also the start of the 80km Penguin Cradle Trail for experienced bushwalkers, which links with the world-famous Overland Track in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.

For information on bushwalking experiences, write to the North West Walking Club, PO Box 107, Ulverstone 7315 or visit www.nwwc.org.au.

Family Fun

From a wildlife park and reptile centre to Sunday train rides, there’s plenty to do and see for the family in Tasmania’s Central Coast.

A country escape for all the family can be found at Wing’s Wildlife Park, just 20 minutes’ drive from Ulverstone. Located at Winduss Road, Gunns Plains (south on B17/via Preston and Gunns Plains Roads), the park offers a host of activities, whether visiting for the day or staying a while. View the Tasmanian devils at the wildlife exhibit, or hand-feed animals in the farmyard playground. Get close to Tasmanian snakes, lizards and frogs at the Reptile Centre - home to freshwater crocodiles and the rare Golden Tiger Snake. Try some trout fishing, bushwalking or kayaking, or just relax in Nan’s Tea-room offering light snacks, refreshments and souvenirs. Cabin, caravan, camp site and backpacker accommodation available. Open daily from 10.00am to 4.00pm.

Just two kilometres east of Ulverstone, turn off the Bass Highway onto Maskells Road and take a ride on the Ulverstone Miniature Railway. The only model railway in Tasmania with three separate track gauges and track layouts, it operates every third Sunday of the month from 10.30am to 4.00pm, and during January, February and March every first Sunday as well.

Or take in the million-dollar view of the bay while riding the Penguin Miniature Railway at Johnsons Beach (off Main Road). It runs between 11am and 3pm every Sunday from November to March and then every second and fourth Sunday from April to October. The train is available for group bookings by phoning 03 6437 2786. Also enjoy the adjacent park and barbecue facilities.

Visit the Penguin Market. The Market, located in Arnold Street, is open every Sunday from 9am to 3pm. Bargain-hunters can browse among 200 stalls filled with quality arts, crafts and produce. It also offers a food court and a variety of entertainment for the kids.

Great Food, Gifts & a Garden

Start with some retail therapy and browse the 7 great shoe, clothing and craft stores in Ulverstone, including handmade Tasmanian gifts and gallery at Under the Oak, local woodwork at the North West Woodcraft Gallery, paintings and photography at the Ulverstone Visitor Information Centre, and fine antiques and collectables at Leven Antiques, just to name a few. All shops are within short, easy walking distance of each other with free parking. Then enjoy some delectable treats at the many bakeries, cafés and restaurants in and around Ulverstone.

Head south along Castra Road to Abbotsham, nestled between the hinterland and the coast, where you’ll find the finest extra virgin olive oils from local handpicked, cold-pressed fruit. At Cradle Coast Olives you can wander through the grove, enjoy obligation-free tastings and purchase some national award-winning products.

Keep following the Castra Road (south on B15) past Sprent and onto Nietta to view a magnificent 2 hectare, cool-climate garden. Kaydale Lodge, located at Loongana Road, has mass displays of daffodils in spring, trilliums and peonies in summer and an autumn show of maples. Enjoy the famous home-made bread, cakes and puddings on offer for lunch, morning or afternoon tea. Open daily.

As you head home, take in more great scenery while driving north (B17) to Preston. Turn left onto Raymond Road to experience the beautiful Gunns Plains valley. You’ll come out onto Gunns Plains Road, then travel through the valley across the Leven River (B17) and up to Woodhouse Lookout on the South Riana Road for a final view of the stunning Gunns Plains panorama.

Fishing & Golf Challenge

Tasmania’s Central Coast has some excellent recreational opportunities, whether fishing the clear streams and rivers, or indulging in a round or two of golf at one of the best courses in Australia.

In addition to being a popular location for rafting or boating during summer, the Leven River also offers a great fishing experience. Ultimate Fishing & Outdoors at 80 Reibey Street, Ulverstone can supply anglers with fishing tackle and bait. (Note. Fishing in Tasmania’s inland waters requires a current licence which can be purchased from Service Tasmania, or Ultimate Fishing & Outdoors.)

In town, the break wall on the eastern side of the Leven River estuary is a popular fishing spot. On an incoming tide wrasse, cod, couta and salmon can be caught. A ramp and jetty are available on the western shore for those who have access to a boat. Safety regulations apply when boating on Tasmanian waters, so contact Marine & Safety Tasmania for information, and as the weather can change quickly, check forecasts with the Bureau of Meteorology. Or simply visit the website www.fishonline.tas.gov.au for your complete guide to fishing in Tasmania.

A short drive east of Ulverstone (via Forth Road), is the village of Forth and the Forth River. A significant waterway on the north-west coast, the river is the home of white-water canoeing and is a well-known destination for fishing (along Wilmot Road).

For a top golfing experience, visit the Ulverstone Golf Club located at Lobster Creek Road (via South Road). Rated in the top 100 courses in Australia, the Club has an 18-hole par-72 championship course and plays host too many state and national competitions. One of the most picturesque sporting venues in the state, it’s also a challenging course, with plenty of trees and undulating fairways to provide an unyielding test of the golfer’s ability. Open daily, a greens fee applies and golf clubs are available for hire.

The Penguin Golf Course is a public course located at Dial Road. It’s bunker-free, but watch out for the many creeks that run through it! The 9-hole par-71 course features the par 3 120m 7th/16th hole which is virtually surrounded by water. The picturesque green is in the middle of a lake and has the Dial Range as a backdrop. A daily fee applies, or takes advantage of a 5-week holiday package.

Or try your luck at Target Golf driving range at Forth. It’s just a short drive east of Ulverstone (via Forth Road) and located 2km along the Wilmot Road (look for the turn-off at the Forth Village Store). Practice your golf and win prizes for hitting targets. It’s fun for everyone, from beginners to advanced players. Open weekends from 10am and Monday-Wednesday-Friday from noon. Group bookings also offered outside these hours.

Journey Through History

The first European settlement of Central Coast commenced in the 1840s. Thick coastal scrub, dense forests and no roads meant the early pioneer’s life was grim. Paling splitters worked the area for the easily accessible market of the growing village of Melbourne across Bass Strait. Sawmills followed, and as timber was removed, farms became established. The rich basalt soil proved ideal for cropping, and today agriculture is the principal contributor to the area’s economy.

Step back in time to experience this bygone era at the Ulverstone History Museum located at 50 Main Street. View the general store, the blacksmith & wheelwright, school house, railway station and overseer’s cottage, all carefully re-created and brimming with old artefacts. Or with a bit of information and time, you might be able to trace your family’s history amongst the extensive photographic library and archives. Open daily from 1.30pm to 4.30pm.

The early settlers in the town of Penguin were also involved in the lucrative ‘paling’ trade. As well, Penguin briefly worked silver and iron mines, and in the boom years
of the ‘gold rush’, a wharf was kept very busy, providing a focal point for the surrounding community.

Visit the Penguin Visitor Information Centre, next to the post office in Main Road, to pick up the brochure ‘Discover Penguin on Foot’. A short walk around this charming seaside town takes in historic sites dating as far back as the 1870s, as well as some beautiful old churches and commercial buildings.

The recently restored Penguin Railway Station is now the home of the Penguin History Group. The Station is open to the public every Wednesday from 10am to 12.30pm (and at other times by appointment) and visitors can view old photos, cemetery records and family histories. Group members also welcome the opportunity to conduct personal tours of local sites - call 6437 2712 or 6437 2570.

More itinerary ideas…

Collect a ‘Discover Ulverstone on Foot’ brochure from the Ulverstone History Museum, or take a stroll through Ulverstone’s beautiful war-memorial parklands located along the banks of the Leven River.

If you’ve an hour to spare, do the ‘Stories of Ulverstone’ walk? Six story boards located in and near Reibey Street give some fascinating snippets on the history of Ulverstone. The first story board can be found at the top end of the street at the podium opposite the Shrine of Remembrance clock-tower and gives an account of the Shrine’s construction.
The second story board is on the wall of Elders VJ Woodhouse Real Estate, located on the southern side of Reibey Street in its middle block, and explains the naming of local streets.

The third story board is just an intersection away on the wall of Furner’s Hotel. Here you’ll discover a good yarn or two about ‘Shires the Snake Charmer’ and ‘Money Flowing in the Gutters’. Continue down the bottom block and around the corner into Kings Parade. Midway along the Parade is a crossing leading to the Boer War Memorial overlooking Queen’s Gardens. Follow the pathway down the Gardens and across into Anzac Park.

From here enjoy a pleasant stroll by the river, under the bridge and along to the wharf where you’ll see Pedro’s ‘The Restaurant’ and the location for the fourth story board. It bears the history of the Ulverstone Port and recounts the time there was a ‘Whale in the Leven’.

Retrace your steps back to Reibey Street, crossing the street at the first pedestrian crossing, to continue this time on its northern side to Apex Park and the fifth story board. The board introduces the Park and its many features.

For the sixth and final story board, continue up to the middle block to the Ulverstone Newsagency where outside its door you can admire some wonderful photographs of Reibey Street from the early 1900s. All in all, this walk makes for a very interesting journey through history.