Burnie overlooks Emu Bay on Tasmania’s north-west coast. The city has a proud industrial past and is a vibrant place to visit.
Burnie has a dynamic cultural life with galleries, performances, exhibitions, community events and public spaces featuring buildings by contemporary Tasmanian architects and designers. The 20,000 residents enjoy a vibrant shopping district that spills onto the beach for seafood and coffee. Fantastic food is available in Burnie's great choice of restaurants and cafes. The best milk in the world for cheese making is produced in the area and cheese is made locally. There are well stocked deli’s and shops to tempt you with gourmet treats, including distilled whiskey.
Burnie's rolling hills enclose some impressive parks and gardens and are surrounded by beautiful beaches, sparkling water and fresh air. Dense rainforest once surrounded Burnie, but this slowly disappeared as fortunes were made felling and milling timber for its now-closed pulp and paper mill. Since the mill's closure, the city has reinvented itself as a city of makers and creators.
The best place to see the work of local craft and artisans in action is at the Makers' Workshop, part contemporary museum, part arts centre. Here you’ll find paper making, ceramics, textiles, glass, print makers, painters, sculptors and lots more. Have a chat about what they’re making and see their objects for sale in the gift shop.
For nature lovers or those just wanting to stretch their legs, there are several waterfalls on the city’s edge, beautiful bushwalks and a stunning 12-hectare rhododendron garden - the Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden. Also nearby is nature reserve Fern Glade Reserve, a natural platypus sanctuary along the Emu River.
There is no escaping the presence of a busy container port, the rail hub or the factory framework lining the highway around Emu Bay on the eastern approach to Burnie. A factory which evolved over 75 years manufacturing high volumes of paper for world markets was 'The Pulp.' In its hey day it employed 3500 people, and after 75 years of supporting the families of Burnie, the mill finally ceased operation in June 2010.
Today, Burnie is a more diversified and attractive city that celebrates its industrial past and embraces its bright and creative future. In recent years the city has focused on renewing significant infrastructure and working towards a more liveable city.
Burnie is a 35-minute drive (49 km) west of Devonport and a 90-minute drive (110 km) from Cradle Mountain.