For nature lovers, Devonport is the perfect place to base yourself when exploring the North West of Tasmania. There are a huge variety of day trips that are accessible from the City, whether you want to go West to Stanley and Arthur River, South to Sheffield and Cradle Mountain or East to Latrobe. There is a lot to explore, and some of our natural treasures are much closer than you think.
The Don Reserve (5 minutes drive from the CBD) is a peaceful and stunning bushland reserve which features paved and sawdust walking tracks near and beside the Don River, and is popular with keen twitchers (bird watchers) and wildlife photographers. Birding activity has begun earlier than usual this year and several rare species of birds have been spotted. While the Don Reserve is home to the Sacred Kingfisher, a number of endangered Swift Parrots have also made their home there this Spring, along with many other native fauna.
Lillico Beach (10 minutes West) is a coastal reserve and Little Penguin (also known as Fairy Penguins) colony. From the reserve’s viewing platform you can watch the birds return to their burrows each evening after a day of fishing in the open ocean. Local volunteers and Parks and Wildlife rangers are on-site during the breeding season (September to May) and summer months (mid-December to mid-February).
Within the 66 hectares of The Tasmanian Arboretum (17 minutes to the South), you will find a botanical garden of trees of the temperate world, in a beautiful and peaceful landscape. Platypus sightings happen regularly, and marsupials roam the grounds in the form of Bennett’s wallabies, possums, quolls and potoroos. The park is also home to around 81 species of birds.
Narawntapu National Park (35 minutes East of of Devonport) is a great place to get to know the local marsupials and you’ll likely spot Forester kangaroos, Bennett’s wallabies and pademelons grazing or resting on the open grassland. Common wombats and Tasmanian devils, eastern and spotted-tail quolls are also found there, as well as platypuses and echidnas. The birdlife is rich and includes threatened species such as the hooded plover, Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle and swift parrot.
Whether you have a special interest in native animals, birds or flora, or you just enjoy getting out for walk, an adventure with nature is just a stone’s throw away.
Images by Dr. Thomas D.J. Sayers