Here’s an opinion you’ve probably never heard: The North West of Tasmania is the Northern Rivers of Tasmania. Yep, you read that right. There are a few reasons why Burnie is pretty much Byron Bay. There are shops selling trinkets from India and Peru, delicious vegetarian food, yoga schools and retreats. Most important though are the stunning and diverse landscapes. The coastline lends itself to a beachside lifestyle and the ancient rainforest forests are just a short drive away.

The landscapes.

Burnie is the thriving keystone of the region, flanked by gorgeous natural landscapes. The ancient Tarkine rainforest is a mere hour away, and you can reach the world-renowned Cradle Mountain in only 90 minutes. Burnie itself rests on the shores of the Bass Strait, with volleyball nets set up on beautiful golden sanded beaches in the heart of the city. Burnie is perfectly sized, meaning everything you need is there, housed in one small city – only without the crowds and traffic. But if the soft hubbub of traffic does become too much, some of the world’s most beautiful rainforests are just around the corner, offering peace and solitude. 

The shops.

Burnie is home to speciality factories of some famous delights, such as Hellyer Road Whiskey, King Island Dairy and Mersey Valley cheese. That means you can savour the tastes that Tasmania is so well-known for, while getting them at a factory discount.  

If you’re after a great coffee nestled in lush green surrounds and the odd Buddha statue, Secret Buddha cafe is for you. There are solid gluten free and vegan options on most menus around the city, but if you need more fresh, delicious options, check out vegetarian café, The Good Place. If you’ve run out of incense, head to Boat Harbour Beach for some true Byron immersion at Kumala Moon. The sometimes-open gift shop is rich with brightly coloured dream catchers, Buddha statues, South American ponchos and Tibetan prayer flags. Keep an eye out for the sign to Kumala Moon, which, in true North-West style, is only open when the owner is at home.

The yoga.

There’s a huge wellness movement in the North West, with plenty of gyms and fitness places around. Yoga studios abound in the North West and, depending on the setting that inspires your downward facing dog, you’ll have plenty to choose from. The wild and rugged Sisters Beach is perhaps the perfect place to chill out and cut some yoga shapes, a half-hour drive from Burnie. Drift Yoga offers a retreat when you need to relax and rejuvinate from the big smoke, as well as classes and one-to-one lessons in a small studio. In Burnie, there are a few options, such as classes at one of the many gyms, or at a holistic studio like the Burnie Yoga School or The Sanctuary. You can find their class timetables online. There is also yoga at Boat Harbor beach – just check the notices on the window at the Surf Club. 

The creativity.

The North West has the highest per capita of artists, not only in Tasmania, but the whole of Australia. You’ll feel your creativity increase by osmosis. Burnie is known as the City of Makers, and the inspiration is palpable. Visit the Maker’s Workshop to chat to artisans as they produce and sell their handcrafted wares. You can also see local artists’ exhibitions. You can even apply to have your own shopfront with the Maker’s Program. A weekly craft group meets at the Boat Harbour Beach Surf Club, as well as regular poetry and music recitals. More info is available at the Surf Club. 

Look, Burnie might not be as warm and fashionable as Byron Bay, but it has all the best bits, without the stressful bits of the Northern Rivers. There are hippie shops, Buddha cafes, yoga studios, gorgeous beaches and ancient forests. So, if you’re feeling like a sea or tree change, put Burnie at the top of your list for places to explore. You can even apply to study in Burnie, with a number of our courses offered at our Cradle Coast Campus. Visit our Burnie website for more.