John Reid has lived in Devonport, on the north coast of Tasmania, Australia. He says that after his wife passed away he needed a change of outlook. He did a bit of travel, took a long overdue look around the big island to the north, then decided he liked nowhere better than Tasmania’s north-west coast and settled in Devonport. “It’s central to everything, convenient to transport and satisfies my need of beautiful things to photograph,” John says.
Like most coastal towns, Devonport is as pretty as a picture. It’s a small, friendly estuarine city of around 20,000 people that formed in the 1990s when the twin towns Torquay (east of the river) and Formby (west) combined.
Devonport is a busy port and transport hub. It’s home to the Spirit of Tasmania I and II, the 30,000-tonne ferries that ply Bass Strait carrying tourists, cars and freight each way each day between Devonport and Melbourne.
An interesting thing people might not know about your town is…
“In Summer, when the mainland swelters in high 30C temperatures, the air passing over Bass Strait cools. By the time it reaches Devonport it has moderated greatly, with summer temperatures rarely going above mid-20s. Winter, too, is controlled by the sea and classed as cool Mediterranean.”
What are the best events that take place in your town throughout the year that you’d really recommend to visitors?
“Devonport Jazz Festival in July, Devonport Food and Wine Festival in October, Devonport Cup Carnival in January, Devonport Triathlon in March, and the Mersey Regatta in March to name a few of many.”
Best thing for every first-time visitor to do in your town?
“Visit our brand new Paranaple (it means river view) Centre that contains a library, tourism centre, a computer access centre, a Service Tasmania office and, best of all, has a great outlook over the port and out to sea.”
Best place for a coffee?
“A supermarket! Hill Street is located in Oldaker Street and entry is through its own café. Their coffee, their snacks and their service are great, as is their brunch/lunch menu. Good parking too!”
Best place for a walk?
“Somewhere the visitor might not always connect with is the walk at East Devonport. It extends along the riverfront, passes Shipwreck Beach where ship remains can be seen at low tide, around past Flour Mill Bay and part way along the Bass Strait shore. It’s wheelchair friendly.”
Best place to look out over an amazing view?
“There are great walking paths all around Devonport, most of which connect to each other. A must is Mersey Bluff, with views of the river mouth, the city, and the coast in both directions, with the added attraction of perhaps the prettiest lighthouse in Australia. It’s an interesting place to look back over Aboriginal history, including petroglyphs.”
Best thing to do at night?
“On a fine evening, stroll the walking path along the Mersey River past the town front, and opposite the Spirit of Tasmania ferry terminal. See the lights sparkling off the water as you walk out to the edge of Bass Strait and make your way back again along Victoria Parade. The entire walk is wheelchair friendly.”
Best place to have breakfast?
“A lovely little ‘rustic-chic’ place aptly called Laneway, set in Rooke Lane and open from 6:30am.”
Best thing to do in your town for less than $20?
“In all seriousness, that would buy 15 litres of petrol and take you to some of the beauty spots around us, places like Don Heads, Braddons Lookout, Bells Parade, Port Sorell and Squeaking Point.”
Best place to eat a meal with a view?
“The Elimatta Hotel is located on Victoria Parade, overlooking the port and river. The food’s good, too, and reasonably priced.”
Best restaurant in town?
“Mrs Jones is a restaurant, lounge and bar located on Bluff Beach. Lovely surrounds and outlook, with great service and scrummy food.”
Best souvenir to take home as a memento of your visit?
“As a photographer, I must say photographs. Bring anything with the capacity to shoot a decent picture and you’ll return home with wonderful memories of my lovely, photogenic town.”
Best place for visitors to pick up something special?
“Just 10 minutes out of town, you can visit a genuine Belgian chocolatier. Igor van Gerwen makes his magical Truffles d’Anvers and other chocolate delicacies near the town of Latrobe.”
Best place to visit on a hot day?
“Take a 30-minute drive to Sheffield and enjoy the Town of Murals, or a 20-minute drive to Hawley to enjoy the beaches, the bush walk and the scenery.”
Best place to visit when it’s cold?
“Snuggle up and take your time over a meal and coffee (or favourite drink) by the blazing wood fire in Verona Italian Ristorante in Rooke Street.”
Best place to go for visitors to learn more about your town?
“The Bass Strait Maritime Centre, which provides an amazing record of a seafaring community, and the Paranaple Centre, including the Devonport Visitor Information Centre.”