Tasmania’s Central Coast is the perfect blend of the north’s history and the south’s stunning views. Places like Ulverstone, Penguin and the Leven Valley are all some of Tasmania’s best hidden gems, and make for terrific family holiday destinations with its many activities on offer.
Plenty of thrills in Ulverstone
A family trip to Ulverstone is incomplete without a visit to the giant waterslide or Pedal Buggies. Rent a pedal buggy and explore the foreshore in a unique and entertaining vehicle. Head on down to the Beach Hut in Ulverstone to rent a buggy, as you can rent a variety of different buggy formations to cater for the family (as they’re suitable for all ages). The town’s water slide and the long, white sandy beaches that surround the town are summer favourites – pack your bathers and head down as often as possible for a frolick in the water.
Education and entertainment mix at the Ulverstone Cultural Precinct. The space combines a visitors information centre, a history museum, a science centre, a planetarium, a working art space and retail centres together for a superb precinct for the family. Recently developed and completed, there aren’t many better things to do on the Central Coast then to plan a day trip with the family at the Cultural Precinct.
Why not walk or cycle on the shared pathways and explore Ulverstone’s waterfront precincts, playgrounds and parks? Or perhaps soak in the panoramic views from the quirky zigzag gardens, take in a river cruise and enjoy good fishing in the river and estuary.
Ulverstone is also a food and shopping hotspot, with cafes that serve up great coffee and seasonal produce. Galleries and craft stores feature the work of local artisans, and there are treasures to be found in the many antiques stores, second-hand and opportunity shops.
We recommend the Lighthouse Hotel – recently renovated to include excellent facilities and a jacuzzi, the family bistro, lounge and gaming areas are all plenty of fun for kids both young and old. It’s not just a wonderful place to stay while in Ulverstone, it’s also a great place to eat at while travelling through the Central Coast.
Heaps to see in Penguin
This charming seaside town was named after the occupants of the penguin rookeries in the area. Penguin’s attractions range from beautiful parks, gardens and markets through to mountain ranges and reserves and feature what is believed to be the largest penguin in the world. The 3m giant statue of a fairy penguin sits on the esplanade and makes for some hilarious family photos, while the real things return to local rookeries at dusk, especially between November and March. If you can catch even a glimpse of them, you’ll fall in love with the cute furry creatures – they are a treasure and a great family activity along the Central Coast.
A quirky attraction in town is the Penguin Book Exchange, right on the foreshore close to the Big Penguin. The Exchange is modelled after Dr Who’s Tardis and encourages passers-by to “take a book, read a book, leave a book”. Penguin Mountain Bike Park caters for all ages from the Little Devils Skill Park, ideal for skill building, including berms, pump track and beginner wall ride, to the more advanced Free Ride Jumps Park for multiple skill level jump lines and features including a whale tail, wall ride and container jump.
Lots of family fun in Leven Canyon
Take the magnificent journey through the Leven Valley to the Leven Canyon nature reserve, only a 45-minute drive from Ulverstone’s tranquil beaches and coastal parklands. The 2,500-hectare Leven Canyon Reserve forms part of the Penguin to Cradle Trail, one of Tasmania’s Eight Great Walks. Come to the edge of a dramatic canyon with the Leven River twisting and roaring 275 metres below… and hear nature’s wild call! It’s not for the faint-hearted, but it’s a slice of adventure in a beautiful section of the world.
The nearby Gunns Plains Caves are not to be missed with some of the largest limestone formations in the southern hemisphere. The caves are well lit and concrete paths ensure easy access for the young and not-so-young. It’s totally safe but also a lot of fun, as kids will love wandering through the tunnels and seeing some of the rarest cave sights in Tasmania. Special family prices are available, so a trip to see the magic of the underground wonderland and all of its cave formations won’t set you back too much either. If you’re lucky, you may even see the majestic glow worm or a freshwater lobster, or maybe even a platypus!
It’s time to go and see the many unique family activities on Tasmania’s Central Coast!