10 things to see and do in Penguin, Tasmania, Australia
Updated: Sep 3, 2021
Pablo the Penguin welcomes visitors to the picturesque seaside town of Penguin in northwest Tasmania.
Yes, little penguins can be seen along here from November to March each year. In fact, the botanist Robert Campbell Gunn named the town after seeing the large number of penguins along the coast, way back in 1861.
With the rich farmlands and the Dial Ranges behind the town and the seas of the Bass Strait in front, this gorgeous town is a favourite holiday destination in Tasmania.
1. Penguins everywhere
The town truly celebrates its quirky name, and visitors will find representations everywhere. The rubbish bins in town are even decorated.
The visitor centre is also well stocked with penguin branded souvenirs of all descriptions.
2. The Beach
Stroll along the paved walkway and look out over a pristine beach to the seawaters of Bass Strait. Your senses become more alert as you feel the breeze, listen to the waves, watch the ocean, and smell the salt in the air. Visiting beaches and the seaside is strangely both energising and relaxing.
3. Penguin Foreshore
Along the main street are plenty of places to eat, including two small supermarkets. A great idea is to grab some food and enjoy a picnic on the foreshore across the road. Do you want to sit under a tree, reclining, or on the edge of the water? Seating has been thoughfully provided in various welcoming ways around the foreshore.
4. The Giant Penguin and the TARDIS
The 3.1m tall Giant Penguin statue is a great favourite for people to take a photo alongside. It is often dressed for special occasions including wearing pink on breast cancer day and Christmas attire in December.
The TARDIS booth is a free exchange library, stacked with bring-and-take books. Does it look bigger on the inside? This beauty is built like the TV series Doctor Who's TARDIS. It is also a popular structure to take photos alongside.
5. Mosaic and word jumble
This community artwork was installed in 2020. An unnamed man who suffered mental health challenges wanted to show that we all count, that we all contribute to the community. He kicked the project off with a small bequest.
The front is a tactile 3D landscape mosaic. The two trees form a heart over the river. The hands represent the people the mosaic represents. Flowers, plants, fish, birds and butterflies all feature on the 3m wide x 1.8m high piece.
On the back are 150 words. Mainly comprised of verbs, both positive and negative, these words resonate with people. They are our emotions and our lives. Reading them, the message I received was that we hope to go from despair to empowerment. This powerful message will mean something different to everyone who sees it. A truly wonderful piece of art.
6. Uniting Church
The weatherboard federation-style church was built in 1903 and stands out with its unique key-hole stained glass windows.
7. Penguin Market
One of Tasmania's largest undercover market is housed in the old school. More than 100 stalls open every Sunday and sell an eclectic mix of old and new. Wandering around the various displays, I was amazed at the different wares on offer. Clothing, household goods, woodwork, pottery, vegetables, steam punk, even a tarot reader. There is also a food court with free entertainment.
8. Penguin Beer Co.
Opened in July 2021, this popular venue serves local and international beers. With live music several times a week and a glorious position overlooking the ocean this is the place to eat, drink and relax. Read more here
9. Perry Ling Roadside Gardens
This ornamental community garden is on both sides of the railway tracks. Acacias, pigface, daisies, geraniums, various annuals and native shrubs have been planted here. This brilliant colourful displays is lovely to see as you drive from Penguin to Ulverstone along the old coast road. The floral displays have been extensively photographed and pictures of these gardens are often used in tourist promotions. Each season has its beauty, these photos were taken when I visited in winter.
10. Penguin Heritage Trail
I downloaded the Cyaontheroad app. The free 3km tour of Penguin takes around one and a half hours. A map and itinerary is on the app as well as an audio guide that you can listen to. Parks, cemetery, old homes and buildings feature among the 27 items of interest on the tour.
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