For those flying in, the Launceston Airport is about 20 minutes from the Central Business District. The Spirit of Tasmania Ferry arrives into Devonport, about a 1 hour drive from Launceston. Hobart is 2 hours drive down the Heritage Highway through the Midlands. Freycinet is 2 hours drive up the Fingal Valley and south through Bicheno, Cradle Mountain is about 2.5 hours drive from Launceston, and Launceston to Strahan is about 5 hours drive via Cradle Mountain.
Things to Look for in Launceston
Cataract GorgeIt is unusual to have a significant natural feature like Cataract Gorge so near the centre of a major city. It is only a 15 minute walk from the Brisbane Mall in the centre of Launceston to the entrance of Cataract Gorge. The Gorge provides some excellent walks and nature trails among bushland and wildlife. The single span chairlift in the First Basin is said to be the longest in the Southern Hemisphere. The Gorge Restaurant in the Cliff Grounds Reserve at the First Basin has a tasty menu and it makes a good half day walk including a lunch stop.
History and ArchitectureLaunceston was settled by Europeans in 1806 and quickly became the hub for agricultural development in the north of Tasmania. Much of the Victorian and Georgian architecture of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s has been preserved and incorporated into downtown buildings. The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery is excellent and well worth a visit, both for the architecture of the building and for the exhibits.
Day Tour to Cradle MountainIf you do not have time to stay overnight at Cradle Mountain, take a day tour from Launceston.
Historic Houses Outside LauncestonLaunceston is a good base from which to explore the rural north. Drive to south Evandale and visit Clarendon House, one of the best preserved historic homes of the area. Then cut across to Longford and on to the townships of Hagley and Westbury. Brickendon Estate at Longford is worth a visit to see how farming was carried out in the mid 1800’s.
Hotels in LauncestonFor an apartment stay in downtown Launceston consider the Apartments at York Mansions. To stay at the entrance to Cataract Gorge, compare prices at the Penny Royal Hotel & Apartments and book online to be sure of a reservation. A plethora of options exist, including charming historic hotels and converted buildings fit with modern conveniences! You’ll have no shortage of options for staying in Launceston.
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