Launceston is simultaneously lively and laid-back, and finds itself conveniently located close to the Tamar Valley Wine Trail.
From gorgeous natural beauty to a charming, traditional atmosphere, this city will please a variety of travellers looking for a place to step back and breathe some of the freshest air on planet Earth. Nature and adventure lovers alike will not be disappointed with all this region has to offer. Foodies (and those keen on sipping delicious wine, cider or beer) will find in Launceston full of delicious delights, as will those looking to shop their heart away or explore some nightlife. Image thanks to:Tourism Tasmania & Ilona Schneider
Here are a few musts for your to do list!
This is the city’s main attraction and is centrally located. For those into hiking, swimming, breathing in fresh air and experiencing majestic views, this is the place to be. Take a ride on the Gorge Scenic Chairlift for panoramic views of the area. Be sure to bring your camera to capture some of the fantastic scenery you see from this unique vantage point. Cataract Gorge is close to Launceston – taking only a handful of minutes to reach from the city centre by car (or considering taking a comfortable stroll for 20 to 30 minutes), meaning you can easily pass a leisurely morning in town and then experience the scenic splendour of the Gorge before lunch. Also consider packing a picnic to this natural wonder (or alternatively get some food from the café on the southern side of the reserve). Enjoy this all for free, as there is no entry price. Image thanks to: Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett.
A 2 hour drive west from central Launceston will bring you to Cradle Mountain, a must-see for any traveller exploring this region. Located in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, explorers can climb the 1,545-metre mountain and witness breathtaking views of the national park. Those looking for a more relaxing outing can view the mountain from nearby Dove Lake, which can be walked in approximately 2 hours and is predominantly flat. Image thanks to: Pierre Destribats
Those seeking out art and culture should head directly to the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG). Consisting of 2 sites (the art gallery on Wellington Street near Royal Park and the museum based at Inveresk Precinct), QVMAG ia a terrific destination for families and people of all ages. There are educational exhibitions and events to keep adults and children alike entertained to their heart's content. Visitors can also immerse themselves in the local history, including the history of portrait and landscape painting in Colonial Tasmania. One could also delve into Tasmania’s Chinese connections with a peek at the museum’s very own Guan Di Temple. Image thanks to: Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett
A 15-minute drive from the centre of Launceston will bring you to the delightful Grindelwald Swiss Village, a unique destination in Tassie. This alpine wonderland is reminiscent of the country from which it takes its name and was founded in the 1980's. Every residence in this Swiss village has been built in traditional Swiss style, seeming to transport visitors to another continent with views of pleasant European countryside, (right on the island of Tasmania)! Grindelwald’s Tamar Valley Resort includes several shops and entertainment attractions including a day spa, mini-golf course, shopping arcade and giant bouncing pillows for kids.
Foodies should consider enjoying a meal at the Seaport Marina, where they can enjoy views of the North Esk River, a tributary of the Tamar River. Here, a wide range of cafes and eateries await, with many options available from quick snacks to 3-course meals or traditional fare such as fish and chips. The area exudes a quiet and tranquil vibe. Those looking to eat more like a local can head to the Harvest Market held every Saturday morning. This ‘Community Farmers Market’ takes place at the Cimitiere St. car park near City Park and features plenty of fresh produce. You can even find that perfect cider to take home. Wine aficionados should consider heading on a tour around the tempting Tamar Valley for a real taste of Tasmania. Wine lovers from all corners of the world flock to this region to stroll amongst the vines and sip the multitude of grape varietals. It’s an essential part of the Tamar Valley experience. Image thanks to: Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett.
The Brisbane Street Mall features large department stores, smaller boutique shops, stores selling local arts and crafts, and a whole host of restaurants where it’s possible to eat and drink the day (or night) away. Options abound for evening entertainment. Music lovers may wish to opt for an open-mic night or some live music, while those looking to get their groove on might consider visiting a dance floor at one of Launceston’s many clubs. For an authentic Tassie experience visit a pub specialising in cider—Tasmania is renowned for its apples (its nickname, “the Apple Isle”, still rings true), and cider sipping is a popular pastime. For some more culture, take in a ballet, musical or play at the Princess Theatre, which was founded in 1911). Image thanks to: Alastair Bett.
Outdoorsy types will be delighted to learn that equipment is readily available for rent for excursions in the surrounding areas. Bicycles are available for hire at daily or multi-day rates, and some companies will even bring them directly to your hotel. Backpacking equipment is also available for rent for nature lovers looking to embrace Mother Nature. When exploring Launceston, don’t forget to look up at the buildings as well; the city is well known for its impressive architecture. St. John Street in the city center is a key location for such an endeavor. One building to note is the 1880's Custom House with its classic portico and elegant Corinthian columns. Image thanks to: Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett.