Launceston is one of Australia’s oldest cities and a hub of culture, nature and cuisine. Located in northern Tasmania, perched at the junction of two rivers, it provides a gateway to much of Tasmania’s northern wilderness. The city boasts some of the best preserved colonial architecture in Australia, and a variety of art and cultural experiences. The city is surrounded by natural beauty, with the wilderness of Cataract Gorge a short walk from town, and Narawntapu National Park nearby, home to a variety of friendly creatures and beautiful coastal scenery.
What to see and do:
Cataract Gorge Scenic Chairlift
A short walk from the city, you’ll find a chairlift that rides high above the part of the gorge known as the Basin. Here’ you’ll experience some of the best views around. Don’t forget to explore the grounds below too, with plenty of walks, a swimming pool and tea rooms. You’ll also likely encounter the peacocks that wander the grounds.
Tamar Island Wetlands
Just a 10 minute drive from Launceston’s centre, This reserve is the perfect spot to see a variety of native birds, and learn about the unique wetland ecosystems and their importance. There are nature walks and plenty of spots for a picnic or BBQ. Volunteers also give presentations to educate visitors about the wetlands and the wildlife that resides there.
Shop the Harvest Market
Taste the best and the freshest of the region, offering amazing produce grown in the fertile Tasmanian soil surrounding Launceston. It is held every Saturday, and is considered a ‘must do’ for visitors to the region.
Drive to Cradle Mountain
A two hour drive from Launceston lies Cradle Mountain, and the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Claire National Park. Hike the mountain, or drive up to Dove lake, which can be walked around in about two hours. You may spot a Wombat, and the mountain air and spectacular views are sure to take your breath away.
Visit the Queen Victoria Museum and Art gallery
Soak up some culture at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. It features historic art and information on the history of colonial painting, as well as Tasmania’s Chinese influence.
Grindelwald Swiss Village
An alpine community to suit it’s name, this quaint settlement was founded in the 1980’s and each building is decorated in traditional Swiss style.
How to get there:
Fly directly into Launceston Airport from Australia’s southern cities, or take your vehicle across the channel on the Spirit of Tasmania. The ten hour ferry ride departs Melbourne, allowing guests to enjoy onboard entertainment during the trip such as the cinema, bars and live music.
Best time to go:
The best time to visit Launceston, depends on the type of holiday you’re looking for. Winter can be beautiful, with snow topping Cradle Mountain and fires burning in the hearth. For those who want to do a lot of outdoor activity, summer or spring may be preferable, when the weather is warmer, and the flora will be in bloom. This warmer weather is the most comfortable for visitors, but you may also met met with larger crowds, since this is the most popular time to visit. Many argue that Autumn is truly the best time to visit, thanks to the spectacular turning of the leaves and the dry and sunny days with cool yet comfortable temperatures.