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Launceston is Tasmania's second major city and a vibrant hub for food and wine, culture and nature. In fact, the whole region is packed with city and country charm, gorgeous old towns, excellent food and wine and beautiful scenic highlights.

One of Australia's oldest cities, Launceston has one of the best-preserved early cityscapes in Australia with its elegant Colonial and Victorian architecture and century-old parks.

Just a short walk from the city centre, Cataract Gorge is a slice of wilderness right in the heart of town and Launceston's star natural attraction.

There's also plenty of culture on offer at art galleries, museums and local designer stores, not to mention the famous cool climate wines, local brews and fine dining that are the essence of the Launceston experience.

And for a little 'home away from home', why not catch a game of AFL at Launceston's Aurora Stadium?

From Launceston, you can follow the Tamar River Valley north through Tasmania's premium wine-growing region, past forested hills and farmland, lavender fields, vineyards, orchards and pretty riverside towns. Historic villages are found around every corner, from Longford on the outskirts of Launceston to Evandale, Ross and Campbell Town along the Heritage Highway south.

For those interested in wildlife, nearby Narawntapu National Park provides many opportunities to see Australia's unique animals.

Launceston's history began in 1804 when the commandant of the British garrison Lt. Col. William Paterson, set up a camp at Port Dalrymple, now known as George Town. A few weeks later, the settlement was moved across the river to York Town and in 1806 they finally settled in Launceston.

Local tips

  • Explore Cataract Gorge Reserve or take a river cruise, an ideal way to explore the Tamar River and wetland area
  • Starting at Design Tasmania, collect an Artbike, helmet and map and pedal your way around Launceston's cultural hotspots including the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Sawtooth, Gallery Pejean and 1842 Gallery. There's a no booking policy, first in, first served, and you can hire a bike for the day, overnight or weekend.
  • Take a tour of historic Boag's Brewery, founded in 1883