48 Hours in Launceston
A weekend of art, sparkling wine, fine food and fresh air – welcome to Launceston, the heart of northern Tasmania.
Within 10 minutes of hopping off the plane in Launceston, roll into Josef Chromy Wines in Relbia to celebrate your arrival. There are few places where the runway is so close to your first glass of sparkling. Arrive before 11am and go behind the label for a curious look at the winemaking process. From grapevine to glass, you'll taste unfinished wines and enjoy a two-course lunch of fine Tasmanian fare with matching wine.
Next stop, Launceston. Settled in 1806 there's plenty to explore in the city's historic streets. Antiques and homewares at The Vintage Rose, fashion and gifts at Essential Homebody and great coffee at Amelia Espresso.
Launceston streetscape / Rob Burnett
Settled in 1806 there's plenty to explore in the city's historic streets
At days end, Peppers Silo Hotel is where you want to rest your head – four 35-m tall grain silos have been converted to form Launceston's newest luxury hotel. For dinner, head to onsite restaurant Grain of the Silos. The menu has been designed to show off Tassie produce – beef and lamb farmed up the road, seafood from all around (it is an island after all) and cheese from the likes of Grandvewe, Coal River Farm and Bruny Island Cheese.
Peppers Silo Hotel / Rob Burnett
The Harvest Market is a great way to further explore Tasmania's connection to food and community. Grab a coffee and a plate of something delicious and locally made and pick up a few snacks for the day.
From here it's off to the Design Tasmania where local craftspeople have been celebrated for some 40 years. Pull open the door to the wood collection and breathe in the scent of Huon pine. At the onsite store you can pick up locally designed jewellery, timber furniture, art, homewares and more.
Design Tasmania / Chris Crerar
breathe in the scent of Huon pine
No trip is complete without a visit to iconic Cataract Gorge. Just a 15-min walk from the centre – ride on the world's longest single span chairlift, take a dip in the pool that sits beside the picturesque King River and stop at the onsite restaurant or kiosk for lunch.
If all the activity is starting to get the best of you, a visit to wine writer Michele Round's The Pinot Shop will set you straight again. With a focus on premium local and international pinot you're unlikely to return to your hotel empty handed.
Tonight, it's all about Black Cow. Steak lovers, arrive with your appetite. Some say this is the best steakhouse in town. Follow your finger down a menu dedicated to premium Tasmanian beef, dry aged, grass fed and cooked to your liking. Later, retire to a chesterfield lounge at Henry's Bar and Restaurant. Sink into the leather under dim lights with a local single malt for the perfect ending to your night.
Black Cow bistro / Chris Crerar
Make a beeline for Sweetbrew for great coffee and chai and tempting pastries and a Sunday breakfast you won't soon forget. Stop by the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) where you can feed your curious on a collection that dates back to 1842. The gallery is a blend of visual art, natural sciences, design and history. There's also a planetarium to check up on the universe. Visit the site for times, depending on your interest between asteroids, black holes and the like. There are two QVMAG sites. Being Tasmania, they're just a few minutes-drive apart.
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery / Sean Fennessy
a blend of visual art, natural sciences, design and history
If you've timed it right it's worth stopping by picturesque Evandale on the way to the airport. This quaint Georgian village has a handful of gorgeous antique stores and galleries – including The Handmark Gallery which showcases Tasmanian art, craft and jewellery.
Handmark Gallery / Rob Burnett