STYLISH. WELL-CRAFTED. SPIRITED.
Things to do in Launceston.
Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett
Plan to explore the city’s arts, design and dining highlights. Then launch into Tamar Valley wine country.
Heard of river sledding? Come summer, it’s time to grab your friends and head for Meander Wilderness Experiences. Pull on a wetsuit, slide onto a raft, and use your arms to paddle the Meander River on an inflatable. Gentle rapids will have you negotiating boulders and your fellow rafters - think dodgem cars on the water. On the calmer stretches, lie back and watch the wilderness glide by.
Plan to take to the skies on a scenic helicopter flight with Unique Charters Experiences. Choose from a 15-minute Cataract Gorge fly-over, or a longer scenic flight to Cradle Mountain, taking up the option to touch down in Cradle Valley to explore Dove Lake and the Enchanted Walk. Where you fly is up to you. Drop in on Lease 65 Oyster Farm, land on secluded Swan Island for a picnic with Bass Strait views, or enjoy an exclusive private wine tour in the Tamar Valley at Pipers Brook.
Eat and drink
Seasonal regional dining in Launceston has flourished in recent years. Long-time favourite eateries such as Stillwater, Black Cow Bistro and Mud Bar have been joined by the likes of Geronimo Aperitivo Bar and Restaurant, with a European vibe and a rustic farm-to-table approach.
Launceston’s historic streetscapes are dotted with stylish cafés such as Earthy Eats, Sweetbrew, Bread + Butter, and Bryher. With an obsessive focus on local produce, Bryher owners Alison Bergner and Tristan Morrison make everything on site, from the pickles to the pastries.
After a casual spot for a local brew? Saint John Craft Beer was one of the city’s earliest craft-beer venues to open, back in 2014, and has remained true to its original ethos. The crew here continues to pour from 14 taps and serve some 170 bottled beers. A food van out the back serves burgers and bar snacks in the evening.
Tamar wine country
North of Launceston, the Tamar Valley Wine Trail stretches through farmland, orchards, forests and, of course, vineyards supporting more than 30 cellar doors.
The trail is surprisingly compact and makes great touring; wineries such as Holm Oak, Moores Hill and Stony Rise Wine Company are within a stone’s throw of each other. With sweeping views of the river, Tamar Ridge is a beautiful spot and Hubert and Dan pop-up restaurant serves a new menu at the vineyard every Thursday night. Follow a quiet backroad to Swinging Gate Vineyard, where you can pick up a bottle of pinot noir and glamp for a few nights in luxe Domescapes tents among the vines.
In the heart of Launceston is Theatre North at the Princess Theatre. This elegant historic building is a hub for live performances, and its annual program will soon be filled with events including poetry, puppetry and stand-up comedy. Guided tours are available for a closer look at its striking Art Deco fittings.
At the entrance to City Park, Design Tasmania is a light-filled exhibition space and shop promoting the state’s vibrant design credentials in ceramics, metal, wood, glass and wicker. Its showpiece is a permanent collection of more than 70 pieces of contemporary wood design assembled since 1990, including works crafted from distinctive Tasmanian timbers. Pick up handcrafted homewares and jewellery at its stylish shop.
The picturesque natural formation of Cataract Gorge offers a taste of nature just minutes from the city centre. If it’s too chilly for a swim in the outdoor pool, follow Duck Reach Trail to the historic Duck Reach Power Station. Take a few moments to admire the elegant steelwork of Sentinel Lookout, and take in tranquil views over the South Esk River.
Tourism Tasmania & Scott Sporleder, Matador
Travel a little further afield to find a few of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks. At Liffey Falls State Reserve, one of the state’s prettiest waterfalls spills in perfect tiers in a tract of cool temperate rainforest. See rare pencil pines on the easy Pine Lake. And for more experienced walkers, Meander Falls is a 10-kilometre full-day walk into the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
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