Wine tasting, mountain biking, historical estates, underground caves and wildlife parks.
Simply choose a direction and head out for a day of fun.
Here are five top day trips from Launceston.
Feel the flow
Fly through the treetops at Hollybank Forest Reserve on a zip-lining tour or high ropes course with Hollybank Wilderness Adventures, or join a Segway tour. Not enough adrenaline? Head to Derby. There's more than 120km of flowing mountain biking for all abilities along the trails of Blue Derby; bike hire and shuttles can be arranged at Vertigo MTB. The magnificent rainforest of Blue Tier will soothe the soul, but for pure relaxation book a session in the Floating Sauna Lake Derby. Feel the heat of the wood-fire sauna before plunging into the cold lake just outside - it’s skin tingling good. Head to Weldborough Hotel for a hearty meal before exploring the mysteriously pretty Little Blue Lake. There’s cheese to be tried at Pyengana Dairy Company and one of the tallest waterfalls in Tasmania to be seen at St Columba Falls.
Light the way
Delve into shipping history at Low Head Pilot Station Maritime Museum. It's the oldest pilot station in Australia, and contains the likes of cargo salvaged from shipwrecks and a harpoon from the area's early whaling days. Nearby, at the mouth of kanamaluka / River Tamar, the 1833 Low Head Lighthouse is Australia's third-oldest light station. The drive to Bridport skims across the northern edge of the Tamar Valley Wine Trail, passing through Pipers River, which is renowned for its sparkling wine. Taste Tasmanian bubbles at Bay of Fires Wines, Jansz Tasmania and Pipers Brook Vineyard. Golfers will make the pilgrimage to Barnbougle, where the two links courses have been rated among Australia's top 10 golf courses. For a walk without golf clubs, the 11km Bridport Walking Track meanders along the foreshore before looping inland behind the town.
Under the surface
Take a coffee break at Deloraine, and stretch the legs on the sculpture trail along the Meander River. The Great Western Tiers is a significant site for Tasmanian Aboriginal people; see artworks and bush tucker growing along the kooparoona niara Cultural Trail. Thrill seekers will try river sledding on the Meander River and plunge underground at Mole Creek. There’s a hidden world of spectacular formations within a network of limestone caves, featuring sparkling crystals and underground streams, with glow-worms and other creatures that never see the light of day. Head off the beaten track on a wild cave tour with speleologists and brave a 24m abseil. Back on the surface, meet wombats and Tasmanian devils, among other charismatic wildlife, at Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary.
Follow the Tamar Valley Wine Trail through premier cool-climate vineyards and cellar doors. This is the state’s oldest winegrowing area: compact, picturesque and packed with gourmet experiences for travellers. The trail links about 30 cellar doors on both sides of kanamaluka / River Tamar. The east bank is the sparkling side, literally, with the “méthode Tasmanoise” of Jansz Wine Room among sparkling winemakers including Clover Hill Wines, Pipers Brook Vineyard and Delamere Vineyards. On the west bank, swing by the new cellar door at Stoney Rise Wine Company, and follow a quiet backroad to Swinging Gate Vineyard for relaxed tastings or a session at its day spa. Take a pause from wine tasting and visit Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre. Step into the mysterious world of seahorses and seadragons at Seahorse World in Beauty Point. And close by is Platypus House, where the elusive platypus can be seen up close.
Learn from history
A cluster of historic towns close to Launceston creates a fascinating drive high on natural beauty and colonial heritage. With its entire townscape classified by the National Trust, Evandale is a treasury of historical buildings. Explore the town on foot and head to the Sunday-morning market. Near Evandale, Clarendon is one of Australia's grandest colonial estates, with an elegant portico and a heritage walled garden. Take a guided tour of its period-furnished interiors. Neighbouring Brickendon and Woolmers estates near Longford are UNESCO World Heritage-listed convict sites - allow time to explore these pioneering properties. Brickendon features a convict-built farm village dating back to the 1820s. Woolmers Estate offers homestead tours, or wander the grounds to see the formal rose garden and Australia's oldest operating shearing shed. The 2.8km Convict Farm Walk links the two properties. Further down the Heritage Highway is the town of Ross. Stand on Australia’s third oldest bridge and learn about convict life at Ross Female Factory.