Look up - this is a city of beautiful old buildings and intact streetscapes.
And monkeys. Explore its galleries and museums or lie on a picnic rug beside strutting peacocks in a dramatic gorge.
Here are some top things to do in Launceston.
Explore your way
It’s easy to get around this small city. There’s always a story to hear, a laneway to explore and people to meet.
A series of heritage walking trails showcase the striking architecture of Launceston, including Albert Hall, the Town Hall, Custom House and the Old Bank. Join a guided walk through Launceston with an Aboriginal historian and explore hidden laneways and hear tales from the past, or venture into Cataract Gorge to learn about the Tasmanian Aboriginal connections to the area.
Listen to the stories that shaped Launceston and the Tamar Valley while taking a luncheon cruise, or head into Cataract Gorge. Explore kanamaluka / River Tamar on a pedal kayak guided tour. With hands free, there’s plenty of opportunities to get that Insta shot, or even give fishing a go.
At the confluence of three rivers – the North Esk, South Esk and kanamaluka / River Tamar – Launceston has some lovely waterside cycling trails. Away from the riverbanks, there are also established routes through the city centre and beyond to hills, pubs and wineries, plus mountain bike trails for the more adventurous.
Float over forest and farmland on a hot-air balloon. Head off-grid on a helicopter ride with a food and wine focus across northern Tasmania. Picnic on uninhabited Swan Island, hop between old country pubs, or arrive in style for tastings at a trio of vineyards.
Cliff jump, zip-line, cliff walk or take a ride in the history-themed boat at Penny Royal Adventures. Visit Tasmania’s largest playground – Riverbend Park – for kids of all ages and abilities. Highlights include the sky walk, water play area, outdoor table tennis, sand pits and musical instruments.
With a striking gorge just minutes from the CBD, picturesque city parks and a wide tidal river, nature is never far away.
Could Launceston have a better natural setting than Cataract Gorge, splitting the hills at the city's edge? This natural water basin is surrounded by towering cliffs, native bush, beautiful gardens, scenic walking trails and wildlife. Have a picnic among peacocks and wallabies, go for a swim in the pool or get a bird’s-eye view from the chairlift.
Tamar Island Wetlands
This unique urban wetlands reserve is just a 10min drive from the city. Walk the accessible boardwalk to a bird hide and observe wetland bird. And visit the interpretation centre to learn more about the workings of wetlands.
There are several pretty parks to while away a few hours. Surrounded by the beautiful facades of heritage buildings, City Park is located in the heart of the city (and there are monkeys, too). Princes Park is located opposite some of the best bars and restaurants and only a stroll from the CBD.
Follow the winding kanamaluka / River Tamar from the city to Cataract Gorge through Royal Park, the site of Tasmania’s first military barracks. There’s a barbecue area, play area and outdoor exercise equipment.
Old meets new
From cutting-edge wood design and stargazing to vintage cars and old trams, Launceston has diverse museums and galleries.
Find inspiration at the edge of Launceston's City Park, where five galleries of exquisitely designed furniture and crafts at Design Tasmania showcase the island’s creative talent. The wood collection featuring native Tasmanian timbers is a highlight.
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG)
QVMAG is the nation’s largest regional museum and holds important collections of art, history and natural sciences, while overseeing a packed program of permanent and temporary exhibitions. Gaze at the stars and planets in the planetarium – each show is followed by a live tour of the current night sky.
Launceston Tramway Museum
Adjacent to QVMAG, this is a must for train lovers and history buffs. The museum features a workshop, a large modern display gallery and a short 1940s tram ride accompanied by the sounds and voices of the past.
National Automobile Museum of Tasmania
This impressive collection of cars spans more than 100 years of style and technical achievement, and includes vintage, veteran and classic cars. See early fire trucks, motorcycles, Holdens and Fords.
City Park Radio Museum
Located in the heritage caretaker’s cottage in City Park, this collection has more than 50 radios dating back to the 1930s. Take a guided tour and experience live broadcasting from studios in former stables.