What you should do on a two-night stay in Launceston

Gorge yourself on the delights of Tassie’s No.2 town.

What you should do on a two-night stay in Launceston

Why would you go to Launceston when there are so many more spectacular destinations in Tasmania? Let me count the reasons.

1. If it’s the footy (AFL) season and Hawthorn has a game at UTAS Oval, it’s a ripper time to be in town. Especially if you barrack for the Hawks or the opposition of the day.

The town hums on footy weekends. The streets are awash with a sea of fans on game day and there’s an air of camaraderie, optimism, expectation and vibrancy – before the game at least. The tribal colours are everywhere and local businesses are enjoying the largesse.

A word of warning though, if you are planning to fly into Launceston on a footy weekend, book well in advance.

2. Cataract Gorge is a delightful 15-minute 1.5 kilometre walk from the city centre. It’s a beautiful area with pools, good amenities and wonderful open space. You can continue walking up the gorge or just plonk in a teahouse and watch the peacocks strut around or take a ride on the chairlift, which claims to be the longest single-span chairlift in the world. The longest span is 308 metres and the ride takes you across 457 metres. The cost is $13 one-way or $16 return.

3. On Saturdays from 8.30am to 12.30pm, the Harvest Market operates from a carpark in Cimitiere Street in the city. Just try to hold yourself back from loading up with fresh fruit and veggies, cheeses, amazing breads, brownies, boutique gins and beers and great hamburgers. The stall-holders and volunteers are delightfully friendly. There was even a volunteer on the bins to ensure all items posted in the recycling bins were, in fact, recyclable. It’s come to that and I’m rapt the issue of rubbish is being taken seriously.

4. A little further down the road is City Park – with bike tracks and playgrounds and … monkeys. In fact they are Japanese macaques. It seems odd to have macaque families in a large enclosure in one corner of the park, but the signage tells us the climate is appropriate and the conditions appear to be good. There were quite a few babies so they must be happy enough to breed. It was interesting to watch them go about their daily grooming and playing. The exhibit is free.

5. For beer lovers, visit Saint John Craft Beer Bar in St John Street (of course). It has a great atmosphere, good basic food and an interesting selection of craft beers on tap, which change regularly, plus bottled beers, ciders and wines. The friendly bartender told me after I’d bought a particular pale ale: “ If you don’t like it, the brewer is at the end of the bar, so go tell him.” There was no need to accost him, although if we knew who had brewed the chocolate chilli stout, we may have offered feedback. Let’s just say we didn’t order another.

Of course, Boags Brewery across town has tours for those who prefer regulation flavours.

6. But wait, there’s more.

We didn’t get to the National Automobile Museum or the Queen Vic Museum and Planetarium, but locals say they are well worth a visit.

And if you had the time, I’d highly recommend a visit to Evandale, which is 20 kilometres down the road past the airport. I still dream of the breakfast I had at the Ingleside Bakery Café several years ago.

Of course, you should wander around town and take in the old buildings, churches and clock towers built in the early 1800s. I can imagine many will be refurbished as the town’s tourist appeal continues to grow. There are walks along the scenic Tamar Estuary and Esk River.

And if you hire a car or camper, it could be the start of a tour of Tassie. And that’s a wonderful thing.

Have you been to Launceston? What were your favourite sights?

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    COMMENTS

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    Aussiefrog
    24th Aug 2019
    5:39am
    More places I would add if you rent a car.
    Grindelwald swiss village 15mn from launceston
    Beauty Point seahorse aquarium 50mn from launceston
    Low Head penguins tour 50mn from launceston, you can stop at the raspberry farm on the way for delicious jams, wine and much more.
    If you want to head south for about an hour visit Campbell Town and Ross to step back in time, make sure you stop at the very old wood oven bakery to sample the sea scallop pies and their award winning custard slice. Bon appetit
    Janus
    24th Aug 2019
    8:12am
    Amazing how people are interested in the "culture" rather than the "nature". Maybe it is because the natural parts are in the process of being dismembered and demolished.

    My suggestion? See the natural bits now, before they are lost or become Disney-esque parodies with concrete, gravel, signage and 3 million tourists thinking that they are in the wild. If you know where to go, and there is plenty of info available, see the natural stuff because it is different to anywhere else.

    You can buy a beer, see a museum, or get a better coffee anywhere. If that's your ideal, stay at home.
    MICK
    24th Aug 2019
    10:00am
    Totally agree. Suburbia is mostly to be avoided and cities are cities all around the planet. Always something interesting to see of course but nature trumps all of these.

    The author needs to see more of Tassie. Launceston is an uninspiring place and there's so much scenic beauty in other locations that I have to even wonder why you'd give Launceston any time. We were at Cataract Gorge not too long ago. Don't waste your time. Its a non event.
    Anybody who really wants to see things worth seeing in Tassie will rent a car and do their research. There are some gems. Launceston is not one of them.

    Sorry Janelle. Glad you enjoyed what you saw though. Travel is rather personal.
    Mac
    24th Aug 2019
    12:11pm
    Agree with you, Janus.

    "See the natural bits now before they are lost or become Disney-esque parodies"

    Developers seem hell bent on putting a cable car development on Mt Wellington thus spoiling its natural majestic beauty; a cable car development on Mt Roland, a cable car at the Cradle Mountain area; and a new larger gondola system at The Gorge, Launceston. Plus other development at various sites too numerous to list here.

    Couple that with developers' plans to build high rise buildings at Hobart, Launceston and any other places that they can get their hands on and you have a mini mainland situation with increased traffic congestion and pollution which will lead to the loss of the special Tassie ambience that is so valuable in today's world of build more tourism developments everywhere.

    Get out into the countryside and drink in Tassie's unique atmosphere plus the scallop pies at Ross are terrific. It is invigorating to breath Tassie's fresh air and lose yourself in its spectacular scenery.
    JW
    24th Aug 2019
    4:41pm
    Hi Mick (and others). I spent all of February in Tassie - avoiding most cities. And have rafted the Franklin etc. The more remote and the fewer people the better for me. But this article was about what you could do if you found yourself in Launceston for a couple of days. I’ve done a number of walks (mentioned a couple in a previous article) and agree that the gorge is not a must-see destination in the context of Tassie. But if you’re in Launie, why not? It’s a great facility on the edge of a city. Particularly for those without a car.
    Aussiefrog
    25th Aug 2019
    4:19am
    JW good remark.
    Looks to me that the grumpy men's club is having a field day on this story!
    Well done Janelle, very nice article, thanks. One doesn't exclude the other.


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