Things To Do In Launceston
Launceston is a hilly city with serpentine and steep idyllic roads in the northern part of Tasmania. This city was first governed by Europeans in 1806 and a reminder of this past is evident in the row of historic structures sprawled around the city. The city’s name originated from a European town, particularly from Launceston, Cornwall in England. The best place to start a tour of Launceston is at the Cataract Gorge Reserve, which is about fifteen minutes away from the center of the city. Along the way there are several lookouts where you can enjoy views of the river. The Cataract Gorge is like an oasis, and this is where the locals go to barbecue, swim in the pool and relax on a summer day. It is highly recommendable to walk along the river and follow the marked trails, ride the chairlift (costs $12) and go over the beautiful bridge. The area has some colorful peacocks roaming around freely (you won't believe that they are out in the wild like this!), and if you are lucky you can meet several wallabies (baby kangaroos) that jump around among the shrubs and trees.
When To Go:
Topographically arranged in the Tamar Valley in Northern Tasmania, it's in a bumpy and rocky territory, so Launceston's climate can change uniquely over a brief period of time, but it is mostly characterized by cool weather all year round that makes it essential to wear sweaters and warm clothes even during the day. The hot summer months are January and February with a low of 70s. The cold winter season begins from the month of July until September. The high season for tourism is from the months of October all the way to May. These are the months when the weather is comfortable and when most festivities and outdoor adventures are more fun to explore. Blessed with sunny weather all year round, it is advisable to bring sun blocks, shades, and wide brimmed summer hats to enjoy the thrilling things to do in Launceston while the skies are clear and the temperature is agreeable.
Here are the key attractions and top things to do in the city of Launceston…
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Cataract Gorge Reserve
The Cataract Gorge Nature Reserve is a nature conservation area that is within walking distance from the center of Launceston. Nature has blessed this place with a beautiful river, birds and trees. It has several trails to be done where the majority is of medium difficulty level. In the middle there is still a surprise; a giant public swimming pool with changing rooms and weight machines outdoors. It is Launceston's number one tourist attraction in a surreal place. It is a superbly located park, just 15 minutes from the city center, with magnificent views and abundant nature.
There are also toilets and places to grab a quick bite and a drink. Here you can contact the famous kangaroos and peacocks. It's a long walk and worth doing on a sunny day with magnificent views and photo opportunities included. The cable car ride is recommended for everyone who wants to avoid the steep paths and want to enjoy a leisurely hiking adventure in Launceston.
From the city center you can reach the Cataract Gorge in two ways on foot. The way upwards before the bridge is quite strenuous and sweaty. It goes uphill steeply, or in stages, but it also has wonderful views down the river. If you go over the bridge and go towards the right of the River Gorge, you can manage easily and without much sweat to reach the Cataract Gorge. However, one can also go very easily by car and continue by chairlift across the river. There is a beautifully landscaped park with some animals, such as peacocks and wallabies and fantastically beautiful rhododendrons. Furthermore, you can sit out on the terrace of the cafe and enjoy the beautiful nature. The Cataract Gorge Reserve offers great hiking in wonderful and varied scenery.
It has an abundant wildlife and it is not difficult to see the wallabies hopping around. It is an exciting and beautiful environment to walk or jog along the river. Along the hikes you can see seals lying on a rock sunbathing or simply resting. If you come early, you can see many people jogging along the paved trail or kayaking along the river. The gorge and nature reserve park is wheelchair and stroller friendly and the chairlift experience is where you can enjoy a full fledge hike from the lift end point up to the gorge. It is the recreational space for tourists and locals who visit Launceston. This wilderness in the heart of the city has the world’s longest chairlift ride. While it may be the best way to avoid walking to the steep slope of the gorge, those who are afraid of heights are not advised to take the ride.
The Tamar Valley
The Tamar Valley is Launceston's wine region dotted with picturesque little villages that hide the vineyards. To see all around the valley, do it like the Australians and go by bike from Launceston to Legana, then turn right into the Rosevears Drive. From then on you have a view of Tamar River along with beautiful scenery and vineyards, which are great for photographing colors!
On the way from the Freycinet to Launceston, you can choose a side street. First you pass on the coast, then through a beautiful rainforest in the Tamar Valley. From here, there are farmlands and vineyards as far as the eye can see. It is overlooking a small historic town filled with local attractions. You can grab a bite at a local inn with an absolutely fair price. For the wine connoisseurs, this valley is the perfect tourist attraction in Launceston.
Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery
The Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery is an eclectic that is worth knowing when in Launceston. The entrance is free and you will see the very first bikes, photos on the Aboriginal Pacific Islander, trains, and dinosaurs. The area reserved for children with educational activities is excellent.
There is a detailed documentary on World War I and a bathroom with dinosaurs, plus another part of the Great War. The Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery is for the young and old! For those who enjoy the combination of art and history, this place is a must.
The City Park is located at the east of downtown Launceston (close to the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania). The Park is pleasant to walk with children while watching Japanese monkeys or the Japanese Macaque (they do not move freely through the park and fenced off the grid). It is a pretty green park in the center of Launceston, where you can walk in the evening or afternoon and where most local teens hang out. The City Park is often referred to as the green lung of the city.
Valleybrook Wine Tours
The guided Valleybrook Wine Tours begins at the hotel where you are billeted and pick up time is usually done at 1:00 PM. Jearemy is the official guide and he has a small, two medium-sized, and the largest Tasmanian winery in Launceston. On the trip north through the Tamar Valley along the west side of the Tamar River, the ride goes through an exchange of local tourist information where you will learn many interesting facts about the country, people, history and wine culture in Tasmania. The wine-excursion begins in the "Winter Brook Winery". Frank and Nicole are from Amsterdam. In 2010, she began a new life by managing a winery in Australia. They manage just 1.4 hectares of vineyard area with Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. The price per bottle is between $ 25 and $ 40. Nicole is an excellent host and knows what she is talking about regarding wine production, aging, and bottling.
The next winery is a tour of the big players in Australia. "Tamar Ridge" is the largest producer of Tasmania and a subsidiary of Brown Brothers Wines and also one of the top ten wine producers of the fifth continent and is one of Australia's oldest and most prestigious family businesses. The visit leaves a good impression. Richard is responsible for the guided tour and taught with great enthusiasm about the wines and philosophy of the winery. The third stop is at the winery called "Ninth Iceland", which is part of the Kreglinger Wine Estates, which operate in Tasmania with 3 wineries. There is a tour of the vineyard for a fee and you can also enjoy an excellent 'Cheese Platter' with all sorts of side dishes and taste the wines produced by the case. They are exquisite and it is a must at the end of the tour to buy a few bottles created by the owner. A tour of the “Vélo Wines" is the last stop. The owner, Michael Wilson was active as a professional cyclist in France and Germany and gained experience at the renowned Moorilla Estate in Hobart. He conducts an exclusive tasting and free samples. The famous "Vélo Wines" is one of the few wineries in Tasmania who grow alongside Pinot Noir and Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. At the end of this instructive, exciting, and entertaining tour; Jearemy will drive you back and bring you back to your hotel accommodation.
Tamar Island Wetlands
The Tamar Island Wetlands is ideal for bird and nature lovers. It is a nice trail through the flooded region of the Tamar River where you can watch depending on what time of the year, a huge variety of birds. Admission is free and be sure to see the abandoned plow or the covered up trunk of the tree. It is actually an educational nature trail which can be accomplished within 90 minutes on the Tamar River.
Aside from shared experiences by the guide, the tour is well developed and equipped with informational material. Apart from bird watching, every now and then you can encounter snakes and lots of photo opportunities about the wildlife of Launceston and Tasmania.
Prestige Leisure Tours
You can spend a half-day tour courtesy of the Prestige Leisure Tours to the lavender farm and winery around the vicinity of the Tamar Valley. The best time to come and see the Lavender farm is from December to January where the lavenders are in full bloom.
A guide and a vehicle are both provided and each place can be accessed easily. The winery has delicious tasting wines and great food in their menu. The price of the package tour is fair enough and provide lots of opportunities for taking pictures and getting acquainted with the locals of Launceston.
The Tasmania Zoo is the best place to visit for people who want to catch a glimpse of the very popular resident of the zoo- the Tasmanian Devil. The best time to see them active and totally interacts with visitors is early in the morning. The zoologist is the resident tour guide here and the only one allowed to get near the animals and other interesting wildlife of the city.
There are wombats, kangaroos, wallabies, and other varieties of animal wildlife that is endemic to Australia. This zoo is not owned by the government authorities and relies their maintenance and food for the animals from the proceeds of the US$25 main entrance fee. The best part of the tour is when the zoologist/guide narrates all their anecdote and stories about animal behavior in an amusing and hilarious way. There are native and exotic birds where you can freely interact and know up close. You can even feed them or take pictures of the other animals that freely roam around this place.
The Town Clock
The Town Clock is one of the important landmarks of the city and the best indication that you are just a few minutes away from the natural attractions in Launceston. The clock can be seen at the side of an old building. This structure also houses the tourist information center of the city, a bank, and the post office.
It is quite hard to capture the right photography angle for this iconic clock in Launceston and professional photographers try to find a way how to capture the perfect shot for this landmark. However, with a few tries, impressive results are gained. This clock is visible even from afar and chimes every hour in a low sound. The building is not hard to miss and stands just right across the city’s town hall.
Country Club Tasmania Casino
If you want to experience a piece of the good life in Launceston, visit the Country Club Tasmania Casino. Everything is well cared for here. It has a colorful mixture of Australian gamblers and the opportunity to enjoy fine dining at various restaurants, get pampered at the spa, or enjoy the featured amenities like; golf, gym, indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, go on a horseback riding, visit the art exhibitions, or simply stay at the great buffet area where sumptuous Australian food is served.
In a city where fine dining and wine tasting is one of the top things to do, a visit to the Stillwater Restaurant is a must when in Launceston. This cute restaurant is the absolute gastronomic highlight on the trip to Launceston. The place offers very innovative and exciting dishes that are well fitted into the compilation of the must try dishes in Australia. The six course meal is definitely at star level. In terms of performance the menu was priced perfectly adequate at its most affordable price. The wines offered consistently from Tasmania were sometimes quite tense, but fell in the sum of things back slightly behind the level of the food. It is an absolute must if you are visiting Launceston.
Launceston is an interesting city to explore and discover in the Tasmanian Region. What makes it more popular among hitchhikers and nature lovers is that all the attractions within and all around the city are all connected and can be easily reached on foot. However, since this is one of the most touristy cities in Tasmania, it is highly recommended to conduct or avail of your tour packages early in the morning. Most of the nature parks are well maintained and efforts to protect the environment is visible with signposts along the area. There are dining places in all the attractions as well as a chance to see Australian animals freely interacting with guests and walking in their compatible habitat.
While there, you get to appreciate nature and the need to respect the wildlife animals as well as appreciation for the beauty of its surrounding attractions. A few things you need to keep in mind, look after your own mess and avoid throwing small trash along the mountain area because, they have laws against this. The city never runs out of things to do and activities, whether indoor or outdoor. The wine tours must be enjoyed to the fullest and the experience treasured as one of the unforgettable things to do in Launceston. So if you’re coming to Australia and you need to take a side trip along the Tasmanian Region and include a visit to Launceston as part of your travel itinerary.
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