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Launceston

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Launceston
Boag's brewery in downtown Launceston
For other places with the same name, see Launceston (disambiguation).

Launceston is the second-largest city in Tasmania and is situated in the north of the state on the Tamar River. The city was first settled in 1805 and currently has a population of around 70,000.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Launceston is approximately 50 minutes from Melbourne on the mainland. Daily flights fly from Launceston to Melbourne with Virgin Australia, Qantas Link and Jetstar. Direct flights to Sydney are available daily and direct flights to Brisbane are available on selected days. Jetstar from Sydney can be only 1 hour 20 minutes.

By car[edit]

Launceston is a hub of the highway system in Northern Tasmania. From Hobart, Devonport, or Burnie just stay on Highway 1, and make sure you are heading the right way.

Get around[edit]

The best way to get around Launceston is by car. Taxis are available, may add up to be expensive, and try to get a transfer when you are moving from the airport to your hotel. Car rentals in Launceston are in plenty, from Hertz, Budget, Europcar, Redspot Sixt and the rates are great. There is also a Metro bus service which goes all through the town.

Bicycle is a reasonable way to get around town and out the Gorge. Traffic is fairly quiet in town, and there is a good network of bike paths.

The centre is compact, with all the main attractions at walking distance.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Launceston City Park
  • Historic houses and buildings including Macquarie House, Franklin House, Entally House, Clarendon House and the 'Old Umbrella Shop'.
  • Tamar Valley - wine growing area with literally dozens of wineries on both sides of the Tamar River, many with cellar door sales, booklet available for route choices.
  • National Motor Museum
  • Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Inveresk and Royal Park
  • Academy Gallery, School of Visual and Performing Arts, Inveresk Monday - Friday 09:00 - 17:00


  • Harvest Launceston Farmers' Market, 71 Cimitiere Street Launceston Tasmania (Opposite Albert Hall), 0417352780, [1]. 8.30am-12.30pm every Saturday. Harvest farmers' market is the place to be on a Saturday morning in Launceston. Meet the farmers, taste fantastic produce from around Tasmania, sample local wines and have a delicious breakfast with the best coffee in town.  edit

Tamar Island[edit]

The Tamar Island Wetlands [2] is an unique urban wetlands reserve just 10 minutes' drive from the heart of Launceston in Tasmania's north.

Tamar Island has been Crown Land since settlement and up to the 1980s was leased to private and public operators. In the 1980s the Tasmanian Government purchased the wetlands area around Tamar Island, which was incorporated into the greater Tamar River Conservation Area.

An interpretation centre offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the value of the wetlands, along with a hikes that takes you through the wetlands,in bird hides and over to the historic Tamar Island.

Cataract Gorge[edit]

Cataract Gorge

Cataract Gorge [3] is only a kilometre from the centre of Launceston. There is paid parking at the entrance to the park, either all day or by the hour.

  • There are many walking tracks which skirt the side of the gorge, and cross it at a suspension bridge and a low level bridge.
  • You can swim in the gorge. The water can be quite cold, and there is a current, but with care you should be fine (although numerous deaths have occured). There are constructed entrances to the water, and access is free. There is also a swimming pool, and access to that is also free.
  • You can see the gardens and pagolas, and the peacocks walking around.
  • You can play on the playgrounds.
  • You can take a chairlift across the gorge, and walk back, or vice-versa. Although going both ways on the chairlift is about the same price as a one way ticket.
  • There is a cafe on both sides of the gorge, both serving ice-creams, coffee, snacks etc.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Cruise the Tamar River
  • Tour the surrounding wineries of the Tamar Valley
  • Boag's brewery, 39 Williams St, '+61 3' 63326300, [4]). Tours leave weekdays (from 9AM; closed on public holidays) from the Boag's Centre for Beer Lovers located in the Tamar Hotel in the heart of Launceston. Bookings and fully enclosed footwear are essential.
  • Launceston Ghost Tour. Starts 8:30PM nightly at the Royal Oak. Fun night walking around one of Australia's oldest cities. Fascinating for history buffs. Bookings required. $24/person or $20 with a voucher from the local hotels.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Tasmanian Wool Products: Waverley Woolen Mills, The Sheep's Back (George St)
  • The Tasmanian Devil as soft toys, hand-puppets etc
  • Design Centre Tasmania, Cnr Brisbane St and Tamar St, City Park, +61 3 6331 5506, [5]. Australia's only museum collection of contemporary wood design, they run exhibitions and tours of crafts, design and art, both nationally and internationally. A not-for-profit organisation with a mission to support and sustain design. (-41.432399,147.14294) edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

Budget[edit]

  • Morty's Food Hall.
  • Pasta Resistance (Charles Street).
  • Aromas. Packed with workers from the nearby Launceston General Hospital. On weekends heavily packed by cycle riders. Good coffee and light meals.
  • Fish and Chips at the end of the Wharf, past the end of the flood barrier when walking from town. Possibly the best fish and chips you'll ever have. Prices depending on fish and season.

Moderate[edit]

  • Bellini. A stunning waterfront restaurant recently nominated in the international 2011 restaurant and bar design awards. Phone 00 61 3 63341403. Email reservations@mybellini.com or visit www.mybellini.com.
  • Star of Siam.
  • La Calabrisella.
  • La Cantina.
  • The Prickly Cactus.
  • Franco's.
  • Romanelli's 65-67 Cimitiere Street
  • Torros.
  • The Metz.
  • The Star Bar.
  • Me Wah.
  • Mekong, Yorktown Square.
  • Northern Club, Cameron Street,. Terrific setting. Children friendly (very). Serious main course specials on Monday and Tuesday nights during the winter months
  • Cafe Blue. In the Inveresk arts precinct. Take in the Acadamy Gallery (UTas) and the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery before/after a great lunch. Only a short walk from the CBD.

Splurge[edit]

  • Stillwater,
  • The Gorge Restaurant.
  • Quigley's.
  • Dockside.
  • Black Cow.
  • Mud.
  • Hallam's Waterfront Seafood Restaurant.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Launceston has several "olde worlde" UK style pubs, including The Cock and Bull and Irish Murphy's. In the city centre there are pubs on many of the street intersections. Also The Royal Oak. Home to Launceston jazz scene. Most pubs have good, basic, fairly cheap meals lunch and dinner.

  • Hallams, W end of Royal Park. Seriously good seafood. Presented without being tricked up. Heavily patronised by Asian tourists. Excellent service. ~$35.  edit


Sleep[edit][add listing]

There are many motels, hotels and bed-and-breakfast establishments offering accommodation in the area.

  • The Old Bakery Inn, Corner of York & Margaret Streets, +61 3 6331 7900. checkin: 12/5/2009; checkout: 13/5/2009. 100+ Year old converted bakery combined with the neighboring townhouses from the same era. Rooms are simple but clean and well looked after. Plenty of parking on site. $125/night.  edit
  • The Sebel Launceston, Corner St John & William Streets, +61 3 6333 7555, [6]. This Launceston hotel is ideally positioned within walking distance to the city and Launceston’s vibrant seaport and is close to all attractions including the Tamar Valley Wine Region and Cataract Gorge.  edit

Get out[edit]

Launceston provides a base to explore the northern part of Tasmania.

The historic town of George Town (Tasmania) and Low Head lighthouse are a one hour drive to the north along the Tamar River.

  • Burnie a base to explore the north western part of Tasmania.
  • Stanley
  • Devonport and Deloraine can make a scenic round trip, following the west Tamar, along the northern coast, and before looping south.
  • St Helens is a coastal town on the Eastern Coast.
  • George Town is an historic settlement north on the eastern Tamar.


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