- For other places with the same name, see Launceston (disambiguation).
Launceston from the southern cliff of the Gorge, most of the city is out of view to the right.
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.
Launceston (IATA: LST) 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.
The terminal itself has recently undergone a major facelift. The interior has a modern check in area, with comfortable waiting lounges and a few airport shops and coin operated internet terminals. There is in-terminal car hire and hired cars can be easily walked to. Everything is very compact and coming and going from the terminal is easy. Taxis are usually available right out front. There are no jetways at Launceston Airport, the plane stops outside the terminal building and you depart the aircraft on stairs and walk into the terminal from outside.
The terminal building itself opens at 04:30 for early morning departures.
The importation of fruit into Tasmania is strictly controlled and travelers from the mainland should expect to be met by fruit sniffing dogs or other authorities when making their way through the hallways to baggage claim.
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. The main point of entry for drivers from the mainland will be in Devonport offloading from the Spirit of Tasmania ferry arrivals. It's about a one hour drive to Launceston from Devonport, mainly all on divided highway with many services and shopping en route.
The best way to get around Launceston is by car. Taxis are available, but may add up to be expensive, and try to get a transfer when you are moving from the airport to your hotel. You can also opt for an Uber, which can be cheaper than hiring a taxi, but it can still add up to be quite expensive if you do several trips.
Car rental agencies in Launceston are plenty, including the likes of Hertz, Budget and Europcar, Redspot and the rates are great. There are car rental depots at Launceston Airport, as well as in the city centre. You can opt to get public transport or a taxi to the city centre to pick up the vehicle.
There is also a Metro bus service which goes all through the town.
Cycling is a reasonable way to get around town and out the Gorge. Traffic is fairly quiet around town, and there is a good network of bike paths.
The centre is compact, with all the main attractions within walking distance. Be mindful of the one way streets.
Boag's brewery in downtown Launceston
- 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 M-F\ 09:00-17:00
- Harvest Launceston Farmers' Market, 71 Cimitiere Street Launceston Tasmania (Opposite Albert Hall), ☎ 0417352780, . Sa 08:30-12:30. 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
The Tamar Island Wetlands is a 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.
Admission is by donation on the honour system. $5.00 suggested.
Cataract Gorge  is only a kilometre from the centre of Launceston. There is paid parking at the lower entrance to the park (Kings Bridge area), either all day or by the hour. There is also parking in the upper lot above Trevallyn, but not recommended unless you like very steep walks down to the park. If you can do only one thing in Launceston, an hour or two in the Cataract Gorge has got to be it.
- There are many walking tracks which skirt the side of the gorge, and cross it at a suspension bridge and a low level bridge. The trail continues on up to the Trevallyn Dam, with Lake Trevallyn behind it. The primary walking route for an average visit will take you from the Kings Bridge parking along a high cliff along the waterway on a nice paved and fenced path, with lots of opportunity for gorge viewing. Stairs are provided for those areas which are steeper. It's only about 15 minutes walk to the recreation zone with a grassy park like setting, restaurant, and recreation facilities. It is possible to return back to the car park down the other side of the gorge, but the path on that side is more primitive.
- 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 pergolas, and the many peacocks walking around. It is also possible to see wallabies and kangaroos in the grassy areas at certain times of the day.
- 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. Be careful when eating your snacks at the outdoor tables. The peacocks have learned all about human food and don't mind stealing it from you even if its well away from the edge of the table. Still, having a tea and snack in this beautiful location with the birds walking around and fantastic view is something amazing.
- Cruise the Tamar River. Cruises range from short city waterfront/Gorge tours to day tours of the Tamar River. Watch your parking meter, the City citation writers know all about tour times.
- Tour the surrounding wineries of the Tamar Valley. The riverbank and its foreshores are replete with wineries. Even in one day and with careful planning, you can visit 5 or more wineries with tastings and cellar door sales. There are dozens of wineries on both banks of the river to select from.
- Boag's brewery, 39 Williams St, +61 3 6332-6300, ). Tours leave weekdays (from 09:00; 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. $30 per person.
- 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
- 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, . 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
- 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.
- Exeter Bakery about 25 minutes out of town up the West Tamar Highway in the town of Exeter, on the right as you come into town. Lovely sandwiches but bakery treats as never including a range of reasonably priced meat pies in a variety of flavours. Dessert items of course also. Fantastic. A second location is in Launceston downtown also, Exeter Bakery Too.
- Bellini. A stunning waterfront restaurant recently nominated in the international 2011 restaurant and bar design awards. Phone 00 61 3 63341403. Email [email protected] or visit www.mybellini.com.
- Star of Siam.
- La Calabrisella.
- La Cantina.
- The Prickly Cactus.
- Romanelli's 65-67 Cimitiere Street
- 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.
- The Gorge Restaurant.
- Black Cow.
- Hallam's Waterfront Seafood Restaurant.
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" Seriously good seafood. Presented without being tricked up. Heavily patronised by Asian tourists. Excellent service.
- ”Saint John” Craft beer bar popular with locals. 14 beers on tap, and 100+ in the fridge. Small food menu of American-style burgers.
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 neighbouring 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, . 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
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. Beautiful ocean (Bass Strait) views, penguin tours in season.
- Burnie a base to explore the north western part of Tasmania.
- Stanley and its famous Stanley Nut. Sort of the "Gibraltar" of Tasmania. Adequate services in town. Allow three hours traveling time each way.
- 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, gateway to the Bay of Fires.
- Scottsdale Lavender farm. Nice little tour with lavender products for sale. Expect to feel rather sleepy after the tour though...the lavender in the open air relaxes you.
- George Town is an historic settlement north on the eastern Tamar.
sightseeing abound. Compact city, easily navigated.