Cruise the sun-kissed Tamar River, sip your way along wine trails and relax in historical wonders come to life. The warmer months are the perfect time to visit Launceston. As one of Australia’s oldest settlements, you’ll also discover plenty of heritage trails hiding secret things to do around Launceston. Immerse yourself completely in the town’s old-world charm by staying at one of its heritage-listed properties.
The City of Gastronomy
One of only two cities in Australia to be named a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, Launceston has a global reputation for its premium produce and incredible cuisine. Experience some of the seasonal delights and local produce for yourself at the weekly Saturday Farmers’ Market or Harvest Market Launceston.
The warmer months see plenty of delicious events spice up the calendar. Taste of Summer brings the region’s best food, wine and entertainment together in one of Tasmania’s most popular annual events during December and January. Held in City Park every February, Festivale is a three-day celebration of Tasmanian food, beverage and music.
For an unforgettable excursion into the vineyards, cellar doors and distilleries of the Tamar Valley jump aboard a Tamar Valley Food and Wine Boutique Tour. Looking for things to do at night in Launceston? Visit the modern Italian eatery Novaros. Set in a lavish Edwardian dining room, this establishment serves exceptional dining experiences.
Roll along the great outdoors
Stretching from Launceston to the Bass Strait in Northern Tasmania, the Tamar River glistens with sunlight throughout spring and summer which makes for the perfect day trip. Take a Morning Discovery Cruise to roll past Tamar Valley wineries and learn about the history of the area before heading into the spectacular Cataract Gorge.
A natural highlight and local favourite, the forested reserve of Cataract Gorge can also be explored by visiting the Scenic Chairlift or one of many walking trails, such as the easy Cataract Walk, which links Kings Bridge to Cliff Grounds. Stretch your legs further at Tamar Island Wetlands Reserve, 5km from town and home to more than 60 bird species.
Step into living history
One of Australia’s oldest settlements, Launceston’s beautifully preserved Georgian architecture grandly lines the streets. Grab a coffee from one of the city’s many cafes and step back in time on one of Launceston’s heritage walks. Discover a few hidden surprises for yourself along the way, such as the City Park Radio Museum.
For a unique experience, you can even indulge in some old-world charm and ambience (in high comfort) at one of the city’s heritage-listed treasures. Built in 1847, The Colonial is a former school that has transformed into an elegant hotel. Enjoy a sumptuous meal in the stylish Three Steps on George Bar & Restaurant, once the school’s gymnasium.
While you’re there, keep an eye out for the schoolboy initials carved in 1853, and the milestone posts from the old highway between Hobart Town and Launceston that stand in the picturesque garden. The convict-built Franklin House is another historic gem open for self-guided tours.
Explore Galleries and Museums
Launceston’s rich cultural past (and future) are on offer at a number of museums and galleries throughout the city. Visit the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery and wander through its vast collections, ranging from dinosaur bones to famous Australian and international artworks. The Design Tasmania gallery is also home to an incredible creative collection, including the famed Wood Collection.
Where to stay?
Classified by the National Trust, Quality Hotel Colonial Launceston offers a winning combination of old-world charm and modern comfort when you visit Northern Tasmania, and is within walking distance to local highlights that include the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery.