Launceston, Tasmania

Launceston is Tasmania’s second-largest city and, established in 1806, is the country’s third-oldest. It is compact, historic, and a fine base from which to explore the Tamar Valley.

The city is 200 kilometres north of Hobart, and is located at the junction of the North Esk and South Esk rivers.

The South Esk’s riverbanks host Cataract Gorge Reserve, an urban reserve 15 minutes’ walk from Launceston’s heart. It has sheer basalt cliffs loved by local and visiting rock climbers, with spectacular panoramic views available through a chairlift ride. It also contains hiking trails, a pool, lookouts and the fine dining Gorge Restaurant.

Established 1891, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery at Inveresk is the biggest and best regional art gallery in Australia and is open 10 am to 4 pm every day.

Nature enthusiasts shouldn’t go past Seahorse World at Beauty Point, a conservation centre for the unique creatures. It shows visitors the workings of a seahorse farm, provides education about many species, and has a touch pool. It came out of the University of Tasmania’s research work in the early 1990s on the state’s indigenous pot-bellied seahorse species.

Of course, a visit to Launceston is incomplete without a visit to the nearby Tamar Valley wine region. The Tamar Valley Wine Route includes over 20 cellar doors for several critically adored cool climate winemakers, including Bay of Fires Wines, Dalrymple Estate and Ninth Island Vineyards. 

Those who prefer beer to wine will not be able to go past the iconic Tasmanian brewer James Boag and Son, which offers tours starting and ending at the Tamar Hotel on Monday to Saturday, and the three-level Boag’s Museum. There is a Boag’s Discovery Tour (60 minutes’ length) and a Boag’s Beer Lover option available to visitors, with the latter displaying all stages of brewing and packing, and finished with tastings and cheeses.

For some of the freshest local produce, the Harvest Launceston farmers’ market takes place at Cimitiere Street every Saturday from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.   

The city’s climate is temperate/cool, with January seeing an average maximum and minimum of 23.2 and 10.2 degrees Celsius, and 10.9 and 2.3 for July.

Launceston Airport is served domestically by the airlines Jetstar (flying from Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney), Qantas (Melbourne) and Virgin (Melbourne and Sydney).

Flights and Accommodation

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Launceston has a wealth of quality accommodation on offer, including international hotels as well as self-catering styles for families and hostels for backpackers.