Settled in 1806, it’s one of Australia’s oldest cities. Launceston retains its quaint character with small town vibes and a suitably slow paced lifestyle, making it ideal for a relaxing weekender.
Tasmania’s second largest city is so much more than a gateway to the northern region of the state. Launceston will charm you with heritage architecture, epicurean delights, art galleries, lush parks, farmer’s markets and picturesque vineyards producing award-winning wines. For nature lovers and outdoorsy types, there is an abundance of activities at the nearby Cataract Gorge.
2-4 Invermay Rd, Invermay
Located in the Inveresk precinct of Launceston; an arty, industrial setting alongside the Academy of the Arts. Blue café is housed in a converted old tram station and is suitably kitted out with industrial decor.
The trendy cafe is a popular breakfast spot on weekends, whilst lunch and dinner menus are equally inviting. Locals rave about the gourmet wood fired pizzas.
If you’re fancying something a little different opt for the crispy slow cooked pulled wagyu brisket, shoyu ramen broth with noodles, soft egg, shiitake, spring onion and packed with flavours of burnt garlic and sesame-chilli oil ($33).
2 Bridge Rd, Launceston
This upmarket spot is a foodie’s ‘must-do’. Plus, it’s pleasant position in the historic Richie’s Mill along the banks of the Tamar River is unbeatable. Stillwater excels at contemporary Tasmanian cuisine, with a strong presence of local delights. Expect dishes to include; Huon salmon, Mt Gnonom pork belly, Robbins Island Wagu beef and, the more adventurous ought to sample the Lenah wallaby. The wine bar has an ample selection of Tassie drops and, to compliment this, the cheese menu offers some of the best picks across the state.
70 George St, Launceston
A stylish steakhouse in the heart of town is set in the historic, art-deco butchery along George Street. The team behind Stillwater showcase premium, free-range beef at this upmarket bistro. The warm environment, some of the best steaks in Tasmania, creative side dishes and a thoughtful wine list ensure that The Black Cow is high on the culinary agenda.
Plenty of boutique accommodation options are available in town, whether you plan to stay for a romantic weekender or perhaps an evening to mark the beginning of a greater Tasmanian adventure.
The boutique accommodation consists of four unique, luxe suites. At Hatherley Birrell modern design meets heritage architecture. Part of the charm is the strong design element and a private art collection decorates each secluded suite. The Magnolia Garden Pavilion sits under the shade of a 150 year old magnolia tree. It’s a welcome retreat with an open view straight out to the garden.
The outdoor deck with a bath carved from volcanic stone is yet another striking feature and certainly spells out a romantic getaway.
A healthy, complimentary breakfast is provided. Begin a day of exploring with natural yoghurt, poached fruit and muesli in the garden.
Price per night ranges from around $240 – $440 per night depending on which suite and seasonal rates.
Every Saturday 8.30am -12.30 pm Cimitiere St carpark
Locals, artisans and producers gather every Saturday morning at the Harvest Market. It’s the place to pick up fresh produce and meet the local growers. Fresh fruit, organic bread, jars of homemade jams and chutneys, old-fashioned baked goods, and a decent coffee cart make for a pleasant community market. If you can’t find the Cimitiere St car park, follow the mouth-watering scent of the gourmet sausage sizzle. Don’t miss the brownies from Modo Mio Naked; brownies made with premium coverture chocolate with either organic spelt or the gluten free quinoa. Standouts include the decadent beetroot and dark chocolate or salted caramel and hazelnut.
2 Bridge Rd, Launceston
If you can’t stick around for lunch at Stillwater, source a few delectable items from the Mill Providore upstairs. This historic timber building is brimming with locally made goodies. It’s the place in town to stock up on edible treats from freshly baked loaves of bread, Bridestowe Estate lavender tea , Tamar Valley truffles, hand-made fudge, leatherwood honey, lemon myrtle and Bruny Island Cheese.
There are so many adorable gifts unique to Tasmania; handmade arts and crafts, jewellery, pottery, ceramics, textiles and wood design. Also, do spare a moment to check out the latest exhibition at the adjoining gallery.
37 Tamar Street, Launceston
Provincial furniture and vintage homewares are so perfectly curated in this tasteful, old-worldly store.
This shop is jam-packed with items to style your dream country estate, but for those just passing by there are adorable little ornaments that can be easily packed in a suitcase.
City Park + Macaque Monkeys
45-55 Tamar St., Launceston
In the heart of Launceston lies the City Park with pleasant green parkland, a Japanese Macaque monkey enclosure, a beautiful conservatory bursting with flowers, and a duck pond.
It’s a nice spot to picnic with goodies from the nearby Farmer’s Market.
370 Relbia Rd, Relbia
Drive a mere fifteen minutes out of Launceston and you’ll reach an idyllic location with views across the winery and lake. Here you can soak up the tranquil setting and sample some top-notch wines. Any trip to Tasmania without a winery and cellar door experience is incomplete.
Josef Chromy also have a restaurant onsite with a focus on local produce and serves award-winning wines from the estate.
The ‘Josef’s Tasting Tour’ from the cellar door is a fantastic way to experience the winery in a relaxed manner – four miniature tastes of their best produce matched with a tasting glass of Josef Chromy wine ($39). It’s a flawless plan for a romantic pre-dinner activity as the sun goes down.
39 William Street, Launceston
If you love beer, then this is an experience just for you. Boags began brewing in 1881, using the clear water from the Elk River for ultimate purity . Today Boags still uses Tasmania’s pure water and fresh local ingredients to craft their unique taste. Tours of the historic brewery, which includes beer tasting, run everyday.
90 Basin Road, Launceston
An urban reserve known by locals as ‘The Gorge’. This picturesque touch of wilderness just outside Launceston has hiking trails, a swimming pool and a cute cafe. Take the chairlift over the gorge or walk across the suspension bridge. You might even enjoy the pleasure of spotting colourful peacocks, or maybe a few cheeky wallabies at dusk.
Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar all fly to Launceston from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Launceston Airport is 15km from Launceston city centre.
Rent a car at the airport for exploring Launceston and surrounds. This is also a useful place to collect a car for those embarking on a road trip from Launceston.
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