Launceston Travel Guide
Surrounded by rolling hills and sweeping valleys on the banks of the Tamar River, the city of Launceston in Northern Tasmania is one of Australia’s oldest and most picturesque cities.
Things to do
The cultural hub of Launceston, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) blends art, history and natural science together over two impressive sites. Go star-gazing and learn about space and astronomy at the Planetarium inside the Museum at Inveresk or see vibrant exhibitions showcasing internationally-renowned artists at the Art Gallery at Royal Park.
A short drive from Launceston, you’ll find the charming Swiss Village at Grindelwald in the Tamar Valley, also known as Little Switzerland. Designed and built in the Swiss-style by a Dutch immigrant in 1980, the houses and cottages all feature wide eaves, flower boxes and window shutters. With cafes, shopping, paddle boats and mini golf, the alpine wonderland makes for a fun day out with the family.
Launceston’s star attraction, the picturesque Cataract Gorge, locally known as The Gorge
Launceston’s star attraction, the picturesque Cataract Gorge, locally known as The Gorge, is a spectacular natural rock formation with sculpted gardens and walking trails near the city centre. Follow the cliff face track built in 1890 into the gorge or hop aboard the Gorge Scenic Chairlift for panoramic views of the magnificent landscape from up above.
Visit the largest penguin rookery in Tasmania at the Low Head Coastal Reserve and watch as the little blue penguins emerge from their day out fishing for food in the Bass Strait and return to their burrows. A little further west along Tasmania’s north coast is the Narawntapu National Park, ideal for spotting kangaroos, wallabies and wombats. Listen out for the distinctive screeches of the Tasmanian devils.
Food and wine
A delicious gourmet escape for foodies, Launceston is the gateway to the vineyards, strawberry farms and orchards of the Tamar Valley. The weekly Harvest Market showcases the best of the region’s fresh seasonal produce direct from the farm gate, while the renowned Tamar Valley Wine Trail features over 30 boutique wineries and cellar doors across the acclaimed wine region, offering up superb wine tastings.
In Launceston, take your pick of cosy cafes, craft beer bars and intimate bistros. Head to the vibrant Seaport Marina for Modern Australian dining with a view at Mudbar Restaurant or Rupert & Hound, or relax in the sun with some fish and chips by the water. Set in an historic 1830s flour mill overlooking the Tamar River, the award-winning Stillwater restaurant pairs premium Tasmanian wines with fresh, seasonal dishes.