LAUNCESTON – THE AUSTRALIAN TRAVELLER GUIDE
“Lonnie,” as it is known to locals, is Tasmania’s underrated gem. An urban retreat with a twist, the city’s modern boutiques, restaurants and galleries stand among Victorian and Colonial buildings that date back to 1824. A gateway to the fabulous wine tours of the picturesque Tamar Valley, it is the perfect base to travel anywhere else on the island.
For those wanting a little more privacy than dorm room accommodation, the Leisure Inn Penny Royal Hotel & Apartments are charming, clean and lacking a television – pushing you to explore the CBD just five minutes away. There is also the more up market Launceston Country Club with, as you would expect a golf course and casino.
If getting out of town and luxury are decidedly on the agenda, then Marion’s Vineyard in the Tamar Valley offers a rustic chalet or, for the more adventurous, a Tarzan suite among the trees. Fabulous food, wine at your (cellar) doorstep and private jetty are included in this back-to-nature retreat.
Tassie is more English in landscape than anywhere else in Australia and if you want to pretend your staying with a long lost relative at a grand aristocratic country pile then Quamby Estate and Calstock House are both worth it.
What to Do
Launceston is the destination for the history buff, with places such as the historic mansion Franklin House, the perfectly preserved Old Umbrella Shop and the Queen Victoria Museum, a must for those interested in the city’s history. At night, see the architecture come spookily alive (and dead) in a ghost tour around the alleyways and laneways of Launceston. If natural structures are more your speed, make sure to visit Cataract Gorge to hike, swim, see the peacocks and enjoy spectacular views of the basin from the world’s longest single span chairlift.
For a more decadent day, check out James Boag’s Brewery tour in town. If the one-hour tasting is not enough, enjoy your alcohol with a side of scenery on a cruise along the Tamar River and wine hop around the Tamar Valley. Top off your day by getting pampered and detoxing at the Roman Baths back in the CBD.
Further a field, Barnbougle Dunes is the top public course in Australia and No. 7 in world. While it is a public course, strolling on up to hit a few is just not going to work so make sure to call ahead. It is possible to make a day trip to Cradle Mountain – but its not advisable, make it an overnight trip at least.
Launceston and the Tamar Valley are pleasant all year round, but it is pretty cold and therefore quiet in winter which means not everything is open. Visiting in the summer months has its other benefits, particularly in February where Launceston comes alive with its highly anticipated three-day food and wine gala, Festivale, held in City Park.
Launceston Airport is around a 15-minute drive from the CBD, and is serviced by all the major domestic airlines. To get to the city, catch the Airporter Shuttle Bus to the city ($14 one way, 6343 6677) or a cab (approximately $25). While in the CBD, the bus service Metro (13 22 01) makes local exploration convenient. To get out of town, Redline Coaches (1300 360 000) and TassieLink buses aid travel throughout all Tasmania. Alternatively, save yourself the timetable hassle and consider hiring a car, which can be done at the airport, or in town.
Slick, private and as unexpected as can be – Hatherley House is a true Tasmanian devil, writes Aimee Leabon One could, in all fairness, be forgiven for assuming Hatherley House to be a bit musty. You know... a place of winding staircases, secret passageways and draughty halls; of small rooms and creaky floorboards. It is, after all, “an 1830’s grand mansion listed on the National Estate Register”, according to the website. Moreover it’s in Launceston which, although very beautiful, is hardly the epicentre of the accommodation industry. How good can this place be? “My wife and I stayed there the night...
Boasting beautiful bushland, amazing art and architecture, rich local produce and world-class wine, there’s something for everyone in this cultured compact city in northern Tassie, writes Aimee Leabon. Where is it? Launceston is in northern Tasmania, where the South and North Esk Rivers meet to become the Tamar River. Settled in 1806, it’s one of the oldest cities in Australia and the second largest in Tasmania (after Hobart). How to get there Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia fly direct routes from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. You can drive from Hobart via the B31 and Midland Highway in about...
AT's guide to the best cheap accommodation for summer and Christmas holidays Launceston Why do we rate it? Launceston and the Tamar Valley are packed full of fantastic food and wine opportunitites. More English than the Home Counties, this is the great summer holiday without frying on a beach. Where is it? Launceston is the northern capital of Tasmania with direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne. Where to stay In town there are the usual business hotels and a Peppers Seaport on the water. AT’s pick is a base in the astonishingly beautiful Tamar Valley. This is where you can...
You can lead a man to Stillwater, but you can’t stop him complaining about the tiny portions. Or can you? Local girl Lucy Barbour recently put that old Tasmanian adage to the test at Launceston’s finest dining experience. Hats off to men who can appreciate small portions of fine food. Or at least pretend to. I’m thinking of the times I’ve dragged my boyfriend into swanky restaurants, when I’ve drooled over tiny dishes with complex flavours and floral garnishes. “It’s interesting,” he’ll say of an entrée of eel with a sauce that marries Vietnamese herbs with Middle Eastern spice. But...
AT reader Charlie Inglefield from Sydney has fallen hard for a burgeoning wine region in Tasmania’s northeast. Can he make it out with his liver alive? Launceston, or “Lonnie” to the locals, has spent much of its history struggling for recognition from Hobart, the celebrated Tasmanian capital. But with a burgeoning tourism industry and as a rapidly emerging wine destination, Launceston is now very much on the map to travellers and wine buffs alike. The Tamar wine route is at the heart of Tasmania’s reputation as one of Australia’s finest Pinot Noir growers and one of Australia’s best-kept wine secrets....
A guide to the Wooden Boat Festival in Launceston All That Floats Don’t knock it just because it’s wood, we say, head to Hobart instead for a spectacular boat festival. The Australian Wooden Boat Festival, February 6 to 9, is a four-day celebration of maritime culture and craftsmanship in Tasmania. It will feature more than 500 wooden vessels of all shapes and sizes, including what may well be Australia’s oldest boat - a 28ft Huon pine rowing ferry. The festivities will begin with a colourful Parade of Sail on the 6th, and the festival will then erupt in to a...
Mark Jameson discovers that most rare of beasts: a hip and stylish hotel in Launceston. It’s a discreet pleasure you won’t find in glossy tourist brochures. Unsuspecting beer aficionados strolling down William Street in Launceston may find themselves lifted, cartoon-like, onto their tippy toes and wafted eastwards by the tantalising, malty, sour mash aroma that means only one thing: J Boag & Son is brewing today. Boag’s is one of Tasmania’s oldest and best-known companies but if you can resist the tangy blandishments of the brewery tour and make it to the opposite end of William Street, you’ll find one of...
Don’t be surprised to find yourself singing in the rain after you’ve bought one of the gorgeous retro umbrellas at the Old Umbrella Shop in Launceston. The unusual and antiquated shop in George St was built in the 1860s from Tasmanian blackwood and is the last original store of the Victorian age in Tasmania. “A WONDER WORLD STORY IN THE MAKING. I WISH I’D KNOWN ABOUT THIS PLACE TEN YEARS AGO!” – Catriona Rowntree The three generations that have been running it from 1900 – and all other previous owners – have maintained the genuine Victorian style so that you...
A Detours & Diversions article on the various things to do within Launceston during a short 48-hour stopover. Tasting bush pepper cheese, quince paste and bright berries isn’t just a rosy picture but rather a way of life in the Garden City. Launceston will impress the food and wine connoisseur; cool climate whites excel in the region and Launceston’s catch of the day is always a seafood sensation. Every sight, sound and smell will be heightened while cruising the beautiful streetscapes of an old Australian city. STAY HERE Hatherley House: Hailed as one of Australia’s hippest outfits, this is a...
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