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.

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Hatherley House:
Hailed as one of Australia’s hippest outfits, this is a contemporary hotel with gracious finishes and modern art. It oozes style, from exotic silk fabrics to intricately carved fireplaces, from immaculate gardens to colonial class. www.hatherleyhouse.com.au

Thyme Cottage: A beautifully restored 1880s heritage house, adorned with Baltic pine and antique furniture from a bygone era, with colonial charm and patchwork quilts adding to the retreat’s tranquillity. This might be the peaceful touch you’ve been hankering for. www.thymecottage.com.au

Metro Backpackers: In the heart of the city, Metro promises the finest of its class with neatly appointed rooms and facilities fit to impress. Awarded Best Backpackers 2005 by the Tourism Council of Tasmania. www.backpackersmetro.com.au/tasmania.html

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Linger a little longer: Dying to dine in an elegant fashion? Look no further than
the luscious Fee & Me. Here, dishes are described as a feast for the eyes; lemon risotto, shaved green lip abalone slices and gremolata will stimulates those little tastebuds –now ask your waiter to pick a wine to compliment your meal. www.feeandme.com.au/history.htm

A picnic with the locals: If the locals aren’t guzzling seafood at JJs dockside cafe, they’ll be picnicking at the Hollybank Forest Reserve, 30min from Launceston and just off Lilydale road. Locals will randomly drop in for a barbecue, take a stroll through the differing forests or stay for the day absorbing the European flavours that Hollybank offer.

Death by chocolate: The Swiss Chocolatier hand-makes choccies with attention to detail from the finest produce – even the chocoholic will find something new here. Bearing in mind these chocolates are unique to George St, treat yourself, forget the diet and indulge.

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Cellar hopping: When winding past vineyards and across rolling hills, try to visit Brady’s Lookout, an excellent place to pause and appreciate the Tamar River in all its splendour. And when a cold champers calls, Clover Hill (est 1986 and a dedicated sparkling wine estate) comes highly recommended. Try the blackberry sparkler.

The sunset strip: The Old Launceston Seaport waterfront is a lifestyle development and home to a stylish marina with slinky yachts gracing its waters. The busy boardwalk provides stunning sunsets views, so dig out that little happy snapper and capture the changing colours, bobbing boats and gulls.
World’s longest chairlift: One of the nation’s most alluring urban reserves, Cataract Gorge is within walking distance of town. “The Gorge” provides dramatic rocky clefts, river rafting, walking tracks and the world’s longest single span chairlift at 457m.