11 Best Things To Do in Launceston

Posted by Noleen Arendse on

The Australian island state of Tasmania is truly unique. From incredible geological formations to unforgettable culinary delights, “Tassie” is a world-class destination for Australians and foreign travelers alike. 

The City of Launceston is the second largest in Tasmania, although many consider it to be on equal footing with Hobart in terms of its cultural richness. Launceton boasts beautifully restored historical buildings, perfectly manicured parks, and the gentle flow of the Tamar River. From hiking to dining, wandering to mountain biking, the city of Launceston offers a unique variety of activities. 

Looking for the best things to do in Launceston? We’ve got you covered. Here are the top 11 best things to do in Launceston, along with a few pro tips to help you get the most out of your experience

11 Best Things To Do in Launceston, Tasmania

Take A Guided Tour of Cradle Mountain National Park

If  you are spending any amount of time in Tasmania, then Cradle Mountain National Park needs to be at the top of your list of things to do. While it’s entirely possible to explore the Cradle Mountain area on your own, there are guided excursions available that will help you squeeze even more enjoyment out of your next vacation. 

This stunning walk will take you through the “Enchanted Forest” on your way up to a view of Dove Lake. Along the way, your guide will point out local wildlife like wombats and platypus. It’s the kind journey that absolutely requires a camera!

The guided tour ends at the Ashgrove Cheese Farm. If you’ve never tried Tasmanian cheese, then you are in for a real treat. 

Pro Tip: Book your Cradle Mountain National Park tour with ExperienceOZ … theirs comes with a free picnic lunch that you are going to need to keep your energy up. 

Go Canyoneering in Lost World Canyon

The land around Launceston is full of geological oddities that are exciting to anyone who lays eyes on them, much less someone who seeks thrilling adventures into the heart of the earth. The Lost World Canyon Tour is the perfect way to experience some of the area’s most stunning rock formations. 

To get the full experience, you’re going to need to book a multi-hour tour that includes all the required safety gear. It helps if you know how to swim so you can dip into the gorgeous Dove River, but this isn’t a necessity. 

With a guided tour, it’s fine if you don’t have any canyoneering experience. Your guides will take care of everything. 

Pro Tip: Most of these Canyon tours are about 3-4 hours long and can be taken in the morning or afternoon, so you don’t even need a full day! 

Experience Victorian Architecture at Its Best

The Albert Hall is one of the most amazing buildings in Australia, especially for anyone who is interested in history. This 14,000 square foot building is home to not only impressive architectural elements, but also Australia’s largest organ pre-dating 1860. Today, many of the rooms in Albert Hall can be rented for events and gatherings.

It’s worth stopping by Albert Hall just to catch a glimpse of the place or, perhaps, to visit Victoria’s Café, a beautiful eatery located inside of a glass atrium. Victoria’s Café features a full bar and number of different local wines and cheeses to sample. 

Pro Tip: If you’re visiting Launceston, be sure to pop over to the Albert Hall website to see if there is a concert or event going on. 

Beat the Heat with a Brewery Tour

Established in 1881, the James Boag Brewery blends clean Tasmanian water with outstanding local ingredients to produce one of the finest beers in the country, if not the entire world. Today the brewery is one of the true hubs of Launceston, giving locals and tourists alike a place to socialize and enjoy a beer on this historic property. 

If you want to book a tour at the James Boag Brewery, you should do so online at least a few days before you are planning on being in town. 

But no matter when you visit, the brewery’s full-service bar is a great place to have a cold beverage. There’s even a good chance you will run into one of the professional brewers while you’re there. 

Pro Tip: Like beer? Not far from Boag’s Brewery is the Saint John Craft Beer Bar, where you’ll find a number of awesome beers from all over the world. 

Stroll Through the Tamar Island Wetlands 

The Tamar Island Wetlands are a true Tassie classic, and it’s only a ten-minute drive from the Launceston city center. This urban wetland reserve is a great place to take a scenic walk anytime of day, free of charge. 

The Wetlands are traversed by a fantastically built wooden walkway. The walkway offers visitors wheelchair access and makes it possible to take a leisurely walk in your favorite pair of thongs (or flip flops if you're not from Aus). 

The Interpretation Center at the Tamar Island Wetlands should not be missed. Here you’ll learn a lot more about the ecological value of the wetlands and hear educational talks on fish, ecology, wildlife, and more. 

Pro Tip: Bring a pair of binoculars, and if possible, go early in the morning or just before dusk!

Get Revved Up at the National Automobile Museum 

The National Automobile Museum of Tasmania in Launceston is only one of many top-notch museums in Australia. It is also a good example of just how unique, dedicated, and quirky the local population can be. It was founded by a local couple in 1987, making it one of the coolest “mom & pop” operations in all of Tassie. 

This museum displays both unique and vintage automobiles and motorbikes. Geoff, one of the original owners, was once a renowned motor racing engineer. The collection at the N.A.M.T. is mostly comprised of his projects and restorations, many of which are carried out on-site. 

In 2019, the museum was significantly expanded and moved into a new facility. Now the themes and exhibits change on a regular basis, so there is always something awesome to see. 

Pro Tip: The N.A.M.T. was re-founded as a not-for-profit operation in 1997. The admission fee goes to keeping the lights on, and donations are always accepted. 

Hang with the Macaque Monkeys at City Park

Located in the heart of Launceston center, City Park is one of the finest and most well-maintained parks in all of Australia.

The park was established in 1863 when the town of Launceston took over the grounds. A number of buildings, including Albert Hall and the John Hart Conservatory,  were soon built.

But the most interesting part of City Park is Monkey Island. A glass wall and a small moat is all that separates you from a large family of macaque monkeys. Monkey Island was a gift from Launceston’s sister city in Japan, a story you can read all about during your free visit to the park!

Pro Tip: City Park is a must-see for history buffs who will appreciate the Boer War Memorial, along with a number of other educational plaques and memorials.

See the Stunning Sights of Cataract Gorge

Cataract Gorge is one of the most popular attractions in Launceston. There is no charge for this scenic experience, only a few minute’s drive from the city center.

A chairlift, the longest single span chairlift in the world, crosses the gorge to reveal the incredible beauty of the gorge from above.

You can also wander around the grounds and perhaps feed special peacock food to a few of the resident peacocks. 

Or you can take a river cruise and enjoy the dramatic scenery from below.

Pro Tip: There are a couple of cafes on site, but Cataract Gorge is also a fantastic place for a picnic. 

See the Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery

The Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery is the largest regional museum in Australia.  The museum and art gallery occupy two different buildings in Launceston, but walking between them isn’t a hassle at all. 

The Art Gallery actually incorporates 10 smaller galleries, displaying everything from colonial Tasmanian art to contemporary post-modern art. The gallery is also home to an entire Chinese temple decorated top-to-bottom with gold leaf!

The Museum, located on Invermay Road, is actually housed inside a 150 year old railway workshop. The early days of Tasmania as well as the wider general history of Australia are well represented in this museum.

Pro Tip: Both the museum and art gallery are free, but donations are graciously accepted. 

Grub Up at Harvest Launceston, the Community Farmer’s Market 

Tasmania is well known for its fresh produce, providing visitors with access to wonderful vegetables, freshly picked berries, and famous Tasmanian apples. 

In addition to produce, Tasmania is home to world-class dairy production. Organic cheeses and milks are commonplace at the market, alongside artisan honey and fresh-baked breads. 

The farmers’ market, Harvest Launceston, proudly displays Launceton’s bounty every Saturday from 8:30 to 12:30 on Cimitiere Street. 

Pro Tip: This farmer’s market is a great way to save money during your stay while also trying out local produce.

Take a Gourmet Foodie Tour of Launceston

Launceston has so much to offer when it comes to food and beverage. One of the best ways to get a feel for the true breadth of the culinary scene is with a guided walking tour through some of the city’s most delectable eateries. 

One tour begins in City Park and will take you to 7 local food producers!  However, a number of different tours are available … some with fewer options and faster schedules. There is even a Sunday Brunch Tour for $85 that includes food and drink at 3 different brunch spots. 

Taste.Walk.Talk hosts the tours. You can learn more or make a booking at their website. 

Pro Tip: Vouchers are available at the Taste.Walk.Talk website that make a great gift for anyone visiting Tasmania. 

Conclusion: Getting the Most out of your Launceston Vacation 

While not as large as Hobart, Launceston makes a great ‘home base’ for your visit to Tasmania. It’s only a few minutes from excellent hiking, it’s not more than an hour two from a number of national parks and heritage sites, and it has wonderful, fresh food. What more could you ask for in your next Tasmanian adventure?

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