Launceston

Boag's Centre, Melissa Krafchek

Population 99676

Tasmania's second largest city and a busy tourist centre, Launceston lies nestled in northern hilly country where the Tamar, North Esk and South Esk rivers meet. An elegantly laid-back place, Launceston has the highest concentration of 19th-century buildings in Australia. Yet it is also a city of contrasts, where modern marinas meet graceful Georgian and Victorian streetscapes and parks – and you’re seldom without a view of the Tamar River or surrounding valley.

Visitor Information

12–16 St John St; 1800 651 827

www.visitlauncestontamar.com.au

Nearby national parks

  • Ben Lomond National Park

    Ben Lomond National Park, enclosing the largest alpine plateau in the state, is a mountain environment with extensive and dramatic dolerite...more

  • Mole Creek Karst National Park

    Over 200 caves make up the Mole Creek karst system. The national park comprises a dozen separate blocks, creating a park almost as complex...more

  • Walls of Jerusalem National Park

    Walls of Jerusalem, the fourth largest and the most remote national park in Tasmania, is a stunning landscape of huge rock faces, ancient...more

Nearby towns

  • Hadspen

    Hadspen's best known resident, Thomas Reibey III, became premier of Tasmania after being fired as archdeacon of Launceston's Church...more

  • Evandale

    Just south of Launceston is this classified town, with beautiful buildings of historical and architectural importance. Cyclists come from as...more

  • Longford

    Longford was established when numerous settlers from Norfolk Island were given land grants in the area in 1813. Fittingly, the district...more

In Town

Cataract Gorge This spectacular gorge is one of Launceston's outstanding natural attractions, and at night it’s lit in spectacular fashion. Historic Kings Bridge spans the Tamar River at the entrance to the gorge. Above the cliffs on the north side of the gorge is an elegant Victorian park with lawns, European trees, peacocks and a restaurant. Read More.

Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery This is considered one of the best regional museums in Australia. Read More

Boags Brewery J Boag and Son Brewery, where James Boag commenced his brewing tradition on the banks of the Esk River in 1852. Tours include a full circuit of the brewery from the brewhouse to the packaging line and start and finish at the 'Boag's Centre for Beer Lovers'. The centre houses a museum and a retail store where merchandise is available to purchase. Tours Mon–Fri; tasting class Sat; William St; (03) 6332 6300. 

City Park: magnificent 5 ha park with European deciduous trees, it features a Japanese Macaque monkey enclosure, the John Hart conservatory, annual display beds, senses garden, and monuments; Cnr Tamar and Brisbane sts. 

Seaport: new riverside complex with restaurants, shops, marina and hotel at the head of the Tamar River. 

Design Centre of Tasmania: houses Australia's only museum collection of contemporary wood design, the Design Centre runs national and international exhibitions and tours of crafts, design and art; City Park. 

National Automobile Museum of Tasmania: displays over 40 fully restored classic vehicles spanning a hundred years of style and technical achievement; Cimitiere St. 

Ritchies Mill & Stillwater River Cafe & Restaurant: a 4-storey grain mill from the 1800s, now home to one of Launceston’s most renowned restaurants. The award-winning Stillwater restaurant opened on the ground floor of the Mill in 2000, while The Mill Providore & Gallery is located on the first and second floor of the mill, showcasing local Tasmanian produce, art and design; Paterson St.

Aurora Stadium: the home of AFL football in Tasmania, the stadium hosts 5 rostered matches per year and a variety of other sporting and recreation events. 

Walking tour: self-guide tour takes in 25 places of historical importance in central Launceston including Morton House, Milton Hall and Princes Sq, where the fountain was changed from a half-naked nymph to a pineapple after locals objected; brochure from visitor centre. 

Waverley Woollen Mills Factory Outlet Shop: woollen products from Australia's oldest mill, with tours and showroom; open 10am–4pm Mon–Fri; 58 George St. 

Old Umbrella Shop: unique 1860s shop preserved by the National Trust and housing a giftshop and information centre; George St.

Cocobean Chocolate: a chocolate boutique for connoiseurs of handcrafted chocolates, drinks and desserts; open Mon–Fri, 9.30am–2pm Sat, 82 George St; (03) 6331 7016.

Scenic flights: HeliAdventures Tasmania in Launceston; bookings on (03) 6334 0444.

Nearby

Tamar Valley wine region With around 30 wineries in the area, Pipers Brook Vineyard is one of the state’s biggest names, and makes beautiful gewürtztraminer and pinot noir. Its cellar also offers tastings of its Ninth Island Label and Kreglinger sparkling wines. Other wineries worth visiting include Bay of Fires and Tamar Ridge. For masterpieces in sparkling, visit Clover Hill, whose picturesque cellar door is perfect for a picnic lunch, and Jansz, with its modern, architectural wine room featuring an interpretive centre. Brochures are available from the visitor centre.

Franklin House A National Trust–listed Georgian building, Franklin House was built by convicts in 1838 for a Launceston brewer. It is furnished elaborately with period pieces and is a popular historical attraction. 6 km S.

Punchbowl Reserve: spectacular park with rhododendron plantation, a small gorge and native and European fauna in natural surroundings; 5 km SW.

Trevallyn State Reserve:  neighbour to the Cataract Gorge, good picnic spot with trail rides, kayaking, walking tracks and water activities at Trevallyn Dam; 6 km W.

Hollybank Treetops Adventure: flying fox adventure park with a kilometre of cable strung between treetop 'cloud stations'; open Mon–Sun; Hollybank Rd, Underwood. 

Tamar Island Wetlands: urban wetlands reserve; a haven for birdlife, with a 3 km boardwalk to Tamar Island, pleasing views from the middle of the river and an outstanding Interpretation Centre that offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the great value of the wetlands; 9 km NW.

Tasmania Zoo: Tasmanian devils, emus, wallabies and other native fauna. Good fly-fishing in the lakes with tuition available; 17 km W

Grindelwald: Swiss village with chalet-themed Tamar Valley Resort and Swiss-style shopping square selling Swiss chocolates, cakes, crafts and souvenirs; 19 km NW.

Cafes & restaurants around town

Black Cow Bistro

In the Art Deco premises of Luck’s butchers, Black Cow Bistro is a modern tribute to Launceston’s meat-eating past, offering a range of locally sourced premium beef and an excellent wine list. Unashamedly... Find out more


Calabrisella

The aromas wafting from the kitchen will have your mouth watering in an instant at this bustling BYO pizza bar. Grab a table, a glass of red and sit back in anticipation. The cooking is authentic, and the menu –... Find out more


Flip

This funky little cafe has launched the burger into the 21st century. The wacky names are as creative as the stack of ingredients they offer. Take your taste buds back a decade or two with the ‘Oi Oi Oi’, a... Find out more


Smokey Joe’s Creole Cafe

Smokey Joe’s roots are in the hills of Missouri, where French and African-American cuisine meet Creole’s rich and spicy flavours. Happily for Launceston he has ended up here, serving a beguiling mix of Cajun... Find out more


Stillwater River Cafe & Restaurant

Set in an 1830s flour mill, Stillwater is acclaimed as one of Launceston’s best restaurants. During the day breakfast or lunch are wonderful enjoyed outdoors overlooking the Tamar River, while the small dining room... Find out more


Nearby breweries

Boag's (J.Boag & Son) 1 km

With several different owners over the past 100 years, J. Boag and Son typifies the sometimes turbulent history of Australian brewing and the minor miracle of surviving at all into the 21st century. Scotsman James Boag... Find out more


Campsites around town

Myrtle Park Recreation Ground 24 km

This delightful camping area is next to the pretty St Patricks River at Targa, about halfway between Launceston and Scottsdale on the Tasman Hwy (A3). The camping area is beside riverbank willows, and there’s... Find out more


Lilydale Falls Reserve camping area 24 km

In the middle of Tasmania’s north-eastern wine region, 2.5 km north of the little township of Lilydale on Golconda Rd (B81), this pleasant campground has shady sites beneath mature trees. The playground, picnic... Find out more


Andy’s Motorhome and Caravan Park 26 km

Behind Westbury’s 24 hr bakery cafe, this motorhome park is a convenient stopover 30 min from Launceston. Its great facilities include a laundry, dump point and wireless hotspot. While you’re here, check out... Find out more


Caravan parks around town

Treasure Island Caravan Park 2 km

Launceston has just this one caravan park. It is about 2 km south of the city centre and is easily accessible from the freeway when approaching from the south. The park has good facilities and is a good base to use when... Find out more


Longford Riverside Caravan Park 17 km

This park, with good amenities, is located on the banks of the Macquarie River, only a few hundred metres from the centre of town. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more


Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Fiona’s of Launceston

Launceston is a great city to explore on foot and this B&B is an easy walking distance to shops, cafes and restaurants. It’s also next door to Aquarius Roman Baths, where they have perfected a dozen ways to... Find out more


Peppers Seaport

Launceston isn’t a high-rise city, so Seaport’s half-dozen storeys dominate this riverside patch on the edge of the CBD. This 60-room swish hotel decked out in blond wood and beige furnishings has brought a... Find out more


The Lido Apartments

These eight apartments revive the 1930s era with a collection of Art Deco furniture and collectibles. Each apartment offers a sun-drenched dining area, fully equipped kitchen and balcony with glorious views. The... Find out more


TWOFOURTWO

At the hip end of Charles Street among a little strip of cafes, galleries and bars, the ultra-chic TwoFourTwo is a radical departure from the usual heritage B&B on offer. The three exquisite but affordable apartments... Find out more


Werona Heritage Accommodation

Trevallyn’s steep hillside streets have a fine collection of beautiful Federation mansions and Werona is one of the loveliest. It is a graceful and ornate two-storey 1908 house that has been restored to its former... Find out more


Rest areas around town

Perth park area 15 km

At Perth

Adjacent to the highway. In the middle of town.


Myrtle Park camping area 24 km

T/O 31km SW of Scottsdale (R) or 31km NE of Launceston (L)

Well off the highway on the banks of St Patricks River.


Sideling Lookout park area 32 km

17km SW of Scottsdale (L) or 45km NE of Launceston (R)

Adjacent to the highway with good views over the surrounding countryside.


What's on around town

Launceston Cup: state's biggest race day; Feb.

Festivale: food and wine; Feb.

MS Fest: major youth music festival; Feb.

Targa Tasmania: tarmac road rally; Apr–May.

National Trust Tasmanian Heritage Festival: Apr.

Agfest: Tasmnania's largest agricultural show; May. 

Royal Launceston Show: Oct.

Tamar Valley Classic: yacht race; Nov.

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