08 August, 2019

Fall in love with Launceston, from fab food and drinks to design old and new

One of Australia’s oldest towns has been reborn – come on down and find out how!

Just 100 kilometres south of Devonport, Launceston is a Tasmanian itinerary essential – especially for foodies and history buffs. After ticking off the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery and renowned Stillwater restaurant, there are many reasons to linger in the island state’s second city.

What to see and do

In 1806, the British established a settlement here, where the North Esk and South Esk rivers join to form the Tamar, making this one of Australia’s oldest towns. Named after Launceston in Cornwall, it still boasts many fine 19th and early 20th century buildings that make the compact city centre a lovely place for a stroll. Discover heritage highlights like the 1836 flour mill and grand 1888 Custom House with a self-guided walk, or let Launceston Ghost Tours show you the way with added nocturnal spookiness.

Step into the past at Franklin House, an antique-filled home dating from 1838 that’s managed by the National Trust, then get your heritage transport motor running among the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania’s many antique and vintage cars and motorcycles. There’s also the Tramway Museum, which offers rides on a 1940s tram – all aboard!


Launceston City Ghost Tours (Image: Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett)
Launceston City Ghost Tours (Image: Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett)

Launceston’s green spaces add to its charms as a walking city, from much-loved Cataract Gorge to pretty City Park, where you’ll find Japanese macaque monkeys, a little train ride that little kids love, and heritage treasures including a classic conservatory and ornate drinking fountain. Take to the water with Tamar River Cruises, whose catered and narrated tours include 2.5-hour jaunts along this beautiful, broad river, past wildlife reserves, historic properties and wineries, plus a peek inside the gorge.

Cataract Gorge (Image: Jarrad Seng)
Cataract Gorge (Image: Jarrad Seng)

Eating and drinking

An export centre for northern Tasmania’s agricultural products since its early years, Launceston has been turning that bounty into a feast of reasons to stick around lately. Recent additions to the city’s growing gourmet scene include Grain of the Silos, the striking Peppers Silo Hotel’s paddock-to-plate restaurant. Among other delicious newcomers are Broth Me, which serves healthful bone-broth soup, a local outpost of Hobart’s funky Kosaten Japanese restaurant, and Poutinerie French Fry Emporium, one of the few places in Australia serving Canada’s favourite carb-elicious fast food of hot chips, gravy and cheese curds.

Peppers Silo Hotel  (Image: Rob Burnett)
Peppers Silo Hotel (Image: Rob Burnett)

A tour and taste at Boag’s brewery is just the start of Launceston’s quality drinking options. Saint John Craft Beer Bar has 14 Tasmanian, Australian and international brews on tap, as well as 170-plus bottled beers and other drinks from local cider to spirits. Bar Two only pours Tassie wines, while upstairs at Cinco Passiones it’s all about sophisticated libations including hand-crafted cocktails. For a classy dining-drinking combo, sashay along to Geronimo Aperitivo Bar and Restaurant or Henry’s Bar and Restaurant.

Geronimo Aperitivo Bar & Restaurant  (Image: Lusy Productions)
Geronimo Aperitivo Bar & Restaurant (Image: Lusy Productions)


Don’t stop shopping after you’ve indulged at the celebrated Harvest farmers market. Find a feast of traditional treats like peanut brittle and chocolate raspberries at Gourlay’s sweet shop, a Launceston institution since 1896. Look for old-fashioned delights of a different kind at the National Trust’s Old Umbrella Shop, or The Vintage Rose homewares and gift shop. Then pop into Petrach’s bookshop and browse the quality tomes, including an outstanding selection of books about Tasmania.

For souvenirs created by the state’s accomplished artists, craftspeople and designers, check out The Tasmanian Artisan Shop, commercial galleries such as Gallery Pejean, and Design Tasmania’s excellent shop – ideally after you’ve been inspired by this respected institution’s permanent and temporary exhibitions, from woodwork to weaving.

Design Tasmania (Image: Design Tasmania)
Design Tasmania (Image: Design Tasmania)


Information included in this blog is correct at the time of publishing. Please contact individual operators for further information.

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