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Travel guide Launceston

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  • Dining - Daniel Alps at Strathlynn
  • Port Arthur
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  • Tamar River Cruises
  • Launceston The Neck

This delightful Tasmanian city nestled in the Tamar Valley is often nicknamed The Valley of the Senses. Some believe the reason for this nickname is the aromatic and colourful flowers of Cataract Gorge. Others consider the city’s reputation for fine wines and gourmet food to be the main reason. But in reality, it is due to all of these, as well as the caress of gentle breezes and lush moss, the sounds of rushing water in the Gorge during floods, and the songs of regional birds in the abundant bushland.

Founded in 1805, this historic city is actually the third oldest in Australia (with Sydney and Hobart being the first and second respectively). It was originally called Patersonia, after Lieutenant Colonel Paterson (coincidentally, one of my distant relatives) but he later changed it to honour the Cornish birthplace – Launceston – of Governor Philip Gidley King.

Today, Launceston is filled with proudly preserved historical architecture and pristine gardens. Visitors who like stretching their legs with a good stroll will enjoy taking the many museums, art galleries, antique stores, and restaurants in their stride.

With a population of only 98,000, Launceston offers the best mix of city and small town qualities; plenty to keep everyone interested, but at a relaxing pace.

Cataract Gorge
The most popular attraction of Launceston can be reached by walking along the Tamar River from the city centre. Here you will find a treat for every one of your senses. A long chairlift allows you a bird’s eye view of the Gorge. Peacocks strut around the colourful Victorian garden. A delightful gazebo provides shade while you take in your surroundings. A gourmet restaurant provides the welcome warmth of a crackling fire during the cooler months, and al fresco tables throughout the summer. A swimming pool surrounded by bushland is a great place to chat with friends while cooling off from the summer sun. Cataract Gorge has been enjoyed by locals since the 1800s, when the pathways were first built and The King’s Bridge constructed.

Out and about
Consider taking a gentle cruise along the Tamar River, or drive an hour to one of Tasmania’s beautiful white sandy beaches. Wine connoisseurs can be pampered on a tour of vineyards in the valley, complete with picnic hamper lunches. Beer lovers are catered for as well, with tours of the local Boag’s brewery. Try one of the bushwalking trails through the Tamar Valley, or check out the seahorse farm at Beauty Point along the West Tamar. Twenty minutes away, you will find a wildlife park filled with Australia’s most popular animals including, of course, the Tasmanian Devil.

When to go
Escape the intense summer heat of mainland Australia and enjoy a pleasant average temperature of 24 degrees Celsius. Winter offers crisp cool days averaging 13 degrees. Autumn is a visual treat as the many deciduous trees begin to drop red, orange and yellow hued leaves. Spring gets a bit wet, but is a wonderful time to enjoy the bright flowers of the area.

How to get there
Flights departing from all cities in Australia can connect with the many daily flights to Launceston from Melbourne and Sydney. Launceston’s airport is then only a 15-minute taxi or shuttle ride into the town. If you’re not in a hurry, consider having a bit of fun on the Spirit of Tasmania I and II ferries, which travel back and forth between Port Melbourne in Victoria and Devonport in Tassie. Each offer fun-filled overnight cruises, but best of all – you can bring your car to easily explore Launceston and the rest of Tasmania.

Quaint bed and breakfasts with lovely gardens are scattered throughout Launceston and surrounds. Find these as well as self-contained apartments and full service hotels in TakeABreak’s Launceston accommodation options.

Ideal length of visit
Launceston itself can be enjoyed as a weekend break, but consider using it as a jumping off point to the other towns and attractions throughout the region. A week will give you plenty of opportunities to explore beaches, rivers, hills, caves, and many other interesting places which are each less than an hour or two away.

Further information
Check out www.DiscoverLaunceston.com for more information about this picturesque town. If you plan to branch out and explore the rest of Tasmania, you’ll find plenty of useful information on www.DiscoverTasmania.com
Information and bookings for the various attractions mentioned in this article can be found at:
Launceston Travel & Information Centre
Cornwall Square Transit Centre
12-16 St John Street, Launceston  
Phone:  (03) 6336 3133
Fax:      (03) 6336 3118
Email: Travelcentre@launceston.tas.gov.au

About the Author - Kylie-Jane Degeling
Is a freelance writer who has lived in Adelaide,Yulara (Uluru), Alice Springs and Canberra, as well as five different countries throughout the world. After backpacking around Australia, she worked as a tour guide in Central Australia, before training for her Commercial Pilot License and working as a flight instructor, scenic flight and charter pilot. She later worked as a travelling IT trainer for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, which involved spending time in each of their 16 District Offices around the country on a frequent rotating basis.

Having experienced Australia as a backpacker, tour guide, pilot and business traveler, Kylie now enjoys family holidays with her husband Alex and children Jezzy and Jordan. She says, “I have been lucky to see Australia from a variety of perspectives, and as a travel writer can use this experience to inspire others to find holidays they would enjoy.”

Kylie currently works as a travel writer in addition to being a government writer and columnist for two parenting magazines.


About the author
Find out more about Kylie at http://bit.ly/h_experts

More accomodation in North Tasmania
Launceston | Tamar Valley | Westbury | Devonport | Cradle Mountain | Paper Beach | Port Sorell | Tullah | Deloraine | Elizabeth Town | Loongana | Latrobe | Mole Creek | George Town | Greens Beach | Ulverstone | Hadspen | King Island | Beauty Point | Blackwood Creek | Melrose TAS | Legana | Beechford | Newnham | Preolenna | Sulphur Creek | Windmill Hill | Clarence Point | Brooklyn | Cape Portland | Epping | Gawler | Illawarra | Kelvin Grove | Norwood | Perth | Prospect | St Leonards | Surrey Hills | Wilmot |

If this article mentions a tourism region or activity you're passionate about, why not help us promote it by linking to this article from your own website or blog? You can use a short excerpt with your link if you wish. If you'd prefer to publish the entire article, please contact media@takeabreak.com.au - we are usually happy to grant permission with reasonable restrictions.

  I enjoyed Kylie's article as I spent my first 14 years in Tassie then returned several years later to teach there for 10 years before returning to Victoria. As a schoolboy I sometimes travelled to school on the tram, long since gone.They rattled a lot but did the job on a wet day. Brisbane St looks so much wider without them and Coles no longer advertises "Nothing over 2/6" !
School crews rowed on the gorge when it was as smooth as silk but kept well away when it became a raging torrent in flood.
The Tamar at high tide is beautful but low tide reveals a few unsightly areas which don't detract from the beautiful riverside scenery.
Kylie's article makes no mention of fogs in Launceston. My memories of winding my way up to Prospect Vale in dense fog which sometimes hovered over Launceston all day makes me think that visitors should be warned about it beforehand. Better before they get lost !
I liked the euphemistic "spring can be a bit wet" but I guess any rain is welcome these days. Nevertheless, I love Launceston & think Kylie has captured the local atmosphere very well......A+
Posted on Feb 06 2008 at 16:18

  Kylie I'm not sure where your 5th photo titled "Launceston The Neck" came from as Launceston, although on the Tamar River is approx. 60kms from the sea!

Maybe it is the Isthmas at Bruny Island?

Otherwise, great article.


Posted on Feb 06 2008 at 23:52

  The picture above of "launceston, the neck' is actually of southern tasmania, Bruny Island. Also, Port Arthur is the other end of tasmnaia, also in the south.
Posted on Feb 07 2008 at 00:48

  As a long term resident of the Tamar Valley and Launceston I am surprised Kylie found it necessary to post photos of other parts of the state in order to promote Launceston and the Valley. With such a wonderfully historic city with so many magnificent old buildings and parks there are countless photo opportunities to choose from. The Cateract Gorge has barely rated a mention and is one of the most beautiful natural features of our fair city. I sincerely hope people take the time to do a little research themselves before holidaying as we have so much more to offer. I came for 2 weeks 25 years ago and fell in love with this lovely place it isnt hard to do.
Posted on Feb 07 2008 at 10:14

Posted on Feb 24 2013 at 14:20

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