To be sure you get the most out of a weekend away in Northern Tasmania, here are a few tips from me, a local Launcestonian!
Launceston is the second largest city in Tasmania. The city hosts about 86,000 residents and is the gateway to some of the world’s most spectacular drives, walks, flora and fauna and scenery.
A weekend escape to the Island of Tasmania could be just what you need after a few busy weeks at work.
Flights down to Tasmania can come cheap, Avalon to Hobart can go as low as $39 each way, however, flying from Melbourne Tullamarine to Launceston varies due to which events may be on in the region. I was able to fly return to Launceston from Tullamarine for about $210, right at the beginning of the Easter School Holidays, which I thought was reasonable.
Once arriving into Launceston Airport, the small yet busy regional hub has everything in the one place – car hiring has never been easier! It set me back nearly $200 for three days hire of a little Toyota Corolla, plus the top insurance.
I drove the fifteen minutes into the city of Launceston and I was greeted by the unique architecture from the 1800s-1900s.
A list of great places to stay in Launceston:
The Mantra Charles Hotel. The Charles will set you back about $300-$400 for the weekend, although a 5-10-minute walk into the heart of Launceston’s CBD is hard to pass up. The modern building is a definite eye catcher in the landscape of Launceston as you drive in. The building was completed in 2011.
Ashton Gate House, in Launceston’s beautiful suburb of East Launceston, is a beautiful Victorian era house. The cozy, tastefully decorated bed and breakfast will set you back around $200-$300 for the weekend. The lovely, St George’s Square park is 100m away and the new addiction of Food Trucks park there at dinner time and serve their delicious burgers and crepes until late at night.
More great places to stay at when visiting Launceston are: The Sebel Hotel, Peppers Seaport Hotel, Country Club (includes the Casino), Quest Serviced Apartments and Areca Boutique Hotel. There are also plenty of cheaper hotels and backpackers around the city for visitors on a more restricted budget.
A list of my favourite restaurants in Launceston:
- Cataract on Paterson
- Jailhouse Grill
- Buddha Thai
- Penny Royal Restaurant and Bar
- The Calabrisella Italian Restaurant
As well as the fantastic restaurants in the city of Launceston, there are many great vineyards that line the outskirts. My all-time favourite, is Josef Chromy’s. The beautiful vineyard is a 20-minute drive away from the CBD, in Relbia. The drive is well worth it for the incredible award winning food and delicious cool climate wines.
Best Café’s to visit in Launceston:
I love Maple on Abbott Street; Aroma’s and Café Mondello, both on Charles Street; and Inside café on Paterson Street. Relish on Arthur Street in East Launceston is a community favourite. Cuccina in West Launceston also comes highly recommended by locals.
If you’re a walker, make sure you stroll the short distance around the city. Launceston is only small and in three hours, maximum, you could see some of the most beautiful, natural parts of Tasmania on foot.
Some of the best attractions around Launceston:
The Cataract Gorge is five-minute drive and a fifteen-minute walk outside the city of Launceston. The gorge hosts a number of walking tracks, a restaurant, a café, the world’s longest single span chairlift, peacocks and other wildlife and beautiful gardens.
The Cataract Gorge is a unique natural formation and is a must see on any visit to Launceston.
The City Park is home to the Japanese Snow Monkeys, that were given to Launceston by sister city, Osaka, Japan. The monkeys are an unusual addition, but make the park so much more interesting and fun for the kids. The native and imported flora is glorious all year round. This time of year, the leaves falling from the trees line the footpaths and create a beautiful noise as people walk by. The park is such a beautiful asset to the city.
The Seaport is another to-do when visiting Launceston. The old dry-port has been renovated into a beautiful hotel and several great restaurants. The fresh fish and chips, local produce and great outdoor dining options is a winner for locals and visitors all year round.
The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, The Launceston Ghost Tours, The Design Centre and the Nature Parks that showcase the Tasmanian Devils and other Australian animals are well worth a visit.
If you’ve got more than a weekend to spare, Northern Tasmania has a lot more to offer.
George Town, the first settlement in Tasmania by the Europeans is a forty-minute drive up the Tamar River from Launceston. The town has a huge amount of history to explore and learn about.
Deloraine is situated in the Valley and is well known for it’s arts and crafts community. There are many more Vineyards down the Tamar River. The Raspberry Farm, The Lavender Farm ‘Bridestowe’ and the Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory in the state’s North-West are all places that deserve the drive to visit them. You won’t be disappointed.
Beautiful historic estates like Entally House, Franklin House and Clarendon House are situated in various locations around Northern Tasmania and were the primary residences for many wealthy members of the public in the early settlement days. All of these homesteads are accessible to the public and have a fantastic visitor programs.
The Scenic drives around the state are something many people come from all over the world to see, especially to Cradle Mountain, Liffey Falls, The Walls of Jeruselum and for many other bush walks.
The idyllic setting of Northern Tasmania will satisfy those of history enthusiasts to nature lovers. It’s an Island waiting to be explored.
Below are a few of my favourite Instagram pages that showcase how beautiful the Island State is: