It’s a bit ridiculous just how much natural beauty surrounds Launceston. All within close proximity of the city too. This list barely touches the base of the mountain and you could get lost in the wilderness for days, if not weeks. Here are four great things to do in gorgeous Launceston.
Every local I meet directs me to Cataract Gorge Reserve; a favourite for picnics, swimming, mini-treks or riding the chairlift. As long as I focus through my camera lens on the rocky natural basin below dotted with jumping wallabies and preening peacocks, and not on my feet dangling over the edge of the chairlift, it’s all good.
I’m not a fan of heights but I soldier on following the pathway along the cliff face to brave Alexandra Suspension Bridge and thankful for the sign “Please do not swing the bridge.”
Incoming power walkers completely disrupt my equilibrium but all is forgiven as it’s so spectacular even on this rainy day. It’s one of the best things to do in Launceston.
Originally called the People’s Park and established in 1820 for the enjoyment of the residents from the surrounding Victorian terraces, City Park is still cherished today. Surprisingly, it’s also home to the resident Macaque Monkeys, a gift from Launceston’s sister city Ikeda in Osaka.
With the background chimes of Big Ben accompanying the city’s hum and the magnificent mature trees bursting with the colours of autumn, I can almost imagine I’m visiting England.
Fancy a match of oversized chess, a civilised cup of tea in the café, a stroll through the John Hart Conservatory, a gander of the duck pond, a push on the swing or wander through the City Park Radio museum embraced by Australia’s oldest wisteria planted in 1837?
Even if you’re not in town for one of the park’s cultural events like Music in the Park or Festivale, Tasmania’s premier gourmet event, you could easily while away the hours with all that’s on offer including Design Tasmania hovering on its edge.
Get a different perspective of the old growth forest in Hollybank Reserve. Fly through the air on a zipline through the forest canopy between the platforms aptly named cloud stations.
As if the smell of Eucalyptus and fear (of heights) wasn’t exciting enough; take a night flight with the river below flooded in lights and illuminated cloud stations guiding your way.
Returning to solid ground, there are 20 kilometres of mountain bike trails, picnic grounds and walking tracks to explore like the Walk of Change. Or whizz along the forest floor on a Segway Personal Transporter.
Don’t worry, all the guidance you could ever need is provided during the two-hour tour. It’s surprisingly easy and it’s all in the feet. Roll forward onto the balls of your feet to accelerate and lean back on your heels to slow down.
It’s so much fun that by the end of the tour you’ll have probably enquired about buying your own Segway. P.S. they cost $10,000 each.
4-Tamar Valley Wine region
I could go on and on about the many award-winning wineries of the Tamar Valley, but connoisseurs would have already done their homework on one of the top wine routes of Australia. After all, the Tamar Valley Wine Region dates back to the mid 1800’s and is the country’s oldest wine producing region.
Winding 170km along three main routes, The River, Relbia and Pipers River, the region shares the same cool climate and soil characteristics as the premium wine growing regions of France. Famed for its Pinot, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer, take your time picking your favourite out of the 32 wineries, although Dalrymple Estate, Tamar Ridge and Jansz are popular.
Josef Chromy is famed for its Pepik Sekt and perfect for a picnic; the grounds certainly have no shortage of picturesque spots to lay your blanket.
More things to do further afield:
Drive or take the shuttle bus to Low Head at sunset for the nightly Fairy Penguin parade.
The iconic Cradle Mountain entices trekkers for the day, overnight or the experienced on the infamous Overland Track. The ancient rainforest, icy streams, birdlife and magnificent vistas should certainly fill your Instagram feed.
Golfers won’t want to miss the two challenging courses at Barnbougle designed to emulate the ruggedness of the Scottish landscape. Golfing widows will be kept busy with the nearby wineries, eateries, outdoor activities and day spa.
The jaw-dropping Bay of Fires is a blaze of turquoise, white and orange for campers, boating enthusiasts, swimmers, surfers, bird watchers, walking enthusiasts and lovers of natural beauty.
Carmen Jenner was a guest of Tourism Tasmania