Launceston, Tasmania, travel guide and things to do: Nine must-do highlights

Ella Castle

Launceston Cataract Gorge & First Basin – Launceston’s own piece of wilderness just 15 minutes walk from the city centre. tra18-launceston Image supplied by Tourism Tasmania, approved for Traveller use only – print and online. Note credit requirements Mandatory credit: Jarrad Seng Photo: Jarrad Seng Tasmania’s “second city” gives the state […]

Tasmania’s “second city” gives the state capital a run when it comes to food, wine, produce and its outstanding natural features.

THE ONE WINE BAR

Havilah wine bar is the creation of winemaker Ricky Evans and business partner and former Tourism Tasmania marketing executive Chanel Parratt. Evans is behind the wine label Two Tonne Tasmania and it gets a good run at Havilah, but there’s plenty more on the wine list. Some people go off-piste, they go “off-liste” and use a big roll of butcher’s paper to let drinkers know of daily treats available “until the bottle runs dry”. Like the owners, the interior is relaxed but polished and for sustenance, there’s a strong charcuterie offering as well as cheese from Europe and Tasmania and other fresh local produce. On Sundays, the bar also operates as a cellar door for wine-tastings.

178 Charles Street; see havilahwine.com.au

THE ONE RESTAURANT

In a state with such excellent ingredients (see the market below) it’s no surprise accomplished chefs and restaurateurs find themselves here. Launceston’s Stillwater, Mudbar and Geronimo are outstanding restaurants, but for something fresh, try Pachinko in the Quadrant Mall for a Tasmanian take on mainly Japanese food (Pachinko is a Japanese arcade or gaming machine). The interior is smart and the menu clever. Lamb ribs, not something you’re likely to find in Tokyo, are a sensation with fall-apart meat in a crumbed and lightly fried case. Oysters, tofu, quail and fresh greens also shine.

23 Quadrant Mall. See pachinko.net.au

THE ONE MARKET

Tasmania rightfully claims the mantle for fresh, pure, high-quality produce and it’s on display every Saturday (8.30am to 12.30pm) when an innocuous city car park is transformed into the Harvest Launceston Community Farmers’ Market. Save breakfast for the market, there’s excellent coffee and sweet treats or savouries  such as Afghan bolani pockets. There’ll be a queue for the sourdough, but it’s worth the wait, and you can fill your bags with fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood. Check the website for a list of stall-holders and confirmation they’ll be attending.

71 Cimitiere Street. See harvestmarket.org.au

THE ONE PARK

This is a park with the lot – conservatory, play areas, picnic facilities, fountain and vast stretches of lawn with huge heritage trees for shade. And monkeys. Yes, macaques, or Japanese snow monkeys in an enclosure complete with caves, climb-and-play features, and a moat. All of this is free of charge. 

See launceston.tas.gov.au

THE ONE WALK

This walk can start anywhere along the waterfront. Follow the Cataract Walk track up along the South Esk River and into the remarkable Cataract Gorge. There are various loops and options; keep moving beside the rushing river and look for the Duck Reach power station – one of the world’s earliest hydro power stations.

See parks.tas.gov.au

THE ONE PUBLIC POOL

Having made your way to the Cataract Gorge, lets assume its a sparkling sunny day, so make sure you have your swimwear with you for a dip in an azure pool on green lawns with the features of the Gorge all around. Excellent public toilets and changing facilities here, as there are throughout Launceston’s parks.

See launcestoncataractgorge.com.au

THE ONE CAFE

Perhaps it goes with a cooler climate – Melbourne, Christchurch, Launceston – the coffee is invariably good. Wander along Charles Street and you’ll get a good caffeine fix at any window or bar, but head down to George Street to Alberto’s Espresso for classy coffee, along with sweet and savoury treats. 

94 George Street

THE ONE HOTEL

Peppers Silo Hotel sits a stroll across the river from the CBD and is a restoration of four ​35-metre-high barrels that were once grain silos. The silos have been halved, so each room has a straight and a curved wall. The Gorge River rooms are spacious with big views over the waterways. A new north tower holds more rooms and reception areas. There’s a gym on site, a couple of bars and the restaurant, Grain. The hotel has a resident black labrador – take Archie for a walk and be surprised at who’ll stop for a chat. The new kid on the block in Launceston is the Hotel Verge, opened mid-September on Tamar Street, opposite City Park. At Peppers Silo, rooms start at $189.

89-91 Lindsay Street, Invermay. See peppers.com.au/silo

THE ONE STORE

Left your hat at home? Forgotten your flannel? Need some work-wear because you so fell in love with Tasmania you’ve bought a farm and won’t be leaving? Allgoods, true to name, is a one-stop outfitting shop, with creaking timber boards and staff with a smile. Make your way into this inspired, old-school emporium and start at the top, surrounded by the camping and adventure gear, wander through the hats and clothes and then step down to footwear for a fine selection of boots including Tasmania’s own Blundstones (no longer made in the state, it has to be said).

Corner St John and York streets. See allgoods.com.au

ONE MORE THING

Launceston is an excellent base to explore sights and highlights nearby,  such as the heritage village of Evandale, or historic farms Brickendon and Woolmers at Longford. If wine  is your thing, then Josef Chromy at Relbia, near the airport, is a standout, or you simply head up the Tamar Valley and be spoilt for choice. There are plenty of wine tours if you want someone else to do the driving.

See discovertasmania.com.au

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