Located on the banks of the Tamar River, Launceston is the second-largest city in the state of Tasmania. Despite its small stature, the city has some nice colonial architecture and a lively arts and food scene. This post will help you list some of the best destinations in Launceston.
Best Destinations in Launceston
1. Cataract Gorge
One of the best destinations in Launceston is Cataract Gorge. Sculpted by the South Esk River, Cataract Gorge lies only 15 minutes on foot from the center of Launceston. On both sides of the steep gorge, walking trails from the 1890s skirt the cliff face, providing panoramic views of the river far below. To reach the top, hop aboard the world’s longest single-span chairlift. Kings Bridge also offers excellent views.
South of the river is a café and a sparkling swimming pool, which is a lovely spot for a dip on a warm day. On the northern side, at Cliff Grounds, you can see colorful peacocks and friendly wallabies in the fern-fringed Victorian garden. For a glimpse of the sheer cliffs and cascades from the water level, hop aboard a river cruise.
2. Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery
Launceston is home to the largest museum in Australia not to be set in a state capital. This has two locations, at the Royal Park Art Gallery from 1891, and the industry-oriented railway workshop from the 1870s at Inveresk.
At the former, you can peruse art and objects from the colonial era, as well as contemporary design.
An enthralling exhibit at this location is a complete Chinese temple, built in the 1880s by migrant tin miners and replete with artifacts relating to the Chinese community that moved to northeast Tasmania for work.
The Inveresk site is a fun miscellany, showing off the contents of Australia’s oldest merchant shipwreck, dinosaur fossils, historic aircraft, Tasmanian natural history specimens, and genuine death masks, and complete with a working planetarium.
3. City Park
City Park is home to a clutch of popular tourist attractions and pleasant picnic nooks. You can visit the Japanese macaques in a small enclosure; admire the plants in the conservatory; and browse the exhibits in the City Park Radio Museum, housed in a beautiful old heritage house.
Walking paths wind around the park past the main sites, including a duck pond and the elegant Jubilee Fountain. Children will love the play area and the little train, which often chugs around the park.
Also here, Albert Hall was built for the Tasmanian International Exhibition of 1891. It’s now a cultural center, used for concerts and exhibitions.
4. Tamar Island Wetlands
A 10-minute drive from the center of Launceston, Tamar Island Wetlands is a haven for nature lovers-especially birders. First stop should be the interpretation center, where you can learn about the history of the Tamar River, the wetlands ecosystems, and the resident wildlife.
After browsing the displays, stroll along the boardwalks and admire the lovely views of the Tamar River with its tranquil lagoons. Black swans, great egrets, ducks, swallows, and pelicans are frequently spotted, as well as frogs and snakes (in summer). Pademelons (small marsupials) often peek out from the fringing grasslands.
5. Alexandra Suspension Bridge
About ten minutes from the car park at Cataract Gorge you’ll come to this handsome suspension bridge first completed in 1904. The bridge is 67 meters long and reinforced by two steel towers on either side of the gorge.
That first bridge was washed away by floods in 1929 then reconstructed in 1955 and retooled in 2004 to celebrate its centenary. There are information boards recounting the bridge’s history.
Walking the span, there’s a supreme view along the gorge and over the First Basin to the north.
The way is narrow but wide enough for two people to pass side-by-side, though you may notice some swaying.
6. Lilydale Falls
A simple but rewarding excursion from Launceston, Lilydale Falls is on the Second River in the countryside to the north of the city. There are actually two waterfalls in the reserve, tumbling into mossy, fern-wreathed pools and accessed via stairs and viewing platforms.
The lower waterfall is the taller of the pair, at just shy of ten meters, while a trail will lead you up to the second one, at around five meters tall. Both continue to flow in years with low rainfall and are made more picturesque by their lush wooded surroundings.
The hike will take under an hour and can be done by families, while the reserve is equipped with barbecue facilities and a children’s playground.