Best way to spend a weekend in Launceston, Tasmania

No wonder everyone is talking about Launceston – fabulous food, picturesque scenery and vibrant cultural attractions have put the riverside city on the map.

First Basin on the South Esk River in Launceston.
  • Jetstar
  • February 2020

As the gateway to Northern Tassie, Launceston is a great launching point to all the best food, hikes and drives the island has to offer. If you’re looking to spend a leisurely weekend in town, however, you’ll find there’s plenty do, from checking out its many heritage sites to tasting the amazing local cuisine and craft brews. Here are some of the best ways to spend a weekend in Launceston.

Eat and drink

Geronimo

This stylish aperitivo bar and restaurant is the perfect spot for a pre-dinner drink but it’s also worth staying for the menu that makes the most of abundant local produce. Be warned, though: the tempting plates of European-inspired dishes are designed to share but they’re so good you may want to keep them all for yourself.

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People dining in Launceston cafe, Sweetbrew.
Start the day with a great cup of coffee in Sweetbrew.

Sweetbrew

For a great start to the day, find a cosy nook inside or grab a seat out front and watch Launceston awaken. They take their coffee seriously here, with several options including a great cold brew and a rotating single origin. Enjoy it with a pastry or one of the colourful vegetarian brunch choices.

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Patrons sit at a bench facing a street window in a bar.
Saint John features six taps of craft beer that are always changing.

Saint John craft beer bar

With almost 200 options, it’s easy to be mesmerised by the wall of beer on display at this cool bar. It’s the first thing you notice upon entering, followed by the passionate bartenders who are more than happy to help you navigate the exceptionally long menu. Get acquainted with Tasmanian brews or something from further afield. Peckish? In the evenings, you can buy tasty morsels from their street-food van parked outside.

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See and do

Launceston heritage walks

The city’s magnificent early colonial and Georgian architecture has remained largely unchanged for more than a century. The best way to appreciate Launceston’s majestic buildings is the same way the early settlers did – on foot. Three wheelchair-accessible walking trails take in Launceston’s green spaces and well-preserved warehouses, hotels and public buildings. Each has its own fascinating story.

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Old umbrella shop

Entering this 1860s building is like stepping into a time capsule. For three generations, the Shott family helped to shelter Launceston locals from the elements and the shop still features original Victorian-era fittings. Today there’s a collection of umbrellas on display and for sale, as well as a range of locally made souvenirs.

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Wooden objects in the gallery at Design Tasmania
The Design Centre is Australia's only museum of contemporary wood design. (Photo: Emily Dimozantos)

Design Tasmania

Celebrating contemporary forms and design from around the island, Design Tasmania’s art is not just for hanging on walls and admiring from afar. Pieces created using Tasmanian timber take centre stage in the gallery and the adjoining shop is packed with hand-made jewellery, ceramics, glasswork and woodwork crafted by local artisans.

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Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery

You could spend many hours wandering around this local favourite, which is spread over two buildings connected by the free Tiger Bus. Colonial paintings and shipwreck artefacts jostle for space with an intact Chinese temple and blacksmith shop, but perhaps the most moving exhibits are those dedicated to Tasmania’s Indigenous inhabitants and the thylacine – commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger, which is now sadly extinct.

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Great stays

TWOFOURTWO

These neat boutique apartments are filled with local artworks and lit by lovely natural light. If you plan on using the kitchen, you’ll have to resist the temptation of the great cafés and restaurants right on the doorstep.

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Peppers Silo Hotel

Taking industrial chic to new levels, this hotel is housed in four former grain silos. Rooms have curved concrete walls and expansive river views. Plus, newspapers are delivered each morning by Archie, the resident black labrador.

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