How to have the ultimate weekend in Launceston

Fabulous food, scenery and cultural attractions have put the charming riverside city on the map. Here's your guide to the perfect Tasmanian mini-break.

Launceston has all the ingredients for a perfect weekend away
  • Alexis Buxton-Collins
  • April 2019
Brought to you by Launceston Airport

Tasmania’s second largest city after Hobart, Launceston has so much to offer that you won’t know where to start exploring. Here are a few suggestions to get you going…

Start with coffee at Sweetbrew

For a great start to the day, find a cosy nook inside or grab a seat out front and watch Launceston awaken. Sweetbrew take their coffee seriously, 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.

Rise and shine with Launceston's best coffee at Sweetbrew
Rise and shine with Launceston's best coffee at Sweetbrew.

Join a heritage walking tour

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. Take a walking tour across Launceston’s green spaces and well-preserved warehouses, hotels and public buildings, and hear their fascinating stories, on one of three wheelchair-accessible walking trails.

Browse artisan pieces by local artists

Celebrating contemporary forms and design from around the island, the art at Design Tasmania 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.

Design Tasmania stock modern artisanal homewares
Design Tasmania stock modern artisanal homewares.

Pick up a quirky souvenir

Entering the 1860s Old Umbrella Shop 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.

Visit the 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.

The QVMAG is home to a massive collection of all things art and science
The QVMAG is home to a massive collection of all things art and science.

Dine at 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: while the tempting plates of European-inspired dishes are designed to share, they’re so good you may want to keep them all for yourself.

Drink at Saint John Craft Beer Bar

With almost 200 options, it’s easy to be mesmerised by the wall of beer on display at Saint John. 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.

Try a local brew or two at Saint John Craft Beer Bar
Try a local brew or two at Saint John Craft Beer Bar.

Sleepover in cool digs

The neat TwoFourTwo boutique apartments are filled with local artworks. If you plan on using the kitchen, you’ll have to resist the temptation of the great cafés and restaurants right on the doorstep. Meanwhile, Peppers Silo Hotel takes industrial chic to new levels. This hotel is housed in four former grain silos so 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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