A historic town with easy charm, gateway to a premier wine region
Launceston’s stately historic streetscapes are home to a town of modern refinement with a gourmet twist. On the doorstep of the Tamar Valley wine region, Launceston is a natural hub for great food experiences, with some of the state’s best dining, quality natural produce and artisanal creators stocking creative cafés and restaurants around the region.
Artists and craft makers flock here for the relaxed vibe and easy access to natural beauty, giving the town a relaxed creative vibe – find their galleries and studios around town (or time your visit for the Junction Arts Festival to see Launceston at its creative best).
You’re only a hop away from Tasmania’s wilderness here – get a taste at Cataract Gorge, just out of the city, or go a little further afield to Narawntapu National Park with its abundant wildlife, or Mt William National Park with its sparkling granite boulders and long sandy beaches.
Things to do
Local food and wine
Join the locals every Saturday at Harvest Farmers’ Market as they stock their larders direct from local farmers and producers, with everything from fresh local seafood and summer berries to cider and artisanal dairy products. Paddock-to-plate is natural when you’re situated amidst such abundance, and Launceston’s thriving dining scene reflects the regional bounty. Book a special occasion meal at Stillwater to sample contemporary Tasmanian cuisine, or take your tastebuds on a tour of the city’s top-notch restaurants, cafés and food trucks.
Launceston is a cultural hotspot with venues to pique the interest of any artistic type. Design Tasmania is an edgy design hub that’s been promoting inventive Tasmanian designs to the world since 1976; view the wood collection, then browse the shop for an example to take home. Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery boasts history and natural science collections and an extensive colonial art section. Gallery 81 is a local artist’s showpiece, filled with landscape paintings and housing a boutique wine bar with sweeping views.
Find wilderness just a 15-minute walk from Launceston’s city centre at Cataract Gorge Reserve. A favourite local spot for picnics and barbeques, the park has walking trails, a suspension bridge, the world's longest single-span chairlift, a swimming pool, restaurant, café and panoramic lookouts with spectacular views. This popular urban playground includes both manicured Victorian gardens and wild bushland, so peacocks and wallabies can live side by side.
Launceston’s colonial and early Victorian streetscapes are among the country’s most intact – pick up a map from the Visitor Information Centre opens in new window and take a self-guided tour. Outside the city, historic homesteads offer a vivid glimpse of rural colonial life. Woolmers Estate opens in new window, a pioneer farm of the early 1800s, is a time capsule of heritage treasures. At Clarendon Estate opens in new window, a grand Georgian Regency pile stunningly set on the South Esk River, you can explore a seven-hectare colonial complex where the heritage walled gardens, stone barn and other outbuildings were built by convicts.
One of the prettiest spots in Tasmania and one of Australia’s premier wine regions, the Tamar Valley is a perfect day trip. The Tamar Valley Wine Route visits over 30 wineries producing cold climate Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and the best sparkling wines this side of Champagne. The cellar door experience, with gourmet food and stunning views, is something special – make sure to stop at Josef Chromy, Clover Hill and Tamar Ridge. You can also visit lavender fields, pick fresh strawberries on a local farm, or take a cruise on the Tamar River.
Distance to city centre 15km
Taxi A taxi into Launceston will take around 15 minutes and cost about AUD $35-40.
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When to go
Launceston has a cool, mild climate with four very distinct seasons. Geographically situated in the Tamar Valley in northern Tasmania, it’s in hilly and mountainous terrain, so the weather can change markedly across a short period. Layered clothing is essential.
Choose your preferred climate: Launceston is chilly in winter, pleasant in summer. The warmest months are January and February with an average temperature ranging from 12–24°C. The coldest month is July, with an average temperature range of 2–13°C. Launceston rarely receives snowfall.
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