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10 reasons why you need to visit Launceston

Kerry at Cataract Gorge. IMAGE: Kevin Gordon


10 reasons why you need to visit Launceston

When KERRY HEANEY visited one of the world’s greatest food regions she brought back news of some very quirky, unique and artful experiences.

Tasmania’s newest UNESCO City of Gastronomy has half the population of Hobart but has won recognition as one of the world’s great food regions.

Surrounded by fertile land and an abundant sea, Launceston’s paddock to plate culture has spawned diverse food experiences. Expect to discover urbane dining, quirky bars and cafes, an enviable farmers market, and a region filled with truffle growing and berry farming.

It’s also a walkable city filled with cute Victorian streetscapes, designer homeware shops, art galleries. There are gorges to walk and food trails to follow.

In less than 20 minutes’ drive from the city heart, you can relax in an artfully designed vineyard sipping a premium local wine.

Here are 10 reasons you should visit Launceston, Tasmania’s largest northern city.

Breakfast in a flour mill

Built in the 1830s as a flour mill, the thick timbered walls of Stillwater provide a warm rustic dining charm that complements the wide stretch of the River Tamar outside. The contemporary menu runs from breakfast to dinner with dining inside or alfresco on umbrella-shaded tables. Browse the seasonally inspired breakfast menu for gems such as thick-cut ham from local Mount Gnomon Farm topped with hollandaise and vinegar. Or lash out with a rye waffle adorned with cold-smoked Huon salmon and a mustard crème fraiche.

Walkthrough a gorge

It is an easy walk into the gorge as you stroll along a path that looks down onto the South Esk River. A swimming pool at First Basin is a favourite spot for locals. Still, it’s a different type of local, exotically plumed peacocks that rule in the Victorian garden on the shady south side of the gorge. For an alternate view, ride the chairlift over the vast natural basin, which spans 457 metres, believed to be the longest single chairlift span in the world.

Hot coals and smoke

Sample the flavour-filled menu at Timbre, where the food is cooked with the assistance of hot coals and smoke. Located alongside Velo Vineyard and Cellar Door, Timbre is well-loved by locals. Although the menu is a moveable feast, you’ll always find the comfort of wood oven grilled cheese with granny Jean’s mustard pickle.

Stroll the CBD

Spend the afternoon browsing through Launceston’s quirky CBD, where old Victorian-style shop fronts mix with seriously tempting homewares, art galleries and food emporiums. Must-stops are the National Trust Old Umbrella Shop and Gourlay’s Sweet Shop, where you should try a classic Launceston acid drop lolly. Don’t miss the Design Centre Tasmania and the Waverly Woollen Mills Factory Outlet. Walk off your lollies with a wander through Launceston City Park which has a Japanese Macaque Monkey enclosure.

Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery

The Queen Victoria Art Gallery at Royal Park houses Launceston’s impressive contemporary and traditional art collection. At Inveresk, the natural science and history collection is where you’ll see the last remains of a Tasmanian tiger.

Grain of the Silos

Grain of the Silos is an onsite restaurant that has a heavy focus on supporting local farmers and producers. Start with a snack of raw salmon on a wasabi leaf or a pulled pork croquette. Follow with tender, crisp fried potato gnocchi with mushrooms and shavings of fresh truffle and the ethically raised Scottsdale pork chops with their sweet, tender meat and crisp crackling. Finish your evening with drinks in the Peppers Silo lounge.

Stillwater Seven room view over the Tamar River. IMAGE: Kerry Heaney

Market shopping

According to locals, the Launceston Harvest Market is the place you plan to go to and where you make plans. This popular Saturday morning Harvest Market opens from 8.30 am, and there are plenty of places to eat before browsing the stalls.

Follow the wine trail

The Tamar Wine Route has many gems, but a visit to the rammed earth cellar door at Clover Hill is hard to beat for champagne lovers. The relaxed vibe of their cellar door is complemented by expansive views over rolling green hills on the 66-hectare property overlooking the Bass Strait.

Taste a seasonal breakfast

The highly seasonal breakfast at Bryher in George Street includes gems such as black pudding scotch egg and a Bryher rarebit filled with Pyengana cheddar and topped with Morrison Ale béchamel. Fill any tummy gaps with their immensely popular doughnut pastries. Bryher’s quirky interior is filled with collectables, but you’ll be collecting jams and preserves to take from the house-made selection.

You can’t miss Evandale

Pretty as a picture, Evandale is one of the best-preserved historic towns in Australia, with some buildings dating back to 1809. Wander the streets, check out the shops and galleries, and stop for a drink and early dinner in the cozy Clarendon Arms. Then, it’s just a six-minute drive to the airport for your trip home.


Kerry Heaney

Compelling content creator, freelance travel and food writer, social media influencer, and blogger travelling the world bite by bite.

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