Cataract Gorge, Launceston TAS - Bridge

One Day in Launceston Tasmania

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Whether you choose to fly or float across the Bass Strait into Tasmania, Launceston is a city you shouldn’t miss, even if you only have one day in Launceston.

Tasmania settled in its current position in 1806 and is the second city of Tasmania on the banks of what is now the Tamar River. By the early 1820s, the town had become an important export center for the local pastoral industry. In addition to breweries and mills being established with many buildings still in existence today.

Many of the local cafes and restaurants not only take pride in the foods they produce but their support for local produce and producers. From the a la carte breakfast at Grain of Silos where the food is incredible, as well as offering some of the best coffee in town.

Before exploring the city in the morning, whether it’s a trip along the Tamar River or one of the walks around Cataract Gorge the landscape is a joy to see.

How to Spend One Day in Launceston, Tasmania from a Local’s Perspective

Advice on how to spend one day in Launceston, Tasmania from a local’s perspective. Go beyond the best things to do in Launceston and discover the local favorites.

Morning

Harvest Market on the Weekend or Cafe during the Week

Activities can vary depending on the time of the week you are in Launceston, though if your 24 hours in Launceston falls on the weekend a visit to the Harvest Market (08:30 am -12:30 pm) is a great place to start the day and gather some delightful Tasmanian produce. The range is diverse, straight from the farm or producer to you, fresh vegetables, cheeses, processed meats as well as fermented foods to delight every palate. An interesting fact about Launceston was that it was designated as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy in 2021. You will find that the people in Launceston are passionate about local produce, from seed and paddock to plate and beyond.

As an alternative for a great breakfast or brunch option head to the Boatyard located on the Tamar or Cuccina Café on the way to Cataract Gorge. The Grain of Silos and Sebel Hotel also each offer amazing al la carte breakfast menus, before starting your 24 hours in Launceston and exploring CBD.

Explore the CBD

When spending one day in Launceston City, one of the best things to do is to take a historical walk and follow in the footsteps of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Start from City Park, which is a charming green space within the city to explore on its own. Be sure to visit the monkeys before leaving City Park, their antics are delightful, gifted to Launceston by its sister city Ikeda, Japan.

The walk concludes at the Queen Victoria Art Gallery, where you can see a variety of Art displays some limited by time and others permanent exhibits. A selection of the permanent exhibits includes The First Tasmanians, exploring the history and culture of the Tasmanian Indigenous communities. Here you can also visit the Guan Di Temple, remnants of history from the Chinese communities that came to mine North East Tasmania.

Cataract Gorge

Spend part of your one day in Launceston at Cataract Gorge, Launceston TAS - Bridge
Cataract Gorge, Launceston TAS – Bridge

Another great way to spend a morning in Launceston is to visit Cataract Gorge located just 1.5 kilometers from the city center. At Cataract Gorge you can explore the area with one of the walks across the zig-zag track or visit Duck Reach station. Or you can take the longest single-span chairlift in the world spanning 308 meters!

Alternative Options

If looking to go further in the morning, take a day trip and be delighted by the local monotremes at Platypus House around Beauty Point. History buffs may want to include a trip out to Beaconsfield Gold Mine with interactive displays of gold mining life in Tasmania.

Afternoon

Lunch at Boatyard or the James Boag Brewery

Afternoon activities and lunch options can vary depending on which end of the city you are finishing morning activities or where you plan to head for the afternoon during your one day in Launceston. If you missed the Boatyard for breakfast, it’s a great place to have lunch. Before a walk along the Tamar River where you can embark on a cruise along the Tamar River. Other great options for lunch include the James Boag Brewery Bar serving up snacks for one, pizza, and share platters.

Enjoy your lunch before taking one of the afternoon tours (13:00 & 15:00), where you can immerse yourself in the history of Tasmania’s purest beer. Created using the ethos of the clean clear waters of Tasmania and the finest of local ingredients. Today is no different at the brewery than it was in the late 1800s, clear clean Tasmanian water and quality hops and barley.

Queen Victoria Museum

Another option for your one day in Launceston includes a visit to the Queen Victoria Museum at Inveresk, like its sister the QVAG. The museum has permanent and temporary exhibits, it’s always prudent to check before going. Two of the permanent exhibits include “The Blacksmiths Shop”, a series of buildings that were once maintenance shed for the old tram (and train) as well as “The Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus): precious little remains” exhibit, including photos, old film footage and rare remains of the Thylacinus cynocephalus.

Wine Tasting in the Tamar Valley

Tamar Valley - 24 hours in Launceston Tasmania
Tamar Valley

If going further afield, exploring some of the areas award-winning wineries of the Tamar Valley with three separate areas you are spoilt for choice. With some only 10 mins west of town, traveling along the Tamar River it’s a great way to spend an afternoon during your 24 hours in Launceston. Explore further north into the Tamar Valley, for some of Australia’s best sparkling. Alternatively, 15mins East has you at the Relbia wineries. Enjoy lunch at Josef Chromy’s and a winery tour after, the perfect way to end a day. Along the wineries route you will also stumble across some distilleries with award-winning whisky and gin.

Evening

Enjoy a One of the Many Delicious Restaurants in Launceston

As your one day in Launceston winds to an end you are probably getting a bit hungry again. Spread amongst the streets of Launceston are some of the fine restaurants, offering a great variation in cuisines. For an amazing Italian meal visit Stelo’s at Pierre’s. If you prefer some Indian, Pickled Evenings has a great menu. If you are partial to Asian cuisine, Buddha Thai whilst small is beyond delicious, and Kosaten has a fantastic Japanese menu. For seafood Rupert & Hound and Cataract on Paterson have a great selection, the latter also has the most impressive desserts and monthly high teas. For classic a la carte you can’t go past Stillwater and Grain of the Silos, overlooking the river or the Bluestone Bar in the Sebel.

Check Out One of the Many Bars in Launceston

There are some great bars in the area to finish off your 24 hours in Launceston, these include The Kingsway (on The Kingsway). This small bar tucked away behind the main street has a great selection of Tasmanian spirits, wine, and beer that can be enjoyed in a relaxed atmosphere. Another option is St Johns Craft Beer Bar (on St Johns Street), with 17 taps showcasing the best international, Australian, and Tasmanian craft beers. For spirit drinkers, St Johns Bar also carries a selective range of spirits and wine.

THE RIVER TAMAR. Nikon D3100. DSC_0246
THE RIVER TAMAR. Nikon D3100. DSC_0246

Be Entertained in Launceston

For a cultural experience the Theatre North, which includes the Princess Theatre and Earl Art Centre, has a diverse selection of entertainment throughout the year. Here you can see various, stage productions, comedy, ballet, and a variety of musical productions.

For something a bit different venture into Cinco Passiones, a libation lounge bar overlooking Brisbane Street just up from the Theatre (bookings recommended). With a unique cocktail menu in addition to featuring Tasmanian whisky and sparkling wine. Here you can also find great coffee and fine cigars with tasting plates available of local cheese and charcuterie.

Tips for Spending One Day in Hobart

How to Get to Launceston

Launceston is only a 15min drive from the Launceston airport with taxis, shuttle buses, or private drivers available for transfers of all flights. Alternatively, you can catch the Spirit of Tasmania from Geelong to Devonport and drive your own vehicle (50mins) to Launceston.

How to Get around Launceston

Once in the Launceston CBD, you will discover it’s a very walkable city with easy walking access to many main attractions.

Where to Stay in Launceston

Whether it’s just a classic room, a suite, or an apartment, there is something for all tastes, many are set in heritage-listed buildings. Some of the most sumptuous hotels in Launceston can be found along the Tamar River.

Stillwater Seven

Stillwater “Seven” offers a truly luxurious place to stay, from the moment you enter, your room exudes opulence, housed on the Tamar River in one of the original mills built. These seven rooms are above the award-winning Stillwater restaurant, a truly delightful place to eat.

Peppers Silo Hotel

Across the river Peppers Silo Hotel is housed in the old grain silos of the 1960s, overlooking Tamar River Basin, with a variety of room styles to choose from. Exclusive tours from Unique Charters are also available from the hotel.

Penny Royal Hotel

Alternatively, stay in one of the rooms or suites at the Penny Royal Hotel, where you have access to the Penny Royal Adventures and enjoy a drink or meal at Brady’s Tavern or the Kings Bridge Bar & Restaurant, which is just down the road.

Best Time of Year to Visit Launceston Tasmania

The best time to visit Launceston greatly depends on your interests, with a variety of main events throughout the year.

For some of the best food from around the northern part of the state, consider visiting during Festivale which is held in mid-February showcasing the region’s premium produce.

Another great event is Effervescence in November where you can sample some of Australia’s most-awarded sparkling wines.

MONA FOMA, the summer version of the Hobart event Dark MOFO, is held in Launceston at various venues every February.

As the months get colder you will find events around Launceston, as Tasmania celebrates “The OFF Season”, including the Winter Solstice Party at Evandale’s, Clarendon Arms. The city also shares events with Hobart’s, Whisky Week in August, where the spotlight is on the fine whisky distilleries, of northern Tasmania sharing their latest bottlings and old favorites to sample.

Whether you are coming to Tasmania in winter or summer, as a cold climate region of Australia. It is always recommended to pack a coat as the weather here can be somewhat unpredictable.

Happy traveling!

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