Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans - John Lennon
Published May 31st 2014
Not sure where to start for your Launceston trip? Read this
In my previous article about Hobart, I mentioned that we took the Redline coach to Launceston, which took about 2.5 hours. The other option is to drive.
We arrived in Launceston at around 8.30pm on a Sunday, and to be honest Launceston was quite different from what we expected. We could not detect any signs of a nightlife in Launceston. Most restaurants were closed by then and we were starving. But luckily we managed to get takeaway from Pickled Evenings just before it closed. We were lucky that we found a restaurant that served really good Indian food!
The hotel we stayed at was Balmoral on York. For $45 per person a night, it was great value for money. The exterior of the hotel looked a bit dated, but the room was spacious and comfortable, and more importantly it was clean and had everything you need. The staff were also extremely helpful and friendly. On the day we checked out, we even got cooked breakfast for only $10 per person. The portion was generous and much better than heading out to town to eat.
As we only had one full day in Launceston, we weren't too ambitious with our schedule. We first explored the town and took a stroll to Cataract Gorge. How awesome is it that Cataract Gorge is only about 20 to 30 mins walk from town? If you wish, you can also take the Cataract Gorge Cruise for $29 pp. I personally would opt for the walk instead of the cruise as the walk is quite easy and nice. But if you do not want to miss out on the commentary then go on the cruise!
There is no entry fee to Cataract Gorge and you can easily spend your whole day there. Below are some of the sceneries we saw along our way there.
Cataract Gorge is much prettier in person than images you find from Google Image or tour brochures. Cataract Gorge is very large and has various parks within it. Let me show you a few photos (note that all photos are raw and unedited).
Worth mentioning is the suspension bridge! You get a pretty good view from there and I can imagine kids (and big kids) will love the 'shakiness' of the bridge.
Cataract Gorge is a great way to spend a relaxing day and enjoy the great outdoors. You can swim, picnic, jog, hike and just enjoy all that nature has to offer.
After Cataract Gorge, we wanted to visit Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery but it closed at 4pm. So do note the closing time for attractions in Launceston. With everything closing and the little remaining time we had, we decided to visit Design Tasmania Centre, where we saw some really impressive designer wood collection. You can also purchase the artwork collection (although they are quite pricey). The City Park is next to the centre so if you have time, take a stroll there and you might spot some monkeys! Unfortunately for us the sun was setting and we all know that parks are only nice during the day.
We had a bit of a challenge looking for a restaurant for dinner, even on the main shopping street of Brisbane St. Most shops and cafes were closed at the early hour of 6pm. Eventually we settled on a Vietnamese restaurant which wasn't that remarkable. If you are looking for a restaurant, perhaps give Stillwater a go! We walked past it on our way to Cataract Gorge and it has pretty positive reviews. We would probably have ate there if we weren't too tired from all the walking.
One day is probably insufficient to experience the best Launceston has to offer. But if that is all the time you have, then do visit Cataract Gorge and Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. If you have time and are driving, I would also suggest Cradle Mountain (especially if you like outdoors and hiking) and perhaps Tamar Valley (if you like wine tasting).
Overall, I probably like Hobart a little more than Launceston, and there are a lot more things to do in Hobart and its surrounding areas. There are still many places in Tasmania that I haven't been, and I heard that the east coast and west coast have some of the most amazing sceneries. I would love to visit Tassie again someday, and to know that being on a cruise on the Tasman Sea is probably the closest I will ever get to Antarctica is definitely something very special to me!