Launceston: Out and About
Tamar River Cruises
The Tamar River and the Cataract Gorge through which it flows are the natural jewels in the crown of the City of Launceston. There is no better way to experience them both than on a pleasant, relaxing cruise. Tamar River Cruises offers a choice of cruise options. Cruises range from 50 minutes to 4 hours and have something to suit everyone. Take advantage of their special offer - purchase an adult ticket on any of their four scheduled cruises and receive 50% off another adult ticket. Not applicable to chartered cruises or with any other offer.
Launceston Tramway Musuem
Launceston Tramway Musuem preserves the heritage of the Launceston Municipal Tramways, which was responsible for operating the city s tram fleet between 1911 and 1952. The museum features a workshop and a large, modern display gallery. Inside the gallery you can experience a whimsical ramble on the big screen - Launceston's oldest surviving film footage, which observes how the city has changed since Victorian times. The museum is nesxt door to the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery at Inveresk. Open every day 10am to 4pm in Summer. Tram rides on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturdays and Sundays. At other times of the year it is open on weekends only.
National Automobile Museum of Tasmania
Australians have always had a soft spot for their automobiles, a fact that is reflected in the high standard of its car museums; this one is no exception. The museum features a vast array of cars and motorcycles owned by local collectors, as well as plenty of motoring memorabilia. The vehicles on display are rotated regularly, so it is a place you can come back to time and time again and still see something new and interesting. The museum is located at Cnr Willis and Cimitiere Streets in the centre of Launceston, and is open every day (except Christmas day) 9 am - 5 pm, Winter 10 am - 4 pm. Tel: +61 03 6334 8888.
Harley-Davidson Museum and Cafe
Richardsons Harley-Davidson Museum and Cafe showcases motorcycle memorabilia dating back to 1940. The museum contains interesting treasure including a 1900s pedal bike with a plate that reads 'A.G. Flannery-Harley-Gallion Co,' an extremely rare piece. Wander through the museum and enjoy stepping back in time with a 1940 ex Army Indian Scout and two J-model Harley-Davidsons. The pre-owned parts section is built from Harley-Davidson bike crates, the flooring from telegraph poles and structural beams from wharf pylons. Admission is a gold coin donation, with all proceeds going to the Tasmanian Devil Fund.
Location: 468 Westbury Road, Prospect. Ph (03) 6344 4524.
Georgian Era Villages
Tasmania and New South Wales were the only states of Australia to have been settled and developed in the Goerrgian era (a period of British history which takes its name from, and is normally defined as spanning the reigns of Kings George I to IV. The era covers the period from 1714 to 1830. Tasmania's rural communities from the era have remained small villages as most saw little if any growth after their intital settlement and development. Today they are like time capsules, frozen in time, their buildings lovingly restored to their original condition. The Georgian villages around Launceston can be explored on two easy half-day drives.
20 minutes drive )15 km) north of Launceston, Grindelwald is a Swiss-style lakeside village. It was established in the 1980s as a unique residential development. All houses in Grindelwald have been built in Swiss style, with wide eaves, flowerboxes, window shutters and balconies. The settlement is fringed with glassy lakes and views of the Tamar Valley. The Swiss-themed Tamar Valley Resort at Grindelwald includes a range of accommodation, a shopping arcade, general store, craft and gift shops, clothing store, hairdresser, day spa, golf pro shop, chocolatier, and a cafe and bakery. The village has a mini-golf course, a 10-hole public golf course and boating activities on the lake, including canoe and aqua bike hire.
Tamar Valley Wine Region
The Tamar Valley is a truly cool climate wine region and we are focused on producing wines of exceptional quality that are elegant and pristine, reflecting our pure soil and air. You can expect to taste excellent examples of Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. The region's sparkling wines are considered by many to be second only to Champagne itself. Cellar door tastings are a specialty of the Tamar Valley.
City Park was originally developed by the Launceston Horticultural Society and handed over to the Launceston City Council in 1863. It features many trees, structures and buildings, including the Albert Hall, dating back to the 1800s. City Park is located in the heart of Launceston. This beautiful parkland features mature trees and shrubs, a display of annual flowers, a Japanese Macaque monkey enclosure, the John Hart Conservatory, a duck pond, senses garden, monuments, chess board, historic Albert Hall, barbeque area and a children's playground. Main entrance: Tamar Street or corner of Cimitiere and Lawrence Streets.
The Macaque Monkey Enclosure is open from 8.00am - 4.00pm (April - September) and 8.00am - 4.30pm (October - March). The John Hart Conservatory is open weekdays from 8.30am - 4.30pm and weekends from 9.00am - 4.30pm (April - September) and from 9.00am - 5.30pm (October - March).
Royal Park and Kings Park
Royal Park, originally the site of a military barracks was developed as parkland in the late 1800s and officially named Royal Park in 1912. It contains Launceston's Cenotaph and is a very popular social and tourist destination. Royal Park and Kings Park are traditional parks with a river edge boardwalk connecting the Cataract Gorge Reserve to the Inveresk Precinct, taking in Ritchie's Mill, Home Point and Seaport. The area features the Tamar River, mature trees, multi-use trails, skate park and boat ramp. It also provides access to the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery's Royal Park site and to river cruises.
Originally a clay-pit where convicts made bricks for the construction of St Johns Church, Princes Square is an extraordinary square with a colourful history. Princes Square was part of Launceston's network of planned public places, a formal and organised public space that demonstrated European sophistication, and remains an unusually intact and original 19th century town square. It was created in the image of similar British designs, its elm trees, like its name, suggested its suitability as a site of royal celebrations. Before the square was opened in 1859, the site had been used as a military parade ground before being set aside as a public reserve in 1826.
Tasmania Zoo is situated on 900 acres of private old growth native bushland and home to the largest collection of native and exotic animals in Tasmania. We have over 50 species of birds, wombats, echidna's, kangaroos, quolls, reptiles, monkeys and more. Watch the Tassie Devils feed at 10:30 am, 1 pm and 3:30 pm followed by a devil pat of one of our younger devils.
Location: 1166 Ecclestone Road, Riverside (30 min. drive from Launceston city centre) Ph (03) 6396 6100.
Trevallyn Dam is situated on the South Esk River just outside Launceston. Excellent for a picnic, trail walks and boating, the dam is located within the Trevallyn Nature Recreation Area. The 440 hectare (1089 acre) reserve offers a range of attractions and activities. Visitors can walk along the South Esk River gorge, view the Trevallyn Dam wall in flood and experience cable hang-gliding. During summer, the water is ideal for swimming and the shores of Lake Trevallyn are utilised by the Launceston community for water skiing, kayaking and windsurfing.
Location: Gorge Road, Launceston.
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery
Australia's largest regional museum, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) has two key sites, the Museum at Inveresk and the Art Gallery at Royal Park. The Museum is where you'll find the QVMAG Tasmanian history and natural science collections and the Art Gallery is where you can experience ten galleries, the Guan Di Temple and the ArtSparks! Family Art Space.
Established in 1891, the Queen Victoria at Royal Park has a strong reputation for its excellent collection, which includes fine exhibitions of colonial art, contemporary craft and design, Tasmanian history and natural sciences, specifically a zoology collection. There is also a special exhibition of a full Chinese temple that was used by 19th-century Chinese tin miners, a working planetarium, and displays related to Launceston's industrial environment and railway workshops.
The Inveresk premises, built in recent years on the site of the old Launceston Railway Workshops, is where you'll find the Phenomena Factory, a free-entry interactive science centre providing hands-on education for kids of all ages. You will also find the Jaffa Machine donated by Hydro Tasmania which turns human mechanical energy into kinetic energy. Crank the handle and sustain the energy output long enough and you'll be rewarded with a jaffa.
Boag's Centre for Beer Lovers
Boag's Brewery was founded in Launceston in 1883 by James Boag and his son, also named James. As of 2010 J. Boag and Son employed over 150 people and produced over 76,000,000 litres of beer annually. The company takes great pride in carrying on the tradition handed down by the Boags of brewing finest quality beers with premium ingredients. The brewery has a visitors centre from which tours of the brewery are conducted. Knowledgable tour guides explain and brewing process, and afterwards guests can share in beer and cheese tasking. Tours start at the Boag's Centre for Beer Lovers, 39 William St, Launceston. Tour bookings are essential, Ph (03) 6332 6300.
Cataract Gorge is Launceston's own little piece of wilderness, a unique natural formation of sheer cliffs and cascades just 15 minutes walk from the city centre. Visitor facilities include walking and hiking trails, the world s longest single span chairlift, swimming pool, restaurant, kiosk, peacocks and wildlife, gardens, a suspension bridge, Interpretation Centre and lookouts with spectacular views. Cruise vessels ply Cataract Gorge daily.
Brady's Lookout offers beautiful views over the Tamar River and surrounding areas. Located just off the West Tamar Highway between Legana and Exeter, when you reach the top of the hill you ll be rewarded with great views. There are excellent, fully accessible toilet and picnic facilities, including sheltered BBQs and a number of picnic tables. The paths to the lookouts have good surface material and width, although wheelchair users may require assistance due to the moderate gradient. Discover the story of bushranger Mathew Brady and why this spectacular location is named after him.
See the stars at the Launceston Planetarium in the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Tasmania. The Planetarium presents a variety of astronomy shows by projecting images of the southern night sky onto a domed ceiling, accompanied by additional effects and narration. The Planetarium projector, the heart of the system, reproduces all of the stars visible to the unaided eye from the southern hemisphere, and simulates the apparent motion of the stars as the earth rotates.
Location: Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, 2 Invermay Road, Inveresk, Launceston
Old Umbrella Shop
The Old Umbrella Shop is one of the last surviving, largely intact early twentieth century shops in Tasmania. It offers an experience far from that of contemporary retail practice. Operated by three generations of the Shott family the shop now houses displays about the family, umbrellas and the wood souvenirs, many of which were made on the premises. The Shop is also well known for the large range of umbrellas stocked for sale as well as a variety of National Trust and Tasmanian products.
Location: 60 George Street, Launceston. Ph (03) 6331 9248
Kids Paradise, situated in Riverside, Launceston, is Tasmania's largest indoor family and children's playground. Children can enjoy the pirate playground with slides and ball pits. There are interactive rooms that capture the imagination of younger children: Paris' Deli, Rachelle's Parlour and Lachie's Travels. There is a huge outdoor slide connecting the top floor with the bottom floor. The bottom floor is geared more towards the older children with inflatable play and sports activities being played on a regular basis. Ph (03) 6334 0055.
Penny Royal Launceston
At the mouth of the Cataract Gorge, Penny Royal celebrates the dark and playful past of bushranger Matthew Brady amongst a charming complex of bars, restaurants and a wide range of activities for the whole family. Penny Royal, located on the picturesque cliffs next to Tasmania’s iconic Cataract Gorge, occupies a former rock quarry.
There are a number history-themed attractions to keep all family members entertained. An animatronic tour of the Penny Royal’s undercroft tells the story of Tasmania's most famous bushranger, Matthew Brady. Activities include panning for gold, gemstone fossicking, sailing motorised toy boats, or sailing on the lagoon aboard the brig 'Tamar'. During the voyage, there's an exchange of cannon fire and the kids get the opportunity to steer the ship - not as dangerous as it sounds as the 'Tamar' is on rails. Up on the cliff face, you can go rock climbing, take a cliff walk or launch yourself off the 20 metre cliff jump and fly on the zip lines that propel you 100 metres across the grounds. When you are ready for a break, there are numerous cafes, restaurants, and bars. Leisure In Penny Royal Hotel & Apartments offer a variety of accommodation. Location: 1 Bridge Street, Launceston.
Penny Royal started back in 1972 when local developer Roger Smith found a pile of convict bricks on a property at Barton, in Tasmania’s midlands. Delving into history it became apparent that the bricks were once buildings owned by Andrew Gatenby and his family, early pioneers of Van Dieman’s Land. They arrived in 1823 and settled on land between Cressy and Ross on the Isis River, then known as Penny Royal Creek. They built their farmhouse and mill house there and made a life on the land. However over the subsequent years the mill fell into disrepair. When Roger found the bricks, he purchased them off the current landowner with the plan of rebuilding the mill and creating a history-themed tourist attraction. The site was chosen near the mouth of Launceston’s most visited attraction; the Cataract Gorge.
The attraction opened in December 1979 and remained operational until the early 200's. In 2014, Josef Chromy OAM, a Tamar Valley winemaker and developer of the smallgoods company, Blue Ribbon, purchased the site and announced plans for an ambitious new development of the site, which received much support from the local community. After two years in development the run-down Penny Royal location was transformed to a modern welcoming tourist complex officially opened in April 2016.