Summer suits Launceston. The sun glistens on the Tamar River, the days are warmer and longer making it the perfect season to explore our historic city. Our family loves to get out and about our fabulous local town, especially on our days off before vintage starts.
Here’s some of our insider tips of the top things to do in and around Launceston during the summer months.
Celebrating the very best of Tasmanian food and drinks, Festivale is a Tasmanian Food and Wine Festival that will be held in City Park from Friday 1 February to Sunday 3 February. World class entertainment from Hoodoo Gurus, Jon Stevens and Kate Ceberano will entertain the crowds, and there’s a raft of food, beer and spirit producers who will offer up a taste of the best from the Apple Isle. We suggest you attend all three days to get the most out of the masterclasses, cooking demonstrations, comedy and performers roving around this fun festival.
After 10 years in Hobart and three wins as Best Contemporary Music Festival, Mona Foma is heading to Launceston from 13-20 January. Book your tickets quick-smart as the line-up is impressive, including Neneh Cherry, Courtney Barnett and Underworld. The Inveresk Precinct is where you will find delicious food courtesy of Mona’s Heavy Metal Kitchen, Moorilla and Moo Brew. There will also be a world-class art exhibition.
It’s summer and time to get out on the water! It’s a great way to see a different perspective of Launceston rather than on foot. Tasmanian Safaris run a 45-minute Tamar River Canoe Tour between the Old Seaport and the lower reaches of Cataract Gorge. And don’t worry if you don’t think you’re up to paddling, these Hobie canoes are pedal -powered, just like a bike. The tour is suitable all ages and a great family activity.
If canoeing is not your style, a leisurely boat cruise allows you to sit back and enjoy the beautiful views. Tamar River Cruises offer four cruises including the four hour Batman Bridge option that includes a scrumptious lunch. You’ll explore the waterways surrounding Launceston, see Tamar Island, view historical homesteads, vineyards and wildlife. It’s a very relaxing way to spend a summer’s afternoon.
It’s hard not to visit Launceston without spending some time at the picturesque Cataract Gorge. The walk from the centre of Launceston to Cataract Gorge takes just 15 minutes but you’ll feel a million miles away. Surrounded by bushland, Cataract Gorge is home to the world's longest single span chairlift, which is a must-do while you are here. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of the gorge, swimming pool, suspension bridge, restaurant, café and kiosk. There are also several bushwalks leading to lookouts with spectacular views.
Right in the middle of Launceston is beautiful City Park. Established in the 1820s by the Launceston Horticultural Society it features many mature English trees and shrubs. You can visit the Japanese Macaques, also known as snow monkeys, which were gifted to Launceston in 1965 by Ikeda in Japan when the two cities became ‘sister cities’. Stroll around the park, see the John Hart Conservatory built in 1932 and take the kids for a ride on Lonnie the Loco train, which looks like Thomas the Tank Engine.
Every Saturday, Harvest Launceston is held from 8:30am-12:30pm. Discover the best local produce Tasmania has to offer whilst meandering through the stalls, as well as sampling mouth-watering dishes you can enjoy on the spot, including paella, Afghani Bolani, pastries and cakes. We guarantee you’ll leave with a full shopping basket packed with amazing local fare!
Tasmania Zoo is home to over 1000 animals from 100 different species, including lions, tigers, lemurs and red pandas. At the Jurassic Swamp exhibition you’ll come face to face with 40 life-sized dinosaurs – replicas, of course! It’s an easy day trip from Launceston and one the entire family will enjoy.
Every Sunday in January, the City Park Band Rotunda becomes the stage for local musicians as part of Music in the Park 2019. Bring a picnic and enjoy the music while the kids have a ball on the jumping castle. There’s an extra performance on Saturday 26 January to celebrate Australia Day. It’s a free event to showcase local talent.
Last but not least, while you are in Launceston, we’d love you to visit our Holm Oak cellar door, which is a scenic 45 minute drive up the Tamar Valley. Before settling in for a tasting, feed Pinot d’Pig a few apples and you’ll have a friend for life! We offer a complimentary tasting of our current releases and for just an extra $20 you can taste our exclusive vintage pinot noirs from our cellar. On Sundays from 11am, you can do a Barrel Room Tasting with our winemaker Bec Duffy. Stay on for lunch by making up a picnic of local cheeses, terrines and salmon products. We hope to see you over summer.
For each $100 spend on wines purchased, you will receive one entry to go in the draw to win a weekend for two in Tasmania.