The Duffy’s are avid AFL fans and the start of the season sparks a new season war in our household given allegiances are divided. Max is an avid Richmond Tigers fan, Will supports Hawthorn Hawks while Tim follows the Geelong Cats and I go for Collingwood Magpies. Tasmania hosts eight matches a year, four of which are held in Launceston – right on our doorstep – and the annual announcement of which teams are coming to play is met with much excitement by us all.
Friends who are die-hard AFL fans come over from the mainland to watch their team and the common question asked is tips for the top places to go in Launceston. Naturally, we say the best thing to do is visit our Holm Oak cellar door, which is an easy 40-minute drive from the city centre. But there are lots of other great things to do if you’re spending the weekend in Launceston and going to a match.
Not sure when the Tasmanian games are being played? Get your tickets here and then follow our guide to the top things for footy fans to do in Launceston.
Places to eat
Bread & Butter
Start your day at bakery and coffee hotspot Bread & Butter. The breakfast toastie and granola are both delicious, but I can’t go past one of their freshly baked croissants and a long black coffee. For lunch en route to the match, grab one of their pies or a sausage roll.
Every Saturday from 8:30am to 12.30pm, Harvest Launceston, the Community Farmers’ Market is held on Cimitiere Street, in the car park opposite Albert Hall. You’ll find stalls selling everything from cherries and cheese to sourdough and cider. Enjoy wandering around checking out the freshest produce that Tasmania is renowned for.
The Schnitzel Store
Before you head to the match refuel at The Schnitzel Store, located opposite the ground. The menu features every type of schnitzel you could imagine and some you may not have even thought of. Take the Schmexican for example, a taco-seasoned beef schnitzel with guacamole, onion, tomato and chilli mayonnaise. There’s also a vegan schnitzel called the Gobble a Grow.
Saint John Craft Beer
If you’re looking for a cleansing ale after the game, head to Saint John Craft Beer. With 14 beer taps to choose from you can sample a Tasmanian craft beer or something from the mainland or overseas. There are also 170-plus bottled beers and crafts ciders behind the bar. If you’re hungry there’s a food truck onsite serving delicious beer-friendly bites.
You can’t leave Launceston without having a Burger Junkie burger, arguably Launceston’s best burger. Stick with classic beef or try a fried chicken – my favourite – version. The wings are a must-try, too.
Time for some culture before the big game? Head to Design Tasmania. Founded in 1976, its aim was to establish Tasmania as a hotspot of good design and craftsmanship. Different exhibitions are on constant rotation so there is always something new to see. Don’t miss the Wood Collection showcasing contemporary Tasmanian timber design.
Things to do
Tamar River Cruise
The day after the big game, why not see the sights of Launceston from the water? Book a Cataract Gorge Cruise with Tamar River Cruises. You’ll head up the Tamar River onboard a replica of the 1890s boat, the Lady Launceston, to the breath-taking Cataract Gorge.
National Automobile Museum of Tasmania
If you’re a car fanatic as well as a footy fan including the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania on your agenda could elevate your weekend to best-ever status. Housing one of Australia’s most significant motoring collections, the main hall is packed with cars while motorcycles are on display on the mezzanine level.
Spend the rest of the afternoon at Sporties Hotel. A self-described ‘proper sports pub’ you can watch more AFL or whichever other code takes your fancy. Fox Sport Live is always on in the bar so you can settle for a beer and get an extra dose of sport and play some pool before you leave.
And that concludes your sport-focused weekend in Launceston. With hopefully a few nice glasses of Holm Oak’s wines also enjoyed whilst you’re in our backyard.
Staying a little longer?
If you’re in in town for a long time and a good time, check out Top Tips for Visiting Launceston.