Note – photo gallery at the bottom of this entry.
I’ve always wanted to visit Tasmania. From tales of friends who have hiked Cradle Mountain, to those who have visited Bruny Island for the food, to those who have loved the modern art at MONA, Tasmania seems to be a state that has something to offer everyone. Hence we chose to spend our anniversary weekend in Launceston sampling just a little bit of what Northern Tasmania has to offer.
I feel like Launceston is just the right size for a weekend visit. While we were only there for two days, we managed to visit quite a few of the local attractions:
- Harvest Community Farmer’s Markets
- The Queen Victoria Art Gallery
- The Queen Victoria Museum
- The Tasmanian Design Centre
- Cataract Gorge
All the attractions were just the right size for a taster of what Tasmania has to offer. The round-trip trek around Cataract Gorge only takes about an hour, and even the ‘hard’ trail is quite manageable. The art gallery only has a couple of rooms, but manages to cover local Tasmanian/Australian art from colonial to modern. The museum is small, but covers everything from the history of transportation to science experiments. The farmer’s markets features local producers from right around the Tamar Valley.
Of course, you can spend longer than a weekend. If you want to really trek into the Cataract Gorge National Park, you can spend a whole day doing that. You could also spend a whole day driving around the Tamar Valley visiting dairy farms and olive farms. But if what you’re after is a taster of Tasmanian life, Launceston is an excellent destination for a weekend visit.
We stayed fairly close to the centre of town in the Mercure Launceston, which happened to be right opposite the City Park. This proved to be a fantastic location for the sunny spring weekend we were there – we would stroll through the park to reach the art gallery, the design centre, the museum and the centre of town, enjoying the greenery with other local families.
One particular highlight of the City Park was the enclosure featuring a large family of Japanese Macaque monkeys. There were a number of baby monkeys in the enclosure at the time, and I made a point of going past the enclosure twice a day to watch their antics!
Food was a highlight of our trip. We had an excellent breakfast at the Harvest Community Farmer’s Market, thanks to an excellent bacon and egg roll from Meat Bread Cheese and a pastry from Manubread, before finishing with a hazelnut ice-cream from Hazelbrae Hazelnuts. Lunches were at smaller cafes with sausage rolls, toasties, and local tasting platters (the marinated octopus was a highlight!), as well as an amazing dinner at Geronimo Aperitivo Bar & Restaurant.
As we returned our rental car at the airport and checked into our flight, I said to K “Next time we come to Tasmania, let’s do it properly.” And by that I mean taking at least two weeks to see more of Tasmania, potentially even renting a motorhome so we can properly travel around the state, simply stopping and staying wherever takes our fancy. There’s so much to see and do, and we’ve only scratched the surface of what Tasmania has to offer!