G’day Travelers! I recently had the chance to spend the day exploring the city of Launceston in Tasmania. Much like many of my other trips this year I was in town covering an event for 3 days, but I had one day before flying back home to see what Launceston had to offer.
This was the first time I’d ever headed down to Tasmania and I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got there. So my goal for the day was simply to walk around the city and explore as much of it as I possibly could in one day, knowing I wouldn’t be able to do the city properly, but give my self a good idea how to better approach the city and state on my next visit.
Conveniently located across the road from my hotel was the Launceston City Park, so that seemed as good a place as any to start my explorations. It’s a nice little green area in the heart of the city that was a pleasant surprise. Established in 1820’s by the Launceston Horticultural Society, the park has since become public property and maintained by the city council.
The park contained a combination of monuments and gardens which I wasn’t expecting. And being that it was so cold in the day’s I had been in town, certainly wasn’t expecting to see colourful gardens of flowers. Heres a couple of photos of flowers that caught my attention. But there are plenty of little paths to go an explore around the park.
But the thing I really didn’t expect was the Monkey exhibit. I found out when I was there that the City Park has had a long-standing history with having an animal exhibit with Tasmanian Tigers and even a Bear having been on housed there during the almost 100 year history of the park. These Japanese Macaques were picked for their tolerance for the cold and gifted to Launceston by the city of Ikeda in Japan.
You can find out more about the city park through the councils website – http://www.launceston.tas.gov.au/lcc/index.php?c=189
Following the North Esk and Tamar Rivers around the city, I found my way over to Cataract Gorge. The gorge was the only thing I really knew about Launceston before getting there, so I followed the signs, and found a hiking trail in. There looked to be an easier tourist path on the other side of the river, but I wanted to see if I could get some interesting photos, so I took the Zig Zag track up over the mountain.
It was a good hike over the mountain, and not for the unfit (not that I’m the spitting image of peak fitness), but once at the top of the mountain there were some stunning views of Cataract Gorge before taking the easier downhill section of the trail.
Since I’d taken the scenic hike into the gorge, I was surprised to see the pool and gardens of the Cliffgrounds which looked seemly out of place from where I was walking. But once I’d climbed down to the First Basin where the Cliffgrounds were I realised I’d taken the hardest route of all to get there, with the Cliffgrounds part of a complex accessible from a much more convenient road in.
Cataract Gorge also had a scenic chairlift and plenty of walkways and trails to explore but the key attraction for me was the King’s suspension bridge spanning across the gorge. It offered some stunning views further up the river.
I would have liked to explore more of the trails in the area, but I wanted to get back into the heart of the city to see what else there was to see. So I hiked back out of the gorge on the Zig Zag trail and headed back to the city. You can find more out about Cataract Gorge at the website – http://www.launcestoncataractgorge.com.au/
Back in the city I happened to stumble upon the James Boag’s Brewery, which I knew was a Tasmanian beer, but I didn’t realise was based Launceston. The site is that of the original brewery from 1881, which has been updated and expanded upon over the years, but you can still see the original facade of the building. There are daily tours of the James Boag’s Brewery, if you book in advance (I didn’t obviously). But there is the Boag’s Center for Beer Lovers which I did drop into for a refreshing beverage, it includes a bar/cafe, a small museum, and gift shot to explore.
You can find out more about the James Boag’s Brewery including the tours, on their website – http://www.boags.com.au/brewery
After stopping by the brewery, I explored a little more of the city before making my way over to the airport. Here is a small collection of photos of some historic buildings that I saw and thought were interesting during my wanderings of the city. A lot of the buildings/architecture reminded me of small towns I’ve seen previously in my travels across the UK.
What I’d like to do the next time I head to Launceston, is to get myself a car and spend a few days driving around and exploring the landscapes and scenery just outside of the city. Spending a week our two road tripping around Tasmania seems like the best way to do it.
Have you been to the Launceston or even Tasmania before? Feel free to leave your suggestions or tips of your own with a comment below so I can check them out the next time.
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