Luxury Escapes Guide to Launceston

A place of indulgence, wild beauty and World Heritage-listed wonders, the Apple Isle is every bit as extraordinary as it is natural — discover it all in Launceston.

Nestled in a fertile agricultural basin where two rivers join to form the Tamar, Tasmania’s second major city is the gateway to the island’s northern region.

As one of the best-preserved early cityscapes in Australia, here elegant Colonial and Victorian architecture neighbour century-old gardens and late-19th-century homes dot the suburbs. It won’t surprise you that the lush English-looking countryside that surrounds the city draws more foot traffic than downtown.

Art and design thrive alongside the city’s blossoming food and coffee culture. However, it is Launceston’s nature and storied history that steal the show. Sip field-blended wines amid the vines, let the hint of lavender linger and discover that this peaceful haven is much bigger on the inside.

Launceston is the perfect base for relaxed roadtripping, with farm-gate stalls, distilleries and cellar doors dotting some of the most fertile pastures in the country, all bordered by the wild coastline of the Bass Strait.

Whether you come for the scrumptious food, fresh produce, delicious local wine, beautiful landscapes or unique architecture, ‘Launie’ is a must for any avid traveller. The best part? For this ‘overseas’ journey, you don’t even need to pack your passport.

Main Image: Cataract Gorge. Image by Nat Mendham, courtesy of Tourism Tasmania.

Please note that due to current restrictions some operators may be temporarily closed. Check their websites for the most up-to-date information.

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Things to see and do

Discover your next favourite drop at Josef Chromy Wines

Set among old English gardens and stands of 100-year-old oak trees, overlooking a picturesque lake and a 61-hectare vineyard, Josef Chromy Wines is a Tasmanian must visit. A 15-minute drive south of Launceston and only 10 minutes from Launceston Airport, the cellar door itself is still housed in its original 1880s homestead. Warm yourself inside by the log fire and enjoy the views with a cool-climate wine and fresh Tasmanian produce, or choose to enjoy a light lunch or gourmet snack alfresco with a hamper or harvest brunch.

See the wonders of nature at Cataract Gorge

Known locally as ‘the Gorge’, Cataract Gorge is a unique and unexpected urban secret. Within easy walking distance of the downtown Launceston area, this slice of solitude wilderness features Victorian gardens, exotic plants, scenic hiking trails, walking tracks, the world’s longest single span chairlift, a swimming pool and a myriad of wildlife viewing. Any time of the year, the Gorge is a tranquil hideaway and the perfect day trip for those looking to take some time out and explore one of Launceston’s best natural offerings.

Get in touch with nature at Hollybank Wilderness Adventures

Conquer your fears, test your skills and get active on an unforgettable day tailored specifically to you. Located in the pine trees of Hollybank Forest, Hollybank Wilderness Adventures is Tasmania’s only outdoor adventure destination with four unique experiences in one location. Choose to fly high on Tasmania’s longest zipline, explore the forest below by Segway, traverse the treetops on the Tree Ropes course or feel grounded with a dash of mountain biking. Whichever you choose, you’ll wish for more hours in the day!

Get up close to the wildlife at Tasmania Zoo

Located 20-minutes’ drive from Launceston, Tasmania Zoo is situated on 900 acres of private native bushland and is home to the largest collection of native and exotic animals in Tasmania. The zoo is home to 1,000 individual animals, representing more than 100 rare, critically endangered and native species from around the world, including Tasmanian devils, crested black macaques and swift parrots. Dedicated to continuous contribution, conversation and education, Tasmania Zoo encourages all visitors to enjoy an up-close and hands-on wildlife experience.

Take a tour of James Boags Brewery

James Boag understood that there’s nothing on earth quite like Tasmania’s natural purity. Discover what goes into creating this internationally renowned beer at the historic James Boags Brewery. Don the yellow high-viz vest and walk the floor of this historic building to see how Australia’s premium beer, which has been refreshing the palates of beer loves since 1881, is produced. You’ll get to touch, taste, smell and sample the end product, as well as a selection of superb local Tasmanian cheese.

Find a classic at the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania

Housing one of Australia's most significant motoring collections, the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania is a car-aficionado’s heaven. Discover some of the most spectacular vehicles from around the country and hear great stories about the history of Australia’s automotive industry. To keep things fresh, the museum welcomes travelling exhibitions and rotates consistently: there is a plethora of automotive treasures in this museum including a 1986 Giocattolo Group B, 1973 Valiant Charger, 1974 Holden Torana L34 and many vintage motorcycles.

Take a walk around Dove Lake and Cradle Mountain

There are few landscapes that can compare with Cradle Mountain. Be sure to take walk around the mirror-like pristine waters of the glacially carved Dove Lake and bask in the spectacular views towards the towering spires of Cradle Mountain. On one of Tasmania’s premier nature tracks, a two-hour boardwalk circuit, you can circumnavigate the enchanting moss-covered myrtle beech trees while admiring the gleaming rock formations, before stopping at the historic boatshed for that iconic shot.

Wander incredible purple fields at Bridestowe Lavender Estate

In 1922, perfumer CK Denny sailed from England to Tasmania with a packet of lavender seeds sourced from the southern French Alps. Fast forward nearly 100 years and Bridestowe Lavender Estate is one of Tasmania's premier tourist destinations and the largest lavender farm in the Southern Hemisphere. Located 45 minutes from Launceston in the heart of the Tamar Valley wine route, Bridestowe encourages visitors to walk between the sea of purple flowers and take as many photos as possible, before heading to the café for lavender-infused treats and products.

Top places to eat and drink

Stillwater Restaurant

Stillwater is an unmissable stalwart of Tassie food and wine. With 20 years of experience, it has consistently cleaned up at local, state and national awards. And there’s good reason why. Operating inside an 1830s flour mill nestled on the banks of the picturesque Tamar River, it delivers a memorable dining experience with every visit. Its uncomplicated seasonal menu showcases some of Tasmania’s best makers, growers and producers with everything from baked Bass Strait scallops with pepperberry and brown rice vinegar to Tasmanian Lenah Wallaby served with French lentils, beetroot and Tamar Valley truffle butter. The drinks list also promises some of the best local drops from around the state.

Saint John Craft Beer

Echoing the industrial roots of its location, Saint John Craft Beer is a relaxed space built around dark wooden furniture, high stools and a wall of beer taps. Jam-packed with the best craft beer to suit most palates, the brewery’s rotation of what’s pouring is indicated by a regularly changing magnetic board. A further 170 beers can also be purchased to drink in or takeaway and out back, a food truck/caravan is permanently stationed. There is even a canning machine, which allows punters to take home a 946ml can of freshly tapped beer.

Bread & Butter

Once a motorcycle warehouse, Bread & Butter has since become Launceston’s coolest bakery and butter factory. With its black walls, industrial vibe, quirky artwork, large windows and toasters placed on each table, this impressive cafe is the perfect inner-city hipster hangout for handcrafted treats, naturally leavened bread, 100% cultured butter and wonderful coffee. They bake seven days a week but sure to check their social media platforms early Sunday morning to learn of their weekly #sundayloaf special.

Tandy’s Alehouse

A watering hole for avid craft beer enthusiasts, Tandy’s Alehouse is a family-run business that focuses on the retail of Tasmanian boutique ale and spirits. Located in the heart of the city, the entirety of this small bar has been built with Tasmanian sourced materials, including Huon pine tap-handles and booths. At Tandy’s, it’s about quality over quantity. Experience this culture shift with a tasting tour and discover your new favourite brewery or distiller without leaving your seat.

Cataract on Paterson

Cooking on hot stones is part of Australia’s food history. Embrace this innovative cooking method at Cataract on Paterson, where their mouth-watering stone-grilled menu is taken to new heights in comfortable yet contemporary surrounds. Enjoy the very best local Tasmanian produce in this interactive dining experience as you cook on a 400ºC volcanic stone at your table. The high temperature seals in all the natural juices enhancing the full flavours and tenderness of your meat, which is accompanied by seasonal greens and smashed roasted chats.


Conveniently situated in central Launceston on leafy George Street, Sweetbrew is a patisserie and espresso bar with a wicked hipster vibe. Housed in an old coachway interchange facility and comprised of several rooms, this speciality cafe offers brunch, a variety of Manubread pastries and Five Senses coffee brewed by experienced baristas. It’s no surprise the food here also hits the mark, supporting local artisan producers and creating sumptuous Instagram-worthy dishes.


The newest addition to Launceston’s dining scene, stylish Havilah packs a lot into its compact space. The restaurant’s sleek design features a polished concrete bar and muted earth tones, with its owners going so far as to re-spray the meat slicer from red to peach to maintain aesthetic harmony. A restrained menu of small plates, charcuterie and cheese is designed to share, and focusses on quality and flavour, with the best ingredients sourced from Tasmania and around the world.

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