Launceston is Tasmania’s second largest, and second oldest city. It is one of the oldest cities in Australia.
It is built where the North Esk and the South Esk Rivers meet to form the Tamar Estuary. Being 200 km (120 mi) from Hobart, it is an easy 2 hour drive via the Midlands, Heritage Highway and the Historic Village of Ross. It is 5 hours drive from Hobart via Freycinet and the East Coast. You will be impressed with the Victorian and Georgian architecture: the buildings of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries have been beautifully restored and preserved.
The City parks and gardens are a delight. Cataract Gorge, where the South Esk cuts through before joining the Tamar is next to the Downtown area and is an excellent nature preserve with some great short walks. The farmlands surrounding Launceston are dotted with interesting early Colonial towns and restored historic mansions that are open to the public.
Things to Do in Launceston
- Cataract Gorge
- Cradle Mountain Day Trip
- The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery
- Grindelwald Swiss Village
- Low Head Pilot Station
- Tamar River
- Tamar Valley Wineries
History of Launceston
While the local Aboriginal people had been in the area for 30,000 years, it was not until 1798 that the first Europeans visited the area. It took three years for the settlers of Hobart managed to move north and settle the area of fertile land surrounding what is now Launceston. The development of Travel Destination Launceston can be traced through many of the local Estates developed by the first settlers, Woolmers and Brickenden Estates near Longford, and Clarendon House, south of Evandale being good examples. Tin was discovered in 1871, and Gold Fever struck in 1877 with the discovery at Beaconsfield on the Tamar River to the north. This working gold mine can be visited today. Melbourne was settled from Launceston in 1835 by John Pascoe Fawkner and John batman. When you visit Melbourne you will note many of the same names of parks and suburbs that honour these two gentlemen.
Geography and Weather
Launceston is set on a wide, fertile farming plain, and is at the head of the Tamar Valley. The Tamar has become famous for its cool temperate wines. Being situated 45 K (28 Mi) from the coast, Travel Destination Launceston has a good climate for growing wine grapes and specialty crops such as berry fruits and Lavender. There are 4 distinct seasons. The summers are mild with an average high of 23 C (74 F) and a low of 10 C (50 F). Winters are cool with average highs of 11 C (52 F) and lows of 2 C (36 F). Rainfall averages 677 mm (27″) a year. Summer is drier and winter gets twice as much rain. The Platypus House at Beauty Point is well worth a visit. Cradle Mountain can be visited in a day tour from Launceston.
Map of Launceston
Zoom in and out for an interactive map of Launceston