Launceston, or Lonnie, as it is affectionately known in Tasmania, has everything you could ever hope for in a 48-hour getaway from day trips filled with wine and cheese to a neatly contained city centre. It is also just a cruisey drive away from some gorgeous heritage towns and pristine natural wonders.
If your 48-hour stay falls on a weekend, then a trip to the Harvest Markets is a must. Held every Saturday morning this artisan market is full to the brim with handmade bread and cheeses, ethical meat, organic fruit and veg and delicious breaky options. Take a wander around the inner-city market and pick up a few goodies for your blissful weekend ahead. Sweetbrew on George Street is another go-to for blackberry bircher or double fried eggs alongside a creamy latte.
Seeing is believing
A climb up Cataract Gorge is a great place to kickstart your trip with some of Launceston’s lushest trails on offer. Silver green trees descend upon the bubbling South Esk River and form the backdrop for some stunning photo opportunities. There is a scenic chairlift for those seeking to take in the views from above and a rolling green Victorian lawn to enjoy a lavish picnic of fresh Tasmanian cheeses. Walking trails of varying lengths splay out from the reserve.
By the River Tamar
Conveniently located five minutes from Cataract Gorge and set in a light-filled renovated flour mill overlooking the River Tamar, is Stillwater. Lunch at Stillwater is a must. Incorporating the freshest Tasmanian produce, the menu does change with each of Tasmania’s four distinct seasons. Oysters and black truffles take pride of place in the winter menu alongside fresh root vegetables. Start with freshly baked bread with Tasmanian butter and finish with house-made gnocchi, pecan and sage brown butter with pumpkin and pecorino.
Explore a Georgian village
Just 20 minutes from Launceston airport, Evandale is one of Launceston’s hidden gems and a cruise down the main street of this National Trust-classified Georgian village is like a step back in time. The perfectly manicured gardens and pristine heritage buildings feel like a film set. You can easily spend a sun-drenched afternoon wandering the streets and admiring the character buildings and charming cottages that line the streets. Evandale is also the perfect place to pick up a few souvenirs.
Sign of the times
There are a number of stores to browse through including a leather shop, multiple galleries and antique stores. Not to be missed is the local newsagent, which resembles an old-school general store. Wooden shelves overflow with handmade soaps, journals, tea towels and aprons. Gingham check tablecloths host bowls of hand-dyed yarn and jars of local honey and preserves.
To market, to market
Wind down your busy day at the Clarendon Arms Hotel, a family-owned pub. There is a fireplace to thaw out around in winter and a gorgeous sunny courtyard to enjoy in summer. Serving up British-style pub food and the finest Tasmanian whiskey and gin, you can’t go wrong. Evandale’s Sunday markets are also worth a visit and have a lovely community feel, selling everything from vintage cardigans and bric-a-brac to homemade peanut butter and preserves.
Bryher is another fabulous seasonal café located in the city centre and is definitely worth a stop for their coffee alone. Fuel up with their house-made English muffins and jams and get on your way.
The perfect way to spend your second day in Launceston is with a winding journey through the Tamar Valley. Head out of the city and jump on the A7 West Tamar road. There is an infinite number of routes to plan but try and include a few of these worthy stops along the way.
Take the scenic route around Tamar Valley
The Tamar Valley is considered one of the top 10 wine routes in the world, and there are plenty of vineyards to choose from along the Tamar Valley Tourist Route. Check out Tammar Ridge Cellar Door, Holm Oak Vineyards and Moore’s Hill Estate for some of the best.
Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Café is the perfect way to get your daily serve of fruit. Almost every dish has a raspberry twist from the raspberry hot chocolates to savoury dishes and fresh scones and jam. The café overlooks the lake and has a gift store of raspberry goods to take home.
If you fancy stretching your legs stop by Notley Fern Gorge. Located just above the Tamar Valley, the Gorge is full of native fauna and rainforest flora and is the perfect way to take in the diversity of Tasmania.
Cheese is a Tasmanian staple so stop by Ashgrove Cheeses and indulge in everything from creamy farm ice cream to fresh bottle milk, cheese, cream and butter. There is even a viewing window that lets you in on the cheese making process.
All the while you will be winding through luscious Tasmanian farmland dotted with woolly sheep and inquisitive dairy cows. It is worth the journey for the drive alone but with so many fabulous foodie gems you will be hopping in out of the car all day long.
A visit to The Dinner Belle in the city is also essential. Go all out with a Southern platter or choose between fried chicken waffles, creamy potato salad, charred corn and sticky pulled pork.
Whatever you choose to do with 48 precious hours in Launceston, it is bound to be full of tasty treats, stunning scenery and handmade goodies.
Hiring a car is a must if you want to see the best of Launceston in just under two days. Avis have some great value vehicles available and make it easy to pick up and drop off your car at Launceston airport.