Launceston is the major city in the north of Tasmania and is also the third oldest city in the whole of Australia.
Launceston was explored by Bass and Flinders in 1798, although it was founded by Patersonia, and primarily named after its founder. The name changed in 1907 when the Governor King (whose name was Launceston) was born in Launceston, Cornwall, England, on the Tamar River.
The history can be seen in its beautiful old buildings and streetscapes dating from early Colonial and convict times to Georgian and Victorian eras.
Today these buildings are much valued by the community and admired by visitors, housing fashionable restaurants, cafes, banks, boutiques and high-tech businesses. Enjoy an enviable way of life that is at once relaxing and invigorating, a lifestyle centred around a climate similar to the south of France, the great outdoors, a vibrant events calendar and arts scene and our world-renowned local food and wine.
The landscape around Launceston is very attractive, with the nearby Cataract Gorge being an absolute must, due to its splendour and beauty. It is situated on the South Esk River banks and makes up part of a nature reserve. There are several walking tracks around the gorge, which are all under an hour and well worth it. The gorge is also spectacular at night when it is beautifully lit up.
There are also a number of wonderful parks around the city, with pretty gardens, fountains and other attractions. These include City Park, Prince's Square, Punchbowl Reserve, Royal Park, Trevallyn Recreation Area and Windmill Reserve. There are also some architecturally interesting buildings around the city, featuring beautiful Georgian style. You will also find the last remaining genuine period shop in the whole of Tasmania, called the Old Umbrella Shop, which still sells umbrellas.
Other interesting places include the National Automobile Museum, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery and the Penny Royal World. All offer interesting displays and can fill a whole day. There is also a great tour of the city and the surrounding area provided by the Coach Tram Tour Company.
There are a number of interesting places to visit around Launceston. Heading north you will come to Lilydale and the Lilydale Falls Reserve. There are a couple of spectacular waterfalls in the park, as well as camping facilities. East from Launceston is another National Park, the Ben Lomond National Park. The park incorporates the Ben Lomond Range and is a popular place for skiing in the winter and wildflowers in the spring.
South of Launceston is Evandale which hosts some fabulous old buildings, set amongst the beautiful South Esk Valley. However, for truly amazing architectural splendour head a little further south and you will get to the beautiful Clarendon Mansion. Longford is east of Evandale and also offers historical estates which you can tour around. Further north is Hadspen, again with some historical buildings and the rather grand Entally House. There is also a rather old and pretty mill, called the Carrick Mill, and a rather unique art gallery, called the Tasmanian Copper Gallery.
West is Westbury offering many attractions, including Pearn's Steam World, and the exciting Westbury Maze. Also popular is the White House, which exhibits a selection of colonial objects. South is the marvellous Liffey Valley home to the extremely beautiful Liffey Falls. The rainforest reserve is set near the Great Western Tiers and is a remarkable place to visit.
There are plenty of places to stay around Launceston, including bed and breakfasts, hostels and hotels. There are also a wide range of places that you can eat out both in the day and the evening. Entertainment is also good with a number of bands performing in a selection of the pubs and venues around the city. The local bus company is run by the Metro, although services for other areas in Tasmania are covered by Tasmania Redline Coaches (TRC) and Tasmanian Wilderness Travel (TWT).
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