Launceston (‘Lonnie’ to locals) squats in a basin where the North and South Esk rivers meet to form the Tamar River. It’s Tasmania’s second-largest city, but maintains an unconcerned, big-country-town pace. Hobart is far more cosmopolitan, but Launceston’s remarkable stock of Victorian, Federation, Edwardian and Art Deco houses is the rival of any Australian city.
Like most Tasmanian towns, early Launceston was anything but refined. When the Reverend Horton visited in 1822, he wrote to his superiors: ‘The wickedness of the people of Launceston exceeds all description. If you could witness the ignorance, blasphemy, drunkenness, adultery and vice of every description, you would use every effort to send them more missionaries.’ It’s still a vaguely pugilistic town – there seem to be as many bikers and shirtless, shouting drunks as police – but the University of Tasmania, some great restaurants and regularly scheduled AFL football games are infusing the place with a more worldly outlook.
See www.discoverlaunceston.com for more Lonnie low-down.
Top nine experiences in Tasmania
Tasmania is still Australia, but beguilingly and bewitchingly it’s just that little bit different. It’s compact enough to ‘do’ in a few weeks and layered enough to keep bringing you back.
Australia - Tasmania (Chapter)
Tasmania is compact enough to ‘do’ in a few weeks and layered enough to keep bringing you back. Look forward to plentiful wildlife and vast tracts of virgin wilderness, superb gourmet food and wine, a flourishing arts scene and impressive colonial architecture.
Launceston destination guides
Explore the very unique land, people and spirit of Tasmania on this fantastic comfort tour. Encounter unique wildlife, soak up the penal history of Port Arthur, wander the iconic Wine Glass Bay and be amazed by the lush beauty of Cradle Mountain. Hit the seas and sail around Bruny Island, visit charming towns and indulge in fresh produce along the way.
4-Day Tasmania East Coast Tour from Launceston: Bay of Fires, Port Arthur and Hobart
Spend four days exploring Tasmania’s east coast highlights, from Launceston’s Cataract Gorge to one of the world’s most beautiful beaches at Wineglass Bay. You’ll meet Tasmanian devils, visit classic colonial towns and tour the World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site, where you can upgrade to include the atmospheric Ghost Tour.