Things to do in Launceston: Where to Eat, Drink, Stay and Play
The range of things to do in Launceston is vibrant and varied. It's a city of heritage buildings, wilderness, vibrant food and wine and it's all waiting to be explored.
It’s an open secret that Tasmania is a haven for gastronomic delights, but slow-burning Launceston has only recently secured its place as a culinary cut above the rest. Named recently as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, ‘Launnie’ has well and truly stepped out from the shadows of Tasmania’s creative capital Hobart.
Situated in northern Tasmania, a region overflowing with farmers, winemakers, chefs, brewers, distillers, and producers, Launceston has fast become a travel hub for one of our country’s oldest food bowls. But it's also a little charmer, bursting with lush parks, historic (and often steep) streetscapes and scenic views aplenty, stunning accommodation, and of course, the alluring Cataract Gorge.
Read on for our suggestion of the best things to do in Launceston.
Things to do in Launceston: Eat
Food designed for sharing and a wine list designed to discover new favourites – including its own Two Tonne Tasmania and Havilah wines – Havilah is a compact and stylish wine bar that settled into Launceston’s dynamic food and wine scene in 2020. Havilah’s wine list is encouraging of Tasmanian and grower-producer labels, accompanied by an enticing grazing menu that is driven by local and seasonal produce, from free-range and wild meats, to luscious local cheeses. Stop for some Tasmanian scallops with nduja, fresh oysters or a simple dish of zesty white beans with your vino, or stay longer for the full ‘Let Us Feed You’ selection.
178 Charles Street, Launceston
Bread + Butter
This well-loved café in Launceston is aptly named for the sourdough and small-batch butter it makes in-house. With small batch factory Tasmanian Butter Company on-site, Bread + Butter pair fresh buttery croissants, pastries and sourdough toasties with some really fantastic Single O coffee. Serving up both breakfast and lunch to the devoted masses, the heartier fare on the menu is equally as inspired as their baked offerings. Feast on French toast with espresso butter and house-made pies and quiches to simple omelettes with lashings of parmesan and crispy bacon.
70 Elizabeth Street, Launceston
Housed in a historic flour mill on the banks of kanamaluka/Tamar River, Stillwater is a highly regarded and awarded local institution that focuses heavily on local produce. With conversations flowing between the Stillwater team and local producers, you can expect the very best of local seasonal produce here wrapped up in a highly creative menu that caters for all — with vegetarian/vegan and kids menus available too. Once tummies are filled, you can roll yourself upstairs to their deluxe accommodation at Stillwater Seven. It's far and away one of the best things to do in Launceston.
2 Bridge Road, Launceston
Things to do in Launceston: Drink
What this cosy hole-in-the-wall bar lacks in size it makes up for with plentiful Tasmanian wines, whiskies and gin. Bar Two (which stands for Tasmanian wines only) is where you go to get a sense, and a taste, of the spectrum of wines on offer in the state, from both well-seasoned winemakers to boundary-pushing newcomers. Settle in to the intimate and unpretentious venue for a cheese platter and oysters, or tuck into one of their sourdough pizzas.
47A Brisbane Street, Launceston
Just south of Launceston, nestled into stunning surrounds, sits the award-winning Josef Chromy winery, often touted as one of Australia’s best. Book a wine tasting in the cellar door, surrounded by century-old landscaped gardens, before heading to the well-awarded on-site restaurant to taste the best of the region’s produce.
370 Relbia Road, Relbia
Things to do in Launceston: Stay
For a luxe stay close to the CBD of Launceston, it’s hard to go past Stillwater Seven. Housed in a historic 1830s flour mill and walking distance from everything, it has a pristine outlook over kanamaluka/River Tamar. Step inside to experience one of the seven carefully designed, moodily-hued rooms sitting pretty above Stillwater restaurant. You're well placed for the best of both worlds and may not want to leave; in fact, the full taste and breadth of things to do in Launceston can practically be discovered from within!
Oh, did we mention the full restaurant menu from Stillwater below is available as room service? Yes, that's right, an indulgent three-course meal can be had while kicking back in the bathtub. Bliss!
2 Bridge Road, Launceston
The Stable Lofts
Just 15 minutes out of Launceston lies this dreamy escape, nestled in the lush gardens of a historic estate. The Stable Lofts, with their mud-brick walls adorned by timber, are a gloriously rustic country home away from home. Collect free-range eggs and herbs for your breakfast and enjoy the complimentary hot cocoa and marshmallows by the fire pit in the evening.
1 Church Street, Carrick
In the heart of Launceston lies the city's newest boutique hotel, Hotel Verge. Warm timber walls offset exposed concrete ceilings in the industrial heritage that has been retained, while dark fit-outs and furnishings make for an instant modern-cosy ambience. The on-site restaurant offers up seasonal menus for breakfast and dinner. If you fancy venturing out to feast, the hotel is just a hop, skip and a walk from everything else in Launceston CBD.
50 Tamar Street, Launceston. Book here
Things to do in Launceston: Play
No trip to Launnie would be complete without a visit to the city’s very own river gorge - Cataract Gorge. A short walk from the city will have you reach this cliff-laden bush reserve along the North Esk River. Among the resident peacocks and pademelons, you can join the locals and journey down the path for a cool swim in the swimming pool, walk along one of the many trails catering for all abilities, or catch the panoramic views from both the suspension bridge and the world’s longest single span chairlift.
Launnie locals’ favourite Saturday morning ritual is a perfect way to delight in all that the city has to offer from its surrounding producers. Harvest Market is far and away one of the best markets in Launceston. Pick up breakfast from one of the food vans, a coffee from Ritual Coffee and then wind your way through the many providores bearing some of the best of the fresh. From nuts and cheeses, meats and vegetables, gin and cider, fungi and flowers, Harvest Market is a weekend sensory feast.
71 Cimitiere Street, Launceston
It’s no secret that Tasmania is home to some talented makers and artisans, and at the non-profit Design Tasmania you can walk the architecturally splendid rooms to explore their very worthy showcase of craftsmanship. The permanent Wood Collection exhibition is of particular note, while at The Store you’ll find a huge range of furniture, homewares, jewellery and other handmade wares to shop in-store or online.
Corner of Brisbane Street & Tamar Street
Tamar Valley Wine Trail
Meander through the scenic Tamar Valley, just 15 minutes outside of Launceston, to enjoy some of the 32 vineyards with cellar doors. Considered one of the world’s best wine routes, you’ll find a mix of large and boutique vineyards, many specialising in the region’s celebrated cool climate wines, notably Pinot Noir and sparkling.
Open 7 days