48 Hours in Launceston

Set off on an exciting adventure in Launceston, where nature's wonders await. With animal encounters, waterfront walks and scenic beauty all around, Launceston is the perfect place for a fun family holiday. We’ve listed the top spots to visit for a weekend getaway in the leafy city.

cataract gorge
Natural Beauty in Launceston

Start your morning in Launceston with a short walk from the city to the iconic Cataract Gorge. Although the Gorge is located just outside the urban centre, you’ll feel a world away. With rugged cliff faces, lush greenery and sparkling waterways, the unique natural landform is a must-see while in Launceston. While here, hop aboard the famous Gorge Scenic Chairlift and enjoy a ten-minute ride over the basin, enjoying the scenic views of the greenery and the flowing South Esk River. Walk along the historic 60-metre swinging bridge, visit the Duck Reach Power Station Museum and keep an eye out for native birds, mammals and fish. Bring a packed lunch and pause at the playground for a picnic amongst the beautiful scenery, or enjoy a meal with a view at The Basin Cafe. After a morning surrounded by natural beauty, a drive to the Tasmania Zoo in Riverside calls for an afternoon filled with wildlife adventures. Here, you’ll see both exotic and native creatures, including the Tasmanian Devil, little penguin and Sumatran tiger.

tasmania zoo
Animal Encouters

Spending your afternoon exploring the zoo is a great way to listen to feeder talks and get up close to wildlife. Stop in at the Meerkat Munchies cafe if the kids get hungry and pop by the gift shop on your way out to pick up a souvenir. If there’s still some time left in the day before settling in for dinner, continue your wildlife adventure at the Tamar Island Wetlands Centre, a 20-minute drive in your Dollar rental car from the zoo. Here, you can visit the interpretation centre to learn about the history and culture surrounding the site, or stroll along the boardwalk and try to spot some of the 60 bird species that live here. Black swans, cormorants and swamp harriers frequent the wetlands, with the white-bellied sea eagle appearing on occasion. For dinner, head back to Launceston and enjoy a meal in a family-friendly environment at Levee Food Co. A local favourite for tourists and residents alike, it’s the perfect place to end your first day in Launceston.

Platypus House
Sea Life at Beauty Point

Begin your second morning bright and early with breakfast at a local cafe. Samuel Pepy’s serves up classic dishes in an old-world environment, while a meal at Great Scot Cafe and Restaurant offers flavourful food in a vibrant setting. After your morning meal, head to the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) at Inveresk. Here, you’ll learn about Tasmanian history, discover interactive exhibits and admire art in the Royal Park Gallery. The Launceston Planetarium is also part of QVMAG, meaning the whole family can gaze in amazement at the stars. This is an indoor projected planetarium, so can be enjoyed day or night. Next, drive north along the River Tamar to reach Seahorse World in Beauty Point. As the name suggests, Seahorse World celebrates the uniqueness of the fascinating marine animals, with guided tours available to make the most out of your time here. You’ll see an array of seahorses, seadragons and native Tasmanian sea creatures here, while also learning about the lifecycle of a seahorse and the habitats they live in. Just next door, walk across to Platypus House to continue your marine adventure. Here, you’ll see platypuses and echidnas up close, with educational tours that are fun for the whole family.

Penny Royal Adventures
Historic Tasmania

After animal adventures in Beauty Point, drive back to Launceston in your rental car to spend the afternoon uncovering the history of Tasmania - or as it was known in the 1800s, Van Diemen’s Land - at Penny Royal Adventures. Here, children and adults will enjoy the various activities on hand including zip lining across the theme park, outdoor rock climbing and a high ropes cliff walk. There are also opportunities to pan for gold and fossick for gemstones at the on-site mine, and a boat journey on ‘The Dark Ride’ is a must when visiting the park. Plus, little ones can walk across a variety of terrains and textures at the Barefoot Sensation, offering an engaging sensory experience. Once you’ve explored the Penny Royal, settle in for dinner at Brady’s Tavern. Pizza, pasta and chicken parmigianas are on the menu, as well as plenty of choices for kids, making it the perfect spot to spend your last evening in Launceston. End your day with a stroll along the waterfront, admiring the sparkling city lights against the River Tamar, and pop into a local ice creamery for a sweet treat to close out your holiday. 

A weekend away in Launceston offers plenty of places to adventure and relax amongst natural beauty. With kids' attractions and entertainment, it’s the perfect destination for a family holiday. 

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