When we decided to go to Launceston it was just to find accommodation, as a good base to drive around and explore the north western area of Tasmania.
We thought it was a boring provincial town and did not plan to spend too much time there.
The truth is it is a provincial town, even though it is the second largest city in Tasmania and the third oldest in Australia.
But it is not boring.
If you do your research before going there you'll come up with a good list of things to do.
View of the city
Actually we didn't have any list. This was wrong. We assumed things would come our way and we would just do them. They did come our way but they were too many and hard to choose when you don't know what to expect.
Here's what we did:
Here is what we missed and shouldn't have:
All that is now our list for the next visit.
If you are studying architecture then Launceston is the city that offers you a beautiful range of different styles to compare and understand your topic better.
If, like us, you are not studying architecture, the city opens your eyes to what you could see if you travelled around the world and...back in time, if that was possible.
Quirky art deco buildings claim their status near sturdy Georgian and majestic, asymmetrical and decorative Victorian ones.
It is an oasis of silence and peace...with a canon in the middle. I'm sure it is there to tell a story about an era gone by.
City park entrance
It is very green with beautiful flowers, nice gazebos plus the Japanese Macaque monkeys on show. We didn't see them because visiting the City park was not on our list. We went there too late, when the Macaques were taking their dinner or nap or whatever essential activities a Macaque does when they are out of sight.
But we saw a lovely duck pond. Its residents were happily and freely wondering around.
Cataract gorge, view from the cataract walk
You thought you were in the city and everything was urbanised? Not in Launceston. Wilderness is just a 15 minutes walk from the centre of the town, with a stunning gorge and high cliffs rising well above the South Esk River.
Scroll down and click on the gorge thumbnail to read more about this amazing attraction.
Actually in Launceston it is more platefuls than nibbles. We knew that many travellers go there for the cheese, the organic beef, the fresh prawns, the local beer and wine.
Food is really beautiful. We tried both the cheap, and the more expensive options.
Food Hall seafood dish
There was nothing wrong with the cheap one. On the contrary, it was unexpectedly good. You can't go past Morty's Food Hall (25 Wellington Street) if you want to dine out well and save your money. It is right in the centre of the town and open late for dinner, which is rather unusual for a food court. There are various outlets there so you are sure to find the cuisine of your choice.
Jail House Grill chicken
The next day we tried the Jail House Grill, just across the street from Morty's. With bars and grills at the windows and the prison decor, the place validates its convict history and its name. The food is fabulous and extremely good value with "all you can eat help yourself" salads to go with all mains.
Salmon at Mercure Hotel
On day three of our stay in Launceston we had a grand finale dinner at the Mercure hotel and indulged in fresh and zesty bruschetta followed by delicious fresh salmon, watered down with a full-bodied Tasmanian pinot griggio.
What we initially took for a boring city was a great experience and a feast for the senses.
Read more about Launceston, its attractions, accommodation and other places to visit while you are there. Click on the images below:
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