We were delighted to have an excuse to get over to Launceston, Tasmania last week, thanks to an invitation to talk at the state Tourism Industry Council Conference. Leaving the kids behind we had a great time exploring the North East corner of Tasmania.
According to Tasmania.com, Launceston city is built at the juncture of the North Esk, South Esk, and Tamar rivers, and is the second largest city in Tasmania after the state capital Hobart.
The north of Tasmania is well known for its sweeping valleys, vast farmland and historic cities. It has a lively yet laid-back, traditional while contemporary feel, and finds itself temptingly close to the Tamar Valley Wine Trail and all the delicious Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs that come with it.
We had to find out for ourselves, so here’s what we got up to;
First on our list was Cataract Gorge, and we were not disappointed, in fact I think this just set us up for a fantastic couple of days and I was in a daze from the natural beauty and continued see everything from here on in with rose coloured glasses. The Gorge has a number if accessible features, including an inclinator (an outdoor elevator that transcends on an incline) that takes you into the heart of the gorge. There is an accessible bathroom, an inclusive swing, compacted pathways around the first basin and suspension bridge. The full loop of the pathway is moderately steep in some parts and the bridge is narrow. Don’t let this deter you because there is still a lot of exploring to do, so grab a coffee and enjoy the thunderous sounds of the river following through and enjoy the abundance of wildlife. Last but not least, if you can transfer and support yourself, grab a ticket to the chairlift and soak up the view from in the tree tops, just make sure you don’t have any lose items on you!
It was time for a coffee stop before we headed back to Country Club Tasmania for our presentation at the conference, so we dropped past Stillwater, the accessible entrance is around the back, or you can rug up and sit in the outdoor terrace. It is worth it for the coffee and the view.
The Country Club accommodation was spacious, however our room was a long walk on carpet from the reception, so our tip would be to ask for the closest accessible room.
We did enjoy a great steak at a restaurant that shall not be named, because….sigh it was one of those places that was accessible once you got up the front step! However Alchemy, on George st, specialise in local craft beers/ciders and Tasmanian produce, delivered a great dinner for us.
We had a hard time deciding what to do on our last day, unfortunately time and weather didn’t enable us to get to Cradle Mountain, but that just meant we got to get upclose to a platypus at Playtpus House and enjoy some fine produce from Morse Hill Vineyard and Josef Chromy. Josef Chromy was amazing! We feasted on the cured meat platter and washed it down with a glass of sparkling, this is a fantastic place to be if you are celebrating a special occasion.
We hired a car (and highly recommend you do so otherwise you will spend a fortune on taxis), and as we were driving around the green countryside we could see the smoke billowing out of the homesteads and it seemed to me that their home fires would stay burning now until winter is passed. One last tour through a little town of Evandale, home to quaint antique shops, the pub looked inviting but we had a plane to catch.
Launceston has plenty to offer for those who find themselves in the beautiful northern part of the island. From stunning natural beauty to a charming old-timely atmosphere, this city can satisfy any traveller looking for a place to step back and relax. I just wished we had more time!
Feature photo from Playtpus House.