Launceston Things to Do

  • Chapel - Entally House
    Chapel - Entally House
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  • Endangered green and gold frog
    Endangered green and gold frog
    by iandsmith
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Most Recent Things to Do in Launceston

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    What's in a name

    by iandsmith Written Dec 25, 2011

    Batman Faulkner Inn - This was originally known as the Cornwall Hotel and it was here that John Batman and his friends met and decided to cross Bass Strait and establish the new colony which would eventually become Melbourne.

    The ex Cornwall Hotel
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    Holy Trinity Church

    by iandsmith Updated Dec 24, 2011

    This was quite the prettiest sight I saw in Launceston but it would appear, as with many churches across the world, that there is a struggle to maintain interest as indicated by the following:
    Holy Trinity has represented the more traditional Anglo-Catholic style of the Anglican Church within Launceston. As such Holy Trinity has maintained a via media approach to worship within the Anglican Church tradition, worshipping God through proclaiming the gospel and administering the means of Grace through our liturgical, missional , doctoral and pastoral ministry.
    Holy Trinity is a city church, that seeks to address the spiritual needs of the CBD. Holy Trinity's outreach transcends its formal parish boundary and the congregation is drawn by its pastoral care as well as family connections. Its Anglo-Catholic nature is embodied in its worship style, music and celebration of the sacraments. The provision of weekday Eucharists and quiet times of prayer are also a feature of Holy Trinity.
    The Parish is keen not to be seen as a Museum, but as an evolving expression of Anglo-Catholic worship.
    Sadly, I suspect its historical roots may, in time, be of more interest to the general public. Its origins date back to 1838.

    Holy Trinity Church View of the side entrance
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    Macquarie House - history for the taking

    by iandsmith Written Dec 24, 2011

    Macquarie House, which was built in the Launceston in the Civic Square in1830, is an historic Georgian building which housed the chandler who supplied the Batman and Fawkner expeditions that ultimately established Melbourne in Victoria.
    These days its future is in the balance.

    Macquarie House Side view of Macquarie House
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    Customs House

    by iandsmith Written Dec 24, 2011

    The fine Custom House, with its elegant portico and Corinthian columns, reminds one of Launceston's role in the mining boom of the 1880s. Ore from the rich tin mine (harking back to Cornwall origins) at Mt Bischoff was processed in the town, plus, Launceston supplied the mine fields on the west coast. Trade flourished due to its proximity on the Tamar, and the customs duties contributed to a booming Tasmanian economy.

    The Customs House
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    Cataract Gorge revisited

    by iandsmith Written Dec 24, 2011

    Cataract Gorge Reserve, or ""The Gorge"" as the locals call it, is a unique natural formation within a two-minute drive of central Launceston, albeit over a steep hill.
    In 15 minutes you can walk from the city centre along the banks of the Tamar River into Cataract Gorge.
    From here there's a pathway along the cliff face, originally built in the 1890s, looking down onto the South Esk River. The main Kings Bridge over the gorge was floated into place in 1867.
    The First Basin, on the southern side, features a swimming pool and an open area surrounded by bushland.
    In contrast, the shady northern side, called the Cliff Grounds, is a Victorian manicured garden where tall trees lord over ferns and exotic plants - nature is enhanced by art. There's a Restaurant and kiosk, rolling lawns and a rotunda, a pub with a view and a footbridge and chairlift to return across the river, peacocks everywhere, wallabies at dusk. Some argue it may be the nation's most alluring urban reserve though personally I favour Kings Park in Perth.
    Further upstream is the historic Duck Reach Power Station, now an Interpretation Centre. This is reached by a trail claimed to be for hikers only but it's a relatively easy and flat track.
    The Launceston City Council originally commissioned the Power Station in 1893, making it the largest hydro-electric scheme of its day. By 1895 it was lighting the city but got into decline when it was flooded out on two occasions.
    You can use the loop trail which goes up steeply and then it's all downhill to the park; or you can return via the easy track.
    There is a restaurant on both sides and wheelchairs will find joy here as well. Great place to spend an hour or more.

    Peacocks in the gardens Looking back from the penstock (pipe) Streamlet on the return One of the two swinging bridges across the gorge Penstock (pipe) that used to carry water power st
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    Princes Square

    by iandsmith Written Dec 24, 2011

    Set aside as a park in 1826 but not developed as a park until the late 1850s.
    It features lots of trees dating back to the 1800s, some planted by members of the Royal family, yet still retains its original layout.
    Prince's Square was originally a brickfield and a venue of past military drills and rowdy political meetings.
    Now it is a historic park that includes mature trees, many planted by royalty, and an internationally significant fountain which was produced in the 1850s by the Val d-Osne Foundry in France, and statue a of Dr William Russ Pugh, the first to use general anaesthetic in the Southern Hemisphere for a surgical operation.

    The fountain
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    Tamar Wetlands Centre

    by iandsmith Written Nov 21, 2011

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    I’d stopped for the night in the Tamar Wetlands Centre carpark, thinking I’d have quick look around in the morning and head off. As 12.30 p.m. rolled around I figured I’d blown my time schedule. Still, I’d been shown the endangered green and gold frog by an enthusiastic volunteer and was then shown a copperhead snake just 20 metres away and was told others are often seen here on the boardwalk. I readily understood why the frogs might be endangered but she didn’t get the connection.
    That episode and the copulating mud-caked swans flaying away on the river bank made my experience at this great facility interesting to say the least.

    Remains of an old dredge Endangered green and gold frog Patterns at low tide Copulating swans Near the bird hide
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    Don't miss the Lavenders if you get a chance!

    by xuessium Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    DISCLAIMER: I never made it here.

    On my most recent trip to Launceston, I was hoping that the late November-early December period visit will finally allow me to visit the famous Bridestowe Lavender Estate in Nabowla.

    Alas, I was to be cruelly denied again. The lavender was still green and thus there were no interest in the day tour offered by Tiger Wilderness Tours and with public transport crippling on weekends...guess fate has decided that I will never get to see the famed purple fields.

    If you are ever in Launceston from mid Dec-early Jan (very narrow window), don't forget to pop by. I always love the smell of Lavender and imagine an endless field of royal purple - I'm salivating at the thought of photographic opportunities!

    Note: Tiger Wilderness seems to be the only tour agency running day tours to Bridestowe. The other best way of getting to the fields is by self-drive.

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    The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery

    by xuessium Updated Apr 4, 2011

    The QVMAG was established in 1895 and claims to be the largest institution of its kind in Australia located outside a capital city.

    I missed out a visit to the Museum in 2001 as my travelling mates then, were not museum fans.

    At the time of my visit (Dec 08), the Royal Park site, which also houses the Planetarium, is closed as the Museum prepares to move to its new Inveresk site.

    The current Inveresk site does not house a full collection, and is unfortunately, rather more patchwork-like as the museum is being moved portion by portion. Then said, I enjoyed the limited but interesting exhibits....ranging from a science corner for kids, a concise exhibit on Australian dinosaurs to a compact collection of Tasmanian art.

    The most interesting exhibits were the preserved Blacksmith Shops, which once housed the largest integrated engineering workshops in the State supporting a variety of industries aside from the once important railway system. The workshops have been preserved as if time has suddenly stopped. Many of the tools and equipment were strewn about as if the owners will be returning soon after a coffee break. (There are canned sounds echoing through the workshop of workers hard at work, and despite a strong sun outside, it is amusingly eerie to be standing in the middle of a large workshop alone, listening to the sounds of people who are not there) Take your time weaving your way through from stop to stop.

    Entry to the museum is free.

    10 am to 5 pm daily
    Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day.

    QVMAG
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    Take a Ride on the Longest Span Chairlift!

    by saraheg77 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    My mom and I quite enjoyed the lovely views of Cataract Gorge that we saw while riding the chairlift over the gorge. It opens every day at 9am (except Christmas) and costs $7.50 per adult for a return trip. The photo on my main Launceston page is a view from the chairlift. It might be a bit scary for any afraid of heights, but was a great trip for us!

    A history of the lift from their website:

    'In 1972, a magnificent chairlift was built spanning the huge natural basin filled by the surging waters of the South Esk River. The chairlift is unique as it contains in its length, the longest single chairlift span in the world, some 308 metres and the views gained from the ride across are completely breathtaking. The chairlift covers some 457 metres. The central span of 308 metres is believed to be the longest single chairlift span in the world. Seating is designed for complete safety and includes a safety bar which can be operated by either the passenger or attendant. The slow speed of the chairlift enables passengers to appreciate fully and photograph the spectacular views of this ancient rock gorge..."

    Chairlift Entrance! View from the beginning Looking at the lift Another view coming back
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    Cataract Gorge - Suspension Bridge

    by ATXtraveler Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    On our first day of vacation, we were in downtown Launceston and decided to go to the Cataract Gorge for a morning walk. As we entered the park, we walked to the park's suspension bridge, which offers a great view of the Gorge, the Chairlift, the picnic area, and the small pond created by the flow of the river.

    The bridge spans over the Esk River which has created the gorge over these years. At times, the river will flood making the bridge the best way to access the other side of the reserve.

    This is definitely one of the best views of nature available within the city limits of Launceston,.... enjoy it!

    Suspension Bridge - Cataract Gorge
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    Park No.1: The lovely gardens of City Park

    by xuessium Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This park occupies a space in the heart of every habitant of Launceston I am sure. Not only it is big, it is very beautiful and thus is popular with both locals and visitors.

    Giant trees offered welcoming shades for lovely picnic spots. Pixies of water from fountains danced among the splashes of colours from the floral blooms. Folks who love gardens will like City Park.

    You will also find John Hart Conservatory within the park, filled with blooms of a more exotic nature.

    A great place to take a breather, enjoy nature, watch the world go by or play a game of chess with large wooden pieces. (I won by the way)

    The park is open all year round. Entry is free.

    CityPark-JohnHartConservatory
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    Park No.3: Prince's Square

    by xuessium Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    I hate to be one of those "tips whore" who puts up pointless rubbish. This is the 3rd and the last of the parks tip.

    Not as grand as City Park and not as scenic as Kings Park, Princes Square nonethless is a welcome sight among the labyrinth of city dwellings in the middle of the city. Come in here to take a break (not that Launceston is rushing off anywhere), enjoy a walk on the grass, enjoy the serenity before you move on to your next destination.

    Address: Main Entrance, corner of St John Street and Elizabeth Street, Launceston.
    Open: All year round
    Facilities: gardens, fountain, toilets (including disabled toilet).

    Prince'sSquare
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    Cataract Gorge Reserve: Kings Bridge

    by xuessium Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The bridge marks the end of the Tamar River and the start of the South Esk River running through Cataract Gorge.

    Kings Bridge was floated into place in 1867. It is a timber structure with typically 1940's white railing, and a steel girder railway bridge on a higher level.

    From here, it is just a simply walk across the bridge to enter Cataract Gorge.

    Entry into the reserve is free.
    Opened 7 days a week.

    KingsBridge
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    Cataract Gorge Reserve: Cataract Walk

    by xuessium Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Starting from Kings Bridge, if you choose to take the Cataract Walk first (one of the 2 main walks in and out of the reserve on either side of the gorge), it will lead you into the First Basin, which is filled with water from the South Esk River. This northern trail is the easier of the 2 trails. (It took local residents 8 years to hack the path through the cliffs) This walk will take you about 30 minutes.

    Along the journey, you will enjoy great stunning views of the high-rising cliffs. The very first thing you will come across will be the Caretaker's Cottage (see attached photo). There are pavilions along the way if you want to take a rest.

    The First Basin is the first place you can take a plunge into the water but be-warned: It can be very cold. Most folks will go to the concrete pools instead but that have not stopped kids and adolescents from cannon-balling into the waters below!

    CataractGorgeCataractWalk
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