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.
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..."
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!
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.
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).
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.
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!
This is where most folks will end up in - the pool! I was in the Gorge on a Sunday. The city itself was as dead as a catacomb and wham! we ran into the entire populace of Launceston here.
The landscape around the Basin features picnic spots, a restaurant, cafes, souvenir shops and surprise, surprise, peacocks!! I thought I was dreaming to see them here in the Gorge.
There is a carpark here as well for folks who do not wish to enter the reserve via walking. It has been advised that you could enter the carpark from the city by following York Street, Hillside Crescent, Broughham Street and then Basin Road. Parking fees apply.
There is a Chair lift here which crosses the basin in about 6 minutes. Imagine yourself walking on air for A$5 adults (circa 2001) There is also a concrete causeway for crossing the river. It's closed during flooding.
Upsteam of the First Basin is the Alexandra Suspension Bridge. If you are feeling a little adventurous, cross the Gorge on what is known locally as "the swinging bridge"! This masterful piece of 19th century engineering was opened in 1904. It was washed away by the Great Flood of 1929 but restored a few years later. The bridge was named after Queen Alexandra, consort to King Edward VII. Crossing it will provide you with fine views on both sides of the gorge. From near the bridge, you can make your way up to either the Alexandra Lookout or the Cataract Lookout for a birdeye's view.
For those still keen to walk on, it is possible to continue on walking tracks to reach the Second Basin further up in the gorge, as well as Duck Reach. 45 minutes each way. (Duck Reach is the site of the first municipal hydroelectric power station in Australia and had provided power from 1895 to 1955)
I did not do this section.
This is the other track in-and-out of the reserve. This southern trail has some steep climbs as it passes along the top of the cliffs and so is the more difficult of the 2. The journey takes 60-90 minutes to complete but you are handsomely rewarded with great views of the city of Launceston as well as that of the Tamar River.
The mine at Beaconsfiled was one of the richest in history. 21 tons of gold has been taken from it. By the late 19th century there were 32 companies operating here. The mine was closed in 1889 due to flooding. A huge pump was brought from England and the mine re-opened in 1897 but flooding was still a problem as the miners went deeper. The mine was forced to close. It re-opened again in 1999 until the disaster on April 25 2006, where three miners were trapped in a mine collapse. One miner lost his life and the other two survived underground for 2 weeks before being rescued on May 9th 2006.
In 1972 the local people founded the Grubb Shaft Gold & Heritage Museum. The Beaconsfield Gold Mine donated the ruined Grubb Shaft engine house as a home for the museum in 1982. The name was changed to the Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre in 2008.
The heritage centre is very interesting and, when I visited in November 2006, was being updated to include interactive exhibits.
The Tamar River is a 70km long estuary formed by the meeting of the North and South Esk Rivers where Launceston is situated. The resulting valley is extremely fertile and produces many crops - arguably the most important being some of Tasmania's famous wines.
The scenery of the valley is beautiful. You can drive along the banks or take a boat. There are many restaurants and galleries to visit as well.
A great day trip from Launceston.
The Batman Bridge
This amazing road bridge was the world's first cable-stayed truss bridge when built in 1968. It is located 30km north of Launceston and worth a visit on your Tamar Valley trip.
The original old seaport of Launceston has been developed into a fantastic marina complex. It boasts a 90 berth marina, apartments and restaurants. There is an extensive boardwalk. connecting all the facets of the precinct.
Spend some time wandering around on the boardwalk taking in the atmosphere, dine in one of the restaurants or get some fish and chips to east while walking to board yu River Cruise boat.
Tamar River Cruises is one of the companies that offer a selection of cruises on the river. I enjoyed a cruise that included some city sights, a sail past the larger vessels in the function seaport and a trip up Cataract Gorge. It was a very wet day and some images are scanned from old negatives.
Woolmers Estate hasn been continuously owned by the Archer family from 1817 to 1994. It is also the home of the National Rose Garden. The large central garden is known as the George
Adams Memorial Garden. Adams, the founder of Tattersall's (Australia's lottery and gaming organisation) was a major sponsor.
There is self contained accommodation availble on the estate in several cottages built by convicts in 1840.
The Estate and Rose garden are open from 10am to 4.30pm every day except Christmas Day.
Clarendon - known as the 'grandest' colonial house in the colony is set in 7 hectares of parkland. It was the centre of the large pastoral business of James Cox and the house was built in 1823.
The house, servants quarters and grounds are open from 10am to 4pm every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Good Friday.