We arrived in Tassie after a heart stopping moment on the plane where we were advised that we may need to fly back through to Melbourne to be transferred into another plane! Luckily weather permit is a 5 minute window to land and we were told that other planes were being re-routed back to Melbourne for refuelling. We in fact are so lucky because we only had a weekend away and every delay would be detrimental to our plans! So we collected our bags and walked to the AutoHertz rental car booth to pick up our car. We are then on the road in our nice blue Toyota which was more powerful than we thought! All individual café or restaurant experiences are posted as a separate review otherwise, this post would just be way too long for you to read. Before we get started, Tasmania is such an amazing place to visit. You are within 3 hours driving distance to anywhere and depending on where you are located, even shorter. Everywhere we visited (except for the maze) was within roughly a 30 minute drive away. The roads are beautiful, smooth, fast and most importantly the scenery is quite amazing as you drive through the hills. Like a scene out of "The Sound of Music"!
Our First Day in Launceston
Princes Square Park had the greenest, brightest tree leaves which allowed us to have a relaxing time strolling around the small park. It’s almost unreal to see tree leaves so bright. This surely isn't something we see in Sydney.
We hadn't had anything to eat since our travel breakfast tradition (i.e. Macca's breakie) so we googled nearby cafes and decided to drop by Cocobean Café to grab coffee and at the same time, explored the Town Centre. It was pretty quiet for a Saturday which was a nice change from the hustle and bustle of Sydney.
It was time to check into our Airbnb stay at Eleanor Townhouse where we were pleasantly greeted by the owner (Rick). Rick was so friendly and gave us a tour of the townhouse. Rick was very professional from the start! He was happy with us checking in early and was so welcoming, even provided us with recommendations and offered to drop by freshly baked bread every morning! This place was amazing, we loved having our own courtyard and the loft style bedroom made our stay fee very "Victorian". Everything down to the peaceful quotes left around the house just made it that much better. We left our bags at our home and off we went to Cataract Gorge.
Cataract Gorge is only a 5-10 minute drive from the main city of Launceston. When we arrived, we saw many colourful hippie vans at the parking lot. It was an interesting experience to see so many vans each making their own statements. One thing we had to adjust to was metered parking almost everywhere in Launceston. We actually had no more coins in our wallet but luckily, some had fallen inside my bag.
Cataract Gorge is famous for it being such a large and beautiful sight to visit, but also for the world’s longest chairlift. There’s only one booth where you can purchase tickets from which is at the entrance. We decided to walk to past the suspending bridge (wobbly bridge) and saw many colourful peacocks on the way. This was perfect because we were able to catch he chairlift back to the start! It is definitely recommended and it's quite cheap as well.
In the afternoon, we stopped by Cuccina which is a highly recommended café spot from various sources so we just had to try it. If you like to read about our review of Cuccina, click here.
After Cuccina, we hopped back in the car with our sights on City Park. We visited primarily for the view. It tonour suprise we saw snow monkeys! The ones with the bright red asses! There were so many monkeys, including both adult and baby monkeys.. to make things even better the attraction is free. So far, Launceston is giving us a great lasting impression. City Park is so great for the eyes and if you’re a flower enthusiast, this is the place for you as well.
At this point, we decided to make our way back to Eleanor Townhouse to relax and unwind.
In the evening, we had tickets to Dan Hong’s Great Chef Series and when we double checked the duration printed on the ticket, we thought to ourselves it must be a printing error. The duration of our dining experience was from 6:30pm to 11:30pm. But it was and we did dine for 5 hours. That’s 5 hours of pure paradise indulging and seeing great food prepared by talented students at TasTAFE. We were also lucky enough to sample some rest local wines and see Dan Hong’s personality.. not to forget his two beautiful children either! It was an unforgettable evening.
Our second day in Launceston
We had an early morning start at Harvest Markets however after arriving back late the following night, we had a hard time waking up. To make it harder, the weather was drizzly, cloudy and was the perfect sleeping in weather. It was really relaxing staring outside our courtyard, watching the rain patter along with the sound of the fountain.
Eventually we got out of bed, got ready and made our way towards Harvest Markets which is opened every Saturday regardless of the weather. They are well prepared and have umbrellas for people to borrow within the vicinity of the markets. From prior research, we saw that there was an Okonomiyaki store which I was dying to try.
On our agenda today, we travelled out of Launceston and stopped at Grindelwald Swiss Village. It was very quiet when we arrived and wasn't sure if the place was open. There are a few stores and souvenir shops. You can play putt putt golf here, race cars around or jump on the large outdoor trampolines. If you do come here, make sure you walk to the top of the clock tower for a village view. This place was great to see but only if you have time to spare. There's not much else to explore at Grindelwald.
Next on our agenda was unknown. It was raining so we had to think of things to do in wet weather. One of the top recommended attraction for wet weather is to visit the Trevallyn Dam. When you park your car, you wouldn't know what to expect. I stepped out of the car and could only hear heavy water rushing. I felt like I was standing on top of a waterfall. It was so loud (almost scary). The view from the car park is great, but an added secret is that you can walk up the tower to get a better view of the grand dam in action. While this was an unplanned attraction, it was probably one of our favourite activities as it was a sight to be seen.
Lilydale Falls was next on the itinerary. It is located only a short drive away from Launceston and it is home to two cascading waterfalls inside the reserve. You can also pack your picnic basket as there are picnic spots along the way. If we had known, we would've packed some wine, cheese and crackers! The track is very easy, you don't need a high level of fitness to complete. In total it is only a 10 minute return walk with few steep inclines and stairs. The whole track is clearly highlighted so it is impossible to get lost! The minor effort pays off because well.. you can see for yourself how beautiful it was.
In the evening, we glammed ourselves up and dined at Black Cow Bistro which showcases premium dry aged, free range, grass fed, artificial hormone free Tasmanian beef. Without going into details, it was an unanimous decision that this is by far the BEST steak we have ever had.
Our Third Day in Launceston
I just wanted to show you the view from a nearby street in Launceston. This was only a street away from the Eleanor Townhosue. It was unarguably one the most beautiful views of the residential areas in Launceston. Our agenda today was unplanned so we were able to decide what to do. However, we were also flying out the same night so being short on time, we should stay near Launceston. Guess what? We did the complete opposite and could've missed our flight.
In the morning, we visited Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery and spent majority of the time in the interactive centre which was clearly was more for children. There's not much to do in the museum and you can explore everything in less than 20 minutes. We decided to waste no more time at the museum and made our way to a nearby park.
Kings Park is pet friendly and we had more fun watching unleashed dogs run around in the grass as their owners were walking the Ritchie Mill's walk. The weather was beautiful and clear and it was really nice to relax in the sun (finally!). We found a bench and sat there waiting for time to pass as we had a reservation at Stillwater Restaurant at 1pm.
The service at Stillwater Restaurant was notable however we wished we could say the same about their food which left much to be desired for the premium you are paying.
Remember when we said we had limited time and had to fly out at night? Well, we decided to visit Tasmazia; a crazy complex located in the wonderfully named "Promised Land" (no, not the Shire) in the heart of Tasmania's beautiful Cradle Mountain and Lakes District. Just a bit further from Tasmazia was a perfect vantage point of Cradle mountain. We so wanted to visit, as we saw the mountain for almost half the 2hr drive it took us to reach the maze and it looked spectacular. However the weather had started to cause us problems again and we lost visibility of the mountain so we decided against the idea. Tasmazia is the largest maze complex in the world. We stupidly thought we could make it through to the end within 30 minutes, but with no map to assist us this time frame was quite difficult to meet. To put it in simplistic terms, we were lost in the maze and had to follow and remember the quirky quotes located in corners to find our way out. We did manage to do it, but by two thirds a way through we thought to start running through (partially because it started to rain as well). Once we were out (and yes we did make it out, we aren't still stuck in the maze writing this article - send help - ) we found ourselves at the miniature village of colourful miniature buildlings. There's also a mini embassy section which has a beautiful backdrop of cradle mountain.
We then headed straight to the airport and made our flight back to Sydney.
Thank you Northern Tasmania Tourism for this amazing escape to Tasmania. You really did showcase the best of Launceston and we were great full for the full foodie experiences. What a trip it was and if anything, it has made us want to come back for Hobart!
We'll make sure to bring the camera with us!