Unusual Things To Do In Launceston

Launceston gets overlooked by Tasmanian visitors in favor of Hobart or the south of Tassie. You’re missing out on a lot if you only spend time in Launceston. My grandparents and I have spent most of my adult life making regular trips to Launceston, also called Launnie. This is because my great aunt and uncle live there, and we would visit them often. We also saw Uncle Owen and Aunty Nette (alongside my grandparents) around Christmas, and I was able to write this guide.

Stay at the Penny Royal Hotel

My cousins and my other great aunt and uncle visited us in Tasmania when I was very small. We all stayed at the Penny Royal in Launceston. I’ve always loved the memories of our shared villa, which overlooked the Penny Royal Adventure and the heritage buildings in Launceston.

Leisure Inn Penny Royal Hotel & Apartments is the full name. It was originally a corn mill built in 1840. The historic details are everywhere on the property. I especially love the windmill, which you could once enter, but unfortunately, not anymore. The location is excellent. The gorge, the waterfront, and the city center are all easily accessible by foot.

It was just as charming when we stayed there again with my grandmother on our last visit. It’s not a five-star hotel, but it is perfect for travelers who are looking for a comfortable bed and some history. The continental breakfasts that you can order in the morning were also a hit. If you want to stay in my top pick hotel in Launceston, book here


Penny Royal Adventures looks like a fun attraction for both kids and adults. It is a small, themed park with activities such as rock climbing or the Cliff Pass, which includes zip lines and rope bridges.

The Dark Ride is another ride that I remember from my childhood. It’s a little like a haunted house ride but on a boat. If you are traveling with kids, I would recommend that you bring them to Penny Royal Adventures. But some adults will also enjoy it!

Explore the Cataract Gorge

Cataract Gorge, also known as the South Esk River basin, is a national reserve that attracts many visitors and locals, especially during summer. Tasmanians call it ‘the Gorge’. It’s a National Reserve that surrounds the South Esk River basin. There are beautiful gardens, cafes, and a swimming pool, as well as walking trails, lookout points, and a scenic chairlift.

Dennis and I walked over the King’s Bridge, past the King’s Bridge Cottage, and onto the trail that runs along the river to get to the gorge. The walk from the Penny Royal to the main valley takes about 15-20 minutes. Locals often swim in the river or at the public pool. This is a perfect spot for a picnic or a relaxing day in nature. Watch out for peacocks, who will steal your food with a smile if they get the chance.

Visit the Museums

There are many excellent museums to visit in Launceston, but the most impressive is the Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery. This museum is the largest in Australia that’s not in the capital! The QVMAG has two locations, one in the center of Launceston (pictured above) and another a little further away, at Inveresk. If you are interested in art, you should go to the gallery. If you are interested in history or natural science, you should visit Inveresk.

The National Automobile Museum of Tasmania has an impressive collection of motorbikes and old cars. This is the only museum in Tasmania that has a collection of old cars and motorbikes.

Franklin House, located in the outer reaches (technically Franklin) of Launceston, is a restored convict-built house from 1838. The rooms are displayed to tell the story of the house through the years. It was once a colonial school and is now a beautiful place to enjoy high tea.

Enjoy Delicious Food

You won’t go hungry in Launceston, as there are many excellent restaurants, cafés, and other dining options. Stillwater, one of Launceston’s most luxurious restaurants, is located just across the street from the Penny Royal. The Penny Royal Hotel has a great restaurant, the King’s Bridge Bar & Restaurant.

You can find the best coffee in Launceston and delicious cafe food (including an all-day breakfast). This café also fosters a strong sense of community. If you love the local farmer’s market, then head over to Harvest Launceston for fresh ingredients and delicious treats that can be eaten on the spot.

Every second Sunday, World Street Eats Launceston offers a wide variety of international cuisines, from Spanish to Swedish and Korean food.

The James Boag Brewery in Launceston is a must for beer lovers. Boags beer fans in the north of Tasmania have a fierce rivalry with those who prefer Cascade. I, however, always chose Boags. The brewery is open for tours, and you can enjoy a pint, some pizza, or some sharing platters at the bar.

See the Japanese Macaques

The city park is a great place to go to see some Japanese Macaques. They are also known as Snow Monkeys. The Japanese Macaques have been in the park for many years. I remember seeing them when I was a child.

Now that I’ve done the research, I discovered that there used to be a wide variety of animals in the park, including (now extinct) Thylacine deer, bears, wallabies, and Rhesus Monkeys. After the monkeys died, Ikeda, Launceston’s Japanese sister city, donated Macaques that adapted to Tassie, a mainly wet and cold climate. The original ten are now 20. Launceston donated wallabies as well to Ikeda. It is free to see the Macaques!


My next two places are outside of Launceston but are well worth the extra drive! Beauty Point is located about 45 minutes up the Tamar River and has two amazing attractions right next to each other. You can only see echidnas and platypuses in Tassie at the Platypus House.

In Tasmania, you can see wild echidnas and platypuses. However, platypuses are shy, reclusive, and solitary. Since it was in a stream, I could only see the top of the head. We used to see them in our garden and on the streets of Orford. But for visitors to Australia/Tasmania, they are still a novelty.

The Platypus House was built to educate visitors about the two monotremes that are still alive, the platypus (also known as the platypus) and the echidna. Both the echidna and platypus are monotremes. Platypuses, echidnas, and other mammals that live at the Platypus house are all rescues. They can’t survive in the wild, and you can support conservation efforts by seeing them up close. The photos are blurry because it’s hard to take a picture of a platypus while it swims. I only had my phone with me, so these were taken on the go. They are never still!

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