Tasmania’s north is a feast of historic streetscapes and heritage estates, rich farmland, premier cool-climate wines, fresh produce and local designers and craft makers.
Launceston is the second largest city in the state. The city is located on the banks of the Tamar River and is the gateway to the Tamar Valley, a region where English conservatism sits happily alongside the unconventional and off beat. The Cataract Gorge Reserve on the South Esk River is a unique natural formation just minutes from central Launceston.
Cataract Gorge Reserve
The Gorge has walking tracks, swimming pool, the world’s longest single-span chairlift, a restaurant, cafe, a suspension bridge and panoramic lookouts with spectacular views. Peacocks and native wildlife add to the experience. On the southern side of the river is First Basin, featuring a swimming pool and an open area surrounded by bushland. This part of the Gorge is popular with locals for picnics and barbecues.
On the shady northern side, known as the Cliff Grounds, is a Victorian garden with ferns and exotic plants. Relax on the rolling lawns, take shade under the rotunda and enjoy lunch with a view from the restaurant. There’s also a kiosk and tea rooms where you can enjoy a cup of tea and scones.
Wander across the footbridge that links the two areas or take a chairlift ride across the expansive Gorge. Further upstream is the historic Duck Reach Power Station, now an interpretation centre and well worth the short walk. Spend an hour or spend a day: the Gorge has something for everyone.
Out of Launceston, the surrounding green fields and country lanes are lined with 150 year old hawthorn, poplar and elm trees, while in the Tamar Valley you’ll find vineyards, strawberry farms and orchards and in the north east, lavender plantations.
The nearby town of Longford with it’s grand old World Heritage listed estates of Woolmers and Brickendon, offer visitors the chance to enjoy the architecture and community spirit of 19th century English villages made relevant for today. Many are now luxury retreats that offer a uniquely Tasmanian experience,combining old world elegance with a relaxed, new world style.
And for those interested in wildlife, nearby Narawntapu National Park provides many opportunities to see Australia’s unique animals as does Mt William National Park in the north-east with its sparkling granite boulders covered with bright orange lichen, long sandy beaches and clear, blue seas.