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Travel Log: Launceston, Tasmania

Updated on May 12, 2019
Sivakumar Sathiamoorthy profile image

Siva is a risk manager, watch enthusiast, music lover, and wine student who likes to explore and travel the world through photography.

Fern Tree Leaves
Fern Tree Leaves

Launie

In my earlier article on Hobart (in the link below), i mentioned that i didn't have the time to explore northern Tasmania. My main purpose of going to Launceston (or "Launie" as affectionately called by Australians) was to see the Cradle Mountains in Tasmania. Launie was a convenient launch pad. But i was surprised that the town had more to offer than being just a stopover place.

Boag Brewery
Boag Brewery

Arriving at Launceston

I arrived at Launceston on a Sunday in April and was greeted with drizzle and cold winds. For me, it was a break from humid Singapore. Gale force winds were sweeping through the town as i checked into my hotel (Balmoral at York). I can still remember the staccato pounding of the wind on the windows as i unpacked my bags. Since it was a Sunday, almost every shop was closed except for an Italian restaurant called Metz which did some good pizza and coffee.

River Esk
River Esk

Walking along River Esk

After my lunch at the Metz, i decided to explore the town. The rain began to clear up and the winds had softened as i headed to the River Esk. Launceston is also home to the famous Boag Brewery which is situated near the river. Sunshine was all around as i walked along the bank. There was no one in sight. Birds were chirping and all i can hear was the sound of water and wind. There were a couple of seconds when i felt a sense of calm descending on me. Is this feeling a mental state of heaven?

River Esk Walking Trail
River Esk Walking Trail

Cataract Gorge

The rain and gusty winds made a return on the next day. Despite the blustery showers, i walked to the Cataract Gorge and by the time i reached there, the rain had stopped. The Gorge is characterised by huge Dolerite stones that were rounded and chiselled through the passage of water and time. There is a part of the walk which cuts through the woods called Cliff Grounds where you can smell the scent of exotic flowers, trees and birds. I think my trip to Cataract will be lovelier if there was sunshine all around. The rocks would have glowed! The Alexandra Suspension Bridge is a civil engineering marvel that allows one to cross the water basin and make a U turn at the gorge.

Dolerite Rocks at Cataract
Dolerite Rocks at Cataract
Trees at Cliff Grounds
Trees at Cliff Grounds
Alexandra Suspension Bridge
Alexandra Suspension Bridge
Gorge River
Gorge River
Achtung!
Achtung!

Pretty Parks, Boutique Wineries and Culinary Delights

After my trip to the Cataract, i wandered around Launceston and came across the beautiful British influenced City Park. The rains left an air of freshness which made me explore the park. One can't escape noticing the Japanese macaques, the Jubilee Drinking Fountain and the beautiful trees in the park.

It also noteworthy that Launceston's sister cities are not only Ikeda (which gifted the macaques)in Japan but also Napa in California. Beautiful boutique wineries dot the River Tamar area. I found the winemakers down to earth, friendly and eager to market their wines. I also had the opportunity of speaking to the winemaker at the Beautiful Isle Winery. He was willing to showcase his wines and go through the tasting session. I can taste the passion seep into the wine!

Tasmania makes superb food. Even the random cafe at Launie makes above average coffee. I wandered into Mudbar Restaurant which is along River Esk. The slow cooked lamb, a fusion between Asian and Western cuisine was filling and delicious. Other noteworthy dinner choices are Jailhouse Grill and Stillwater. They are quite pricey but well worth it given the top quality of Tasmanian produce.

City Park, Launceston
City Park, Launceston
Jubilee Fountain
Jubilee Fountain
Fountain at City Park
Fountain at City Park
Vineyard at Tamar
Vineyard at Tamar

The Quiet Life

I think Launceston is for people who like leading the quiet life and do their own thing. The local population is small and the people are generally down to earth, friendly and easy to start a conversation with. The town is clean and i can't recall seeing any graffiti. The rolling vineyards near River Tamar and the natural wildlife around the area makes it a pretty place. The town surely speaks to me. In fact, i would sell Melbourne or Sydney and buy Launceston.

View from Waldheim
View from Waldheim

Cradle Mountains: The Beauty of Tasmania

The Cradle mountain range is the toast of Tasmania. It was the main reason why i travelled to Launie. I was lucky the weather turned out well because just the day before it rained like crazy in the mountains. I used a coach tour to take me there. The driver of the coach was quite knowledgeable in Tasmanian nature and warned us not to take Tasmanian weather for granted. The weather in the mountains can change fast and it can snow in summer!

The Cradle Mountain is a treasure trove of nature. There are several hiking trails and i chose the easiest Dove Lake Circuit Walking Trail. I am aware that i did not have the physical fitness to embark on the more ambitious climb to the peak. I was not aware of how long the trail is until i was into it. To be honest, even this walk was a bit difficult at some stages due to the slippery paths. I preferred to take it slow and easy, breathing in the mountain air and taking pictures.

Tea Water
Tea Water
Cradle Mountains
Cradle Mountains
Dove Trail
Dove Trail

Gustav Weindörfer: From Austria to Australia

I always wondered how someone could come from Austria to Australia and eventually become a Tasmanian icon. Gustav Weindorfer was credited with championing the Cradle Mountain area and opening it up to others. Gustav is my hero!

Waldheim: where Gustav stayed.
Waldheim: where Gustav stayed.
Moss covered trees at Waldheim
Moss covered trees at Waldheim

A View from the Top

Another must see tourist site is the Wineglass and Honeymoon Bay. I was already tired after the Cradle Mountain Hike. So i wasn't sure of embarking on this trip the day after. But it's sensible to make the best use of the fine weather as it could change anytime.

Before embarking on this trip, make sure you are reasonably fit as you have to climb a steep slope of stone stairs to the top. One slip up while climbing can see you fall down and get cut by the sharp stone stairs. But you will be well rewarded with the the "wineglass" view once you are at the top!

Look into me
Look into me
Wineglass View
Wineglass View
A less popular view
A less popular view

Honeymoon Bay

I am not sure why it is called Honeymoon Bay. It was almost empty which is great as there are less distractions to the rocky landscape and beautiful views!

I was also surprised to see sickly Wallabies looking for food from tourists. I think they got into this state because tourists were feeding them. It is best to leave Wallabies and other wildlife on their own. Don't feed them.

Natural Reflection
Natural Reflection
Honeymoon Bay
Honeymoon Bay
Little Ponds
Little Ponds

Observations

Launceston, Cradle Mountain and the surrounding areas were well worth the visit. It reinforced my belief that Tasmania is a place that i will keep revisiting. Launceston may be a place for me to locate in the future. My next trip will be to the western part of the land which is less accessible.

Solomon Caves
Solomon Caves

© 2019 Sivakumar Sathiamoorthy

Comments

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    • Guckenberger profile image

      Alexander James Guckenberger 

      10 months ago from Maryland, United States of America

      The River Esk looks calming.

    • Sivakumar Sathiamoorthy profile imageAUTHOR

      Sivakumar Sathiamoorthy 

      11 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you Lorna!

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      11 months ago

      This is a really informative article. I visited Tasmania many years ago and thought it was beautiful. Wineglass Bay was simply stunning and very clean with beautiful clear water. Thank you for sharing and for the beautiful photos.

    • Sivakumar Sathiamoorthy profile imageAUTHOR

      Sivakumar Sathiamoorthy 

      11 months ago from Singapore

      Thanks Joy. I am a student of life.

    • Sivakumar Sathiamoorthy profile imageAUTHOR

      Sivakumar Sathiamoorthy 

      11 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you Liz. I think it's quite an under rated place which may be a good thing.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      11 months ago from UK

      This is an incredibly well-illustrated article. Tasmania looks like a beautiful place to visit.

    • profile image

      JoySantos 

      11 months ago

      It’s noticeable that the author has exquisite taste in everything;

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