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Launceston, Devonport & Burnie Tasmania's northern cities


By Jennifer Ennion 

With the wild Bass Strait on their doorstep and rivers meandering past cafés and coffee shops, it's no surprise life revolves around the water in Launceston, Devonport and Burnie. But there is more to Tasmania's northern cities than secluded beaches, tranquil waterways and coastal views. The region also has a strong industrial identity and a wealth of wineries, offering travellers an ideal blend of nature, culture and history.


Map of Launceston, Devonport and Burnie, Tasmania

Wander the streets of Launceston

Launceston is a small but cosmopolitan city set on the mouth of a river, with an appreciation for excellent produce and fine food. Wander its quaint streets to shop for antiques and sample home-baked goods at the many cafés. The city's seaport boardwalk hugs the water, making it a beautiful stroll at any time of day. Try dinner at a restaurant such as StillwaterMud Bar and Restaurant or Black Cow Bistro.

Sleep in a historic homestead

Quamby Estate, located just 20 minutes from Launceston city and airport, is one of Tasmania’s most prestigious and historically important properties. Built between 1828 and 1838, Quamby was once the home of a premier of Tasmania and is now a suitably grand luxury lodge with ten lovingly restored guest rooms. The picture-book grounds boast a tennis court, quaint laneway and an impeccably maintained golf course lined with trees more than 100 years old. The fairways have magnificent views to the Ben Lomond Ranges in the east and the Great Western Tiers to the south. Enjoy sumptuous meals prepared with fresh Tasmanian produce accompanied by local Tamar Valley wines and use the homestead as your base for touring Launceston and the north.

Check out Cataract Gorge Reserve

A 20-minute stroll from Launceston city centre will lead you to Cataract Gorge Reserve, a natural formation on the South Esk River. Once you've ridden the chairlift to the top of the gorge, you'll find that there's plenty to do. Cross the suspension bridge, go for a self-guided walk and admire the resident peacocks, abseil down the gorge walls, and take your camera with you to capture the views.

Visit a lavender farm

Tasmania's north is known for its selection of lavender fields with rows of native purple flowers that appear during the summer months. A 40-minute drive from Launceston will take you to the breathtaking Bridestowe Lavender Estate, or you can combine a trip to the Tamar Valley with a visit to Lavender House.

 

Taste the wines of the Tamar

Within 20 minutes of leaving the city of Launceston you can find yourself in the Tamar Valley, a wine region known for its excellent chardonnay, riesling and pinot noir. Designate a driver and journey along The Tamar Valley Wine Route to sample the region's finest drops. Starting just south of Launceston, the 170-kilometre (106-mile) circuit takes in 32 wineries as it winds through countryside to Pipers Brook, in the north, and George Town, in the west.

Meet the penguins

Keep your eyes peeled for little penguins along the pebbly shore of Lillico Beach, a coastal reserve just 10 minutes west of Devonport. The little penguin is the world's smallest species of penguin. The best place to watch the reserve's colony is from the timber viewing platform. Time your visit for dusk, when the penguins are returning from fishing in the ocean to their beach burrows. This is a free activity, and Tasmania Parks and Wildlife rangers are on site during breeding season, from September to May, and during summer, from mid-December to mid-February.

Adventure in Hollybank Forest

Sail through the treetops of Hollybank Forest on a ziplining adventure that combines adrenaline and amazing views. Located a 25-minute drive north of Launceston, Hollybank Treetops Adventure Park offers a wide range of activities, such as zipline tours, segway tours and tree rope courses suitable for all ages. Try a twilight tour for the unique opportunity to glide through the serene forest as the sun goes down. You may even spot nocturnal wildlife as you cruise through the canopy.

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