Chris Crerar
Chris Crerar
Travel Tip

48 Hour winter in Launceston

Alice Hansen
​Independent art galleries, a wintry film fest, plump grass-fed beef, a volcanic stone bath tub and pinot - lots of pinot. This is a snippet of what’s in store during 48 hours in one of Tassie’s oldest cities. Rug up and get your culture on this winter.

Friday

Within 10 minutes of hopping off the plane, roll into Josef Chromy Wines in Relbia. There are few places where the runway is so close to your first glass of winter-warming red. Don’t just perch beside the fire though – Go Behind the Label. Arrive by 11am for this curious tour, complete with tasting and lunch. Delve into the winemaking process, from the grape wines to your glass. Don’t worry, it’s not stuffy but rather an informal affair. Taste unfinished wines and follow it up with a two-course lunch of fine Tasmanian fare. Of course, there’ll be matched wines.

Red wine being poured into glass from a barrel at Josef Chromy near Launceston
Scott Sporleder
Joseph Chromy

Wind your way through the hills of Relbia into Launceston, settled in 1806. There’s plenty to explore through the historic streets. There’s even an old shop dedicated to umbrellas. Happen across hand-picked antiques and home wares at Launceston icon, The Vintage Rose, owned by a former fashion designer. Breathe in cool winter air at the city’s urban playground, Cataract Gorge. There’s cliff side wandering and peacocks to meet.

Tonight, Stillwater Restaurant is on the menu. Time your trip right and find yourself a seat at the Truffle & Pinot Dinner, 28 July. It’s a gala feast celebrating Tasmania’s black Perigord truffles and naturally, pinot. Adding to the atmosphere, it’s the night of the blood moon. For a Euro feel, head to Geronimo Aperitivo Bar and Restaurant up on Charles Street. Their new three-course Sunday dinners are a winter charm.

After dinner, check out the Princess Theatre and Earl Arts Centre for travelling performances, then sink into a deep volcanic stone tub at Hatherly Birrell. It’ll take a moment to fill, all the more time for those winter stars to come out sparkling.

outdoor stone bath
Rob Burnett
The Magnolia Garden Pavilion, Hatherly Birrell

Saturday

Start the day with a visit to the Design Tasmania Wood Collection. Pull open the door and a waft of signature Huon pine scent hits like a frosty Launceston morning. The space, with its clean lines and naturally-lit interior, showcases contemporary design. Rare Tasmanian timbers are the hero – as are the makers.

Man walking out of building at Design Tasmania in Launceston
Chris Crerar
Design Tasmania

Next, head to school. Scotch Oakburn College Performing Arts Centre is home to s.p.a.c.e. Gallery. The space is all about contemporary arts practice. Not only is it an opportunity for students to exhibit, but also local, national and international artists. Go discover a fave new up-and-comer.

You don’t need to look far to see work by Simon Ancher. From the interior of Pumphouse Point to city seating and public art. Pop into the Simon Ancher Studio and say hello. Pick out a moody new lighting option for winter or fall in love with his growing furniture range. He’s always up for custom work and with the Collect Art Scheme 12-month interest free loan, why not?

After visiting Simon, head for winter wine heaven – the Pinot Shop. Michele Round is a wine and food writer, photographer, taster and wine retailer. She also loves pinot. As such, she created the store – specialising in premium pinot not only from Tassie’s cool climes but from afar too. Michele often has events so take a peek at her site.

Tonight, it’s all about Black Cow. Steak lovers, arrive with your appetite. Some say this is the best steakhouse in town. Winter is all about comfort food. Follow your finger down a menu dedicated to premium Tasmanian beef, dry aged, free range, grass fed and cooked to your precise liking. Later, retire to a chesterfield lounge at Henry’s Bar and Restaurant. Sink into the leather under dim lights with a local single malt in hand. This is how we do winter on the island.

Group of people in restaurant being served by male waiter at Black Cow Bistro in Launceston
Chris Crerar
Black Cow Bistro

Sunday

This morning, lose hours at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG)  Feed your curious on a collection that dates back to 1842. The gallery is a blend of visual art, natural sciences, design and history. There’s also a Planetarium to check up on the universe. Visit the site for times, depending on your interest between asteroids, black holes and the like. There are two QVMAG sites. Being Tasmania, they’re just a few minutes drive apart.

Woman walking past painting at QVMAG at Royal Park
Sean Fennessy
QVMAG at Royal Park

If you’re visiting between 17-20 May, don’t miss the Breath of Fresh Air Film Festival (BOFA). Yes, the air might be fresh, but so too are the ideas presented on screen. BOFA is an annual film fest that’s all about fun, provoking thought and getting cosy with good friends. It’s intimate yet international in its perspective. They seek stories that inspire positive change. What a breath of fresh air that is!

On the way back to Launceston Airport, drop into National Trust classified Evandale. This quaint Georgian Village has a handful of gorgeous antique stores and galleries. Don’t miss The National Trust Store in the town’s old saddlery building. The Handmark Gallery in Evandale also offers the Collect Art Scheme. Love that painting? Give yourself a farewell treat.

Man holding painting
Rob Burnett
Handmark Gallery, Evandale

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