Brian Dullaghan
Brian Dullaghan
Travel Tip

Is Launceston the new cool?

Alice Hansen
While visitors flock to the culture capital Hobart to visit Mona and experience the lively southern vibe, is Launceston quietly becoming Tasmania’s new cool? This hip little city with its independent stores and gritty arts scene is drawing a new influx of city seekers in the know. Let’s take a closer look at a place fringed with cool climate vineyards with cool peeps at its heart.

Festivals

If you love bubbles then you are going to love Effervescence Tasmania. Make a date with bubbly degustations and events in and around Launceston including at Clover Hill and Josef Chromy wines as well as Stillwater and Timbre restaurants. The remainder of the program includes a feast of brunches, lunches and sparkling classes, centred at festival headquarters, Josef Chromy Estate. 16-18 November.
Mona’s hottest festival, Mona Foma, is moving north next year. Launceston will be transformed into a psychedelic playground for festival goers, 13-20 January 2019. From Saharan desert rock bands, Polish punk and Swedish pop icons to Ethiopian jazz specialists and inflatable art and installations – expect the unexpected.
Festivale is one of Tasmania’s premium summer events. For three tasty days you can experience the best in Tassie food, wine, whisky, cider, gin, art and entertainment. Held at Launceston’s City Park 1-3 February 2019 with tasting glasses at the ready, you are in for a treat.

an outdoor food and wine festival in a park in Launceston
Rob Burnett
Festivale

Hip Eats

There’s no endless café chains in these parts, but independent doors into quirky spaces. The cheery baristas know how to make a good coffee. Ask a hipster and they’ll direct you to Sweet Brew. Drop in to Flick the Bean Coffee in Riverside if you’re heading out to some wineries. It comes complete with a basketball hoop. Amelia Espresso is a neat little coffee jaunt all about local fare. Head to Earthy Eats for wholesome goodness from local growers. Bryher Café oozes charm with a menu that moves with the seasons. As for dining at Geronimo Aperitivo Bar and Restaurant, it’s simply a must, as is Black Cow for steak lovers. For something sweet, Charlie’s Dessert House even runs the likes of unicorn cupcake classes.

person serving at pastry café launceston tasmania

Fine diners

Stillwater never fails to impress with extraordinary views of the serene Tamar River and a menu that is equally enticing.  Or head to the Grain of the Silos at Launceston’s new Peppers Silo Hotel for a paddock to plate inspired menu designed by renowned Tasmanian-born chef, Massimo Mele.  Black Cow Bistro specialises in premium Tasmanian beef and is an absolute must for steak lovers.

Stay

Peppers Silo Hotel is not just turning heads on the dining scene – the luxury rooms are nestled inside a 35m high former heritage listed wheat silo. The hotel staff have gained a reputation for a warm Tassie welcome, particularly Archie, the Silo dog who can be found waiting for you in reception.

a dog sitting outside a hotel in Launceston Tasmania
Rob Burnett
Archie

Watering holes

With more than 150 local and international craft beers on the shelf, there’s plenty of choice at St. John Craft Beer. Red Brick Road Ciderhouse has the cider lovers covered and on a Boags Brewery Tour one might just learn who James Boag really is. Don’t miss the happenings on Kingsway either. Catch live tunes at Kingsway Bar or one of their street festivals when doors swing open including Earthy Eats for local fresh fare, Acreage (homewares + cafe + Murphy Bloom florist) and a hip barber. Want to be led by a local? There’s the Taste.Walk.Talk Tour with Brock, your local guide. He will show you the best eats and drinks in town.

front of saint john bar launceston tasmania
Tourism Tasmania & Chris Crerar
Saint John Craft Beer, Launceston

Harvest Market

Rise early on a Saturday to reap the harvest. Every week, 8.30am-12.30pm on Cimitiere Street, the market brims with colour, seasonal produce, tunes, blooms, nuts, oils, chatter and more. There are more than 40 passionate producers to meet who are ready to tell you their stories.

Art and design

There’s a very, very high proportion of very, very highly talented furniture designers in Launceston. See some of their work at Design Tasmania and follow up by visiting some at their studios. Lose hours at the QVMAG Art Gallery Royal Park across collections that date 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. Saw Tooth Gallery is a contemporary art space ideal for discovering emerging local artists. Head out to Handmark Gallery in Evandale and time this with the Evandale Market for unusual treasure hunting! Sit under the old oak tree with a beer at the Clarendon Arms to sort through your market finds. Cap off the day with a flick at The Star Theatre on Invermay Road with its art-deco facade dating back to 1937.

person viewing abstract artwork at QVMAG launceston tasmania
Sean Fennessy
QVMAG, Launceston

Cool, cool climate vineyards

On the outskirts of Launceston and beyond are vineyards aplenty. At Josef Chromy Wines in Relbia, Go Behind the Label on a curious tour to taste unfinished wines, learn about the winemaking process and be rewarded with a two-course lunch. Those coming with their Tesla can, plug in at family owned Moore’s Hill – Tasmania’s first 100 per cent solar powered winery. In the stunning Tamar Valley, these make wine powered by the sun. Take your time along this wine route and don’t despair if you missed picking up a bottle of pinot. Pinot lover Michele at the aptly named Pinot Shop in town has premium drops from here and abroad.

wine plate josef chromy tamar valley launceston tasmania
Rob Burnett
Josef Chromy, Relbia

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