Are you a nature lover, enjoy going on walks/hikes and looking for somewhere to go?
Mum and I both love wildlife, nature and being in the great outdoors. We decided it was time to take a 3 day escape to Launceston, I had never been here before, however my Mum had years ago and was keen to show me around and re-visit. Mum had been longing to visit Cradle Mountain. So off we went….Dad unfortunately had to work so it was an escape just for Mum and I.
5 Reasons We Chose Launceston
- Scenic destination known for its walking tracks
- Place we could be grounded by nature
- Was within 3 hrs from the Melbourne CBD (excluding flight check in times)
- A destination that is easy to navigate your way around
- Easy to see the wildlife of Tasmania
Launceston is in the northern part of Tasmania. Launceston is placed on the map by the popular Cataract Gorge which has panoramic views and beautiful walking tracks. The city of Launceston is historical and has a lovely feel to it.
Where Did We Stay and Why?
We arrived at Launceston airport around midday and hired a car from the airport and wanted accommodation within easy distance to the airport. We chose to stay at the Leisure Inn Penny Royal as it met this criteria and was within walking distance to the Cataract Gorge and the Launceston CBD.
Day 1 Itinerary
- Flight from Melbourne to Launcestion
- Checked into hotel
- Recharged our batteries at the nearby local pub
- Took a scenic drive via Rosevears, Beaconsfield, Redbill Point Conservation Area, crossed the Batman Bridge over the Tamar River and George Town
- Visited The Grubb Shaft in Beaconsfield
- Dinner at the local pub
- Evening spent relaxing and preparing for the next day
About The Grubb Shaft Beaconsfield
The Grubb Shaft Beaconsfield is now known as the Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre. The original gold mine was closed in 1914. It’s a great place to visit if you enjoy reading up on the mining history and imagining what it was like when the mine was open.
Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre Location
The Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre is located in West St, Beaconsfield TAS 7270
How Long Would I Spend at Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre
Depending on how much history you would like to read, I would allow approximately 45 mins.
About Batman Bridge
The Batman Bridge crosses the Tamar River in the north of Tasmania. We crossed the bridge to reach George Town. The bridge is located on the Batman Highway and links the West Tamar Highway to the East Tamar Highway. The Bridge was opened in May 1968 and is a total length of 442m.
About George Town
George Town is in north east Tasmania. We crossed the Batman Bridge to reach George Town. It is a lovely town which is home to the Low Head Lighthouse which unfortunately was not open when we arrived, we did however have a walk around the area. Nearby to the light house they have penguin walks, we opted not to wait for this as we wanted to head back to Launceston before it was too late.
Day 2 Itinerary
- Drove the “tourist route” and drove through the country towns of Carrick, Hagley, Westbury, Deloraine, Mole Creek to the Cataract Gorge
- Visited King Solomons Cave – Mole Creek Karst National Park
- Visited Cataract Gorge
- Drove home via the gorgeous town of Sheffield
Deloraine was a beautiful historical town on the banks of the Meaner River which sadly we didn’t have time to explore in full. We visited the tourist information centre to get information on the nearby Mole Creek Caves and Cataract George. It was a great spot to stop for lunch. We checked out the local bakery which had lovely rolls and the cakes were delicious…my mouth is watering now thinking about them!!
There are quirky sculptures as you walk along Mary Street which are really interesting to check out. The sculptures are a representation of the richness of culture, creativity and industry in Deloraine.
Deloraine is approximately 38min, 53km from Launceston
About Mole Creek Caves
There are 2 caves to explore, the Marakoopa Cave and/or King Solomons Cave. The main ticket office is at the Marakoopa Cave. You can purchase your ticket here for either cave. We planned to go through the Marakoopa Cave which has glow worms. The tour we planned to go on was cancelled, we didn’t have time to wait for the next tour as our main destination for the day was the Cataract Gorge.
We took the 45min tour through the King Solomons Cave, it was awesome. I was so excited. As soon as we walked in the chilly 9 degree cave we were extremely impressed with what we saw. There were so many stalactites and stalagmites. The caves are considered small however the cave certainly offers a lot of beauty to stand in awe and admire. The way the crystals sparkled was stunning!!
The drive from the caves to the Cataract Gorge is very scenic
King Soloman Cave Location
- 1535 Liena Rd, Liena TAS 7304
- King Soloman Cave is approximately 1hr 10 min, 92km from Launceston
About Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
Cradle Mountain is a mountain in the Central Highlands of Tasmania. You can drive to the visitor centre where you’ll find a large car park. From here you purchase a pass to visit the National Park and hop on a shuttle bus which takes you to Dove Lake. From Dove Lake you are spoilt for choice of walks to take. We were overwhelmed when we arrived, it is such a scenic area. How do you choose which walk to go on? Good question, my tip would be to stay in the area for a couple of days if you’re into hiking and walk until your hearts content!!
Cradle Mountain is also the starting point to a 6 day walk which is world famous, Overland Track takes you through some of the best mountain terrain….if only we were here longer and fit enough to explore this magnificent scenic countryside….
We opted for the 2-3hr Dove Lake walk which was absolutely beautiful. A lot of the walk you look up and see the magnificent Cradle Mountain. It really is a spectacular sight, although there are a large number of tourists that come here daily, due to the number of hikes you find yourself alone for most of your walk. This really allows you to stop and take in the serenity.
After the Dove Lake walk we hopped back on the shuttle and got off at another spot for a short 45min walk. This was totally awesome as we saw so many wombats, I never realised how fast they can move or what noisy eaters they are!!! This walk totally rocked!!! Neither Mum or myself had ever been this close to wombats in the wild!! The guy below was the cutest we’d ever seen, take a look at his cheeky face!!
We couldn’t believe how close the wombats came to the walking track. When we walked along the track we were busy searching the scrub for wombats and nearly missed seeing one walking straight towards us on the track!!
Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre Location (car park)
- 4057 Cradle Mountain Rd, Cradle Mountain TAS 7306
- Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre is approximately 2hr 20min, 139km from Launceston
Sheffield is a gorgeous town full of murals that can be found on the buildings, shops and there’s even a mural park. Sheffield itself is also known for its dairy farming which is suitable for both lamb and beef production and also high quality butterfat production. Whilst we only stopped to check out the murals and grab some yummy fish and chips on the way back to Launceston its certainly a place you could spend a couple of hours exploring.
Sheffield is approximately 88km, 1hr 5 min from Launceston
Day 3 Itinerary
- Checking out of the Hotel
- Seeing what the Penny Royal Launceston had to offer
- Exploring the Cataract Gorge
- Visiting the Launceston Botanical Gardens
- Flight home
About Cataract Gorge
We walked from our hotel, it was a very easy scenic walk into the Cataract Gorge which is a natural formation, the pathway looked down onto the South Esk River. Once we arrived at the Cataract Gorge we walked around the gardens, checked out the rotunda and then took the chairlift to the other side of the gorge. Again another scenic journey. We were welcomed by Peacocks and Wallabies which was awesome. I was pretty excited !! Mum and I love wildlife!!
There’s a variety of walks you can do depending on your fitness level and the amount of time you wish to spend here. There is the Alexandra Suspension bridge across the South Esk River, constructed in 1940 which will take you back to the other side of the gorge where again we found lots of wallabies roaming the lovely gardens.
If you’re not into walking you may wish to take in the the beautiful atmosphere by having a BBQ or picnic with friends and family, grabbing a refreshment in the restaurant or spending time in the swimming pool on the Southern Side, The First Basin. Whatever you choose you are bound to enjoy your time here. Theres even places for rock climbers to practise their skills. Or you may prefer to take a seat along the Tamar River and watch the Cruise Boats go down the river or watch kids jumping from the cliffs into the river.
Cataract Gorge Location
- 74-90 Basin Rd, West Launceston, TAS 7250
- Its approximately 10min drive, 4.8km from Launceston CBD, or approximately 15 min walk from the Launceston CBD along the Tamar River into “The Gorge”
How Long Would I Spend at the Cataract Gorge?
Depending on what activities you wish to do here, I would recommend allowing 2-3 hrs, however you could easily spend all day here.
City Park Launceston
From the Cataract Gorge we walked past the Launceston Fire Station and Boags Brewery to City Park Launceston which is beautiful gardens within the CBD. We were shocked and really pleased to discover that this is not just a garden with gorgeous coloured flower beds and plenty of space for people to relax but they also have a monkey enclosure!! This is not what we were expecting to see in a Park in Launceston CBD.
Japan gifted the City Park the Japanese Macaque monkeys which is an Old World Monkey species native to Japan. The monkeys can cope with temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius. Japan gifted the monkeys to the City Park as in 1965 when Launceston became sister city with Ikeda City in Japan.
City Park Location
- 45-55 Tamar St, Launceston, TAS 7250
- City Park is located within the Launceston CBD
How Long Would I Spend at City Park?
I would allow approximately 45 mins to explore the gardens, however if you are looking to sit and relax or have a picnic allow longer
Penny Royal Launceston
The Leisure Inn Penny Royal backs onto the Penny Royal Launceston is an adventure park. Although our room overlooked the adventure park we ran out of time to explore it. However it looks a pretty cool place to explore if you would like to travel back in time to Van Diemens Land. We could see from our room a cliff walk, rock climbing walls and restaurants.
Leisure Inn Penny Royal Location
- 147 Paterson St, Launceston, TAS 7250
- Leisure Inn Penny Royal is approximately 13 min drive, 14km from the Launceston Airport
Our 3 Day Experience to Launceston
We had an absolutely wonderful time exploring Tasmania and will definitely be back to discover more of the beauty that Tasmania has to offer. Hopefully one day we will get to explore this beautiful scenic island in either our camper van or hire one. It certainly has been a memorable trip with the highlight being Cradle Mountain which is so scenic and of course that cheeky wombats smile, unforgettable and priceless moment for us. Next trip we will definitely find the famous Tasmania Devil!