Launceston is a popular destination in Tasmania, and for good reason. It's full of exciting things to do and see, and is a particular heavyweight when it comes to history and heritage.
The second-largest city on the island, losing out only to Hobart, Launceston enjoys a thriving city scene.
Given it's such a fantastic destination, here are some of the reasons to see Launceston and a few of the activities you can sink your teeth into while you are there.
Because Launceston is so compact, it's easy to walk to where you need to go. The central area is home to beautiful and elegant buildings, many of which have a significant heritage or interesting past.
There are also plenty of inner city parks that have been a part of the area for up to a century. These are extremely pleasant for picnics and are a great spot for the whole family. Bring along a rugby ball, a Frisbee or a set of backyard cricket and you've got the perfect set-up for a fun-filled afternoon.
Wander the boardwalk from Seaport to Inveresk, where you won't be disappointed if you're looking for a little bit of cultural stimulation. Check out the Queen Victoria Museum, which contains a number of significant artworks and exhibitions. Check out the colonial art, natural science exhibition, and interactive science centre for your young ones.
Wander more lanes of galleries, cafes and restaurants, of which there are enough to keep the whole family entertained for hours.
Launceston's natural wonders
While city life in Launceston is immensely enjoyable, so is getting back to nature!
Only a few minutes out of the central city is the incredible Cataract Gorge. Here, you'll find jagged rocks, steep cliffs and dizzying heights, which attract adventure seekers from all over the globe.
Whether it's rock climbing, canyoning, white water rafting, taking a ride up the chairlift or simply enjoy the parkland below, the Cataract Gorge has plenty to offer holidaymakers of all levels of daring.
Challenge yourself to one of the more adventurous pursuits, or use the Canyon as a relaxing place to get back in touch with your natural surrounds. Either way, you won't leave disappointed!
But if climbing up near-vertical gorges isn't for you and you'd rather sit back with a glass of wine, you have options!
The Tamar Valley is right on Launceston's doorstep, so you don't have far to travel to find some enchanting vineyards and wineries. For the wine aficionados out there, Tamar Valley specialises in cool-climate wines, in varieties such as Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer.
If you really love your wine, set aside a significant amount of time to explore this area. After all, there are more than 30 cellar doors for you to visit in 170 kilometres of the Tamar Valley – and you'll want to take your time enjoying every single drop!
Launceston is also the perfect base for your explorations of Narawntapu National Park, which is host to a stunning variety of wildlife. Head out at dawn or dusk for the best chance of seeing Forester kangaroos, pademelons, wombats and wallabies.
Keep in mind this is only a small slice of what's on offer in and around Launceston! The best way to find out what else can be discovered here is to come and see it for yourself. Launceston is only a short flight from Melbourne but at times it feels like a whole, refreshing world away.