Tasmania is full of great places to spend a weekend, but few are as easy to explore and buzzing with excitement as Launceston.
As the second-largest city in Tasmania, Launceston has everything you would expect – great restaurants, plenty of shopping opportunities and historical sites to discover.
However, unlike most cities, Launceston is easy to navigate and relatively compact, which is why it lends itself so well to a weekend getaway.
So what can you expect to see and do on a short break in Launceston? We've put together some ideas to get you started.
Visit the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery
Culture buffs will not be disappointed on their trip to Launceston, not least because the city plays host to the largest regional museum in the whole of Australia.
The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery outlines all you need to know about the history of the local area, as well as some other fascinating insights into Launceston and beyond.
The museum is spread over two sites – the first is the 1870s railway workshop at Inveresk, while the other is found at the Royal Park Art Gallery building on Wellington Street.
Whether you decide to explore one or both of these locations, you are sure to find your thirst for knowledge is well and truly quenched!
Get in touch with your wild side at Tasmania Zoo
Another must see on any trip to Launceston is Tasmania Zoo, which is open all-year round.
Regardless of whether you have kids with you on your trip or not, this is a great place to learn more about Australia's wildlife and animals from much further afield.
One of the most popular exhibits is understandably the Tasmanian devil – you can learn more about this famous creature and its habitat, as well as why it is often so misunderstood.
Other highlights of Tasmania Zoo include penguins, reptiles and koalas, all of which can be found at this 900-acre site that lays claims to being the biggest wildlife park in Tasmania.
Follow the Tamar Valley wine route
One of the main attractions on any break in Launceston is the Tamar Valley wine route, which takes you to some of the finest wineries in the country.
Following the Tamar River from Launceston to Bass Strait, this is a must see for anyone who loves wine, or simply wants to learn more about the processes that go into making it.
To enjoy the route in its entirety, it is a good idea to plan several overnight stops along the way – there is no shortage of places to stay and you can make the most of the wineries at a more leisurely pace.
You can either attempt the route independently or as part of an organised tour – the choice is yours!
Explore national parks
Launceston also has its fair share of national parks, so if you want to seek some outdoor adventure on your weekend getaway, you won't be disappointed.
One of the best is Narawntapu National Park, which is a haven for wildlife and also has striking scenery you are unlikely to see anywhere else in Australia.
Whether you feel like bird spotting or keeping an eye out for kangaroos and wallabies, Narawntapu National Park is sure to fit the bill. Just remember to pack your binoculars!
You might also want to think about taking a stroll in the park – there are various routes to suit all abilities, so plan ahead and you can make the most of this area of natural beauty.