planetarium) and there’s a free Tiger Bus to whisk you between the venues. We wandered around the former 19th century railway workshop of the museum and discovered so much more about Tassie, including the mysterious Tasmanian tiger (claimed by some to still be in existence on the island.)
It’s no secret that Tasmania makes some outstanding wines, and although this was a family holiday, we weren’t going to miss out on sampling some of the best. With that in mind, we made the 10-minute drive south to the gorgeous Josef Chromy Winery and Restaurant. Boasting a stunning setting within the sprawling vineyards and a menu that draws on locallysourced, seasonal produce, it’s no wonder it has been twice-voted Launceston’s Most Outstanding Visitor Experience. Needless to say, the food was delicious and the wine even more so.
Natural pools, playgrounds and peacocks
On our final day in Launceston we headed first to the famous Cataract Gorge - a spectacular area just a short 15-minute stroll from the city centre. It’s home to natural swimming pools, playgrounds for the kids and even a few resident peacocks, but it was a ride on the world’s longest single-span chairlift over the gorge that really left us in awe.
After breakfast at the Basin Cafe near the start of the chairlift, we glided above the park, taking in the views across the South Esk River, before disembarking at the Cliff Grounds. With a suspension bridge and lookouts along the way, the trail meandered along the river and through stone archways, eventually emerging at our destination - the Duck Reach Power Station Interpretation Centre. This former hydro electricity station now draws curious tourists to delve into what was once one of Tasmania’s most important industries during a period when man tried to tame this wild island.
The changing face of Tasmania’s tourism
When we flew out from Launceston, back to the “mainland”, I remembered the days when Tasmania was just a remote island outpost where few but seasoned trekkers ventured. Today its cultural, natural and culinary offerings are drawing a different breed of traveller, and Launceston’s newly opened soft adventure sights were a firm reminder that families of all ages (and fitness levels) will also find their thrills. Destination Launceston Leisure Inn Penny Royal Hotel & Apartments Penny Royal Wine Bar and Restaurant Treetop Adventures Harvest Market City Park QVMAG Museum Josef Chromy Cataract Gorge
“Animatronics combine with dramatic lighting to create a nerve-inducing experience that climaxed with a thrilling finale …”
Penny Royal Adventures 1 Bridge Road, Launceston Purchase individual adventures (such as the Penny Royal Dark Ride, gold fossicking or a trip on the Sandpiper) or just opt for an Adventure Pass that includes a range of Cliff and Park activities.