Soft ad­ven­ture and big thrills in Launce­s­ton

Out & About with Kids - - CONTENTS - Desti­na­tion­launce­s­ leisurein­npen­ny­ face­­ny­roy­al­wine baran­drestau­rant treesad­ven­ un­der­wood-park-tas­ma­nia har­vest­mar­,au desti­na­tion­launce­s­ see_do/city_­park qv­ jose­ la

Launce­s­ton pro­vides plenty of op­por­tu­nity for ad­ven­tures of the fam­ily va­ri­ety. ELISA ELWIN en­joys an ac­tive and ex­hil­a­rat­ing multi-gen break in the Ap­ple Isle’s #1 north­ern city.

Once lin­ger­ing in the shad­ows of the Ap­ple Isle’s cap­i­tal, Ho­bart, the north­ern city of Launce­s­ton is now emerg­ing as a vi­brant Tas­ma­nian tourist des­ti­na­tion in its own right as ELISA ELWIN dis­cov­ered on a multi-gen long week­end hol­i­day to ‘Lon­nie’.

Fan­tas­tic restau­rants, beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral spa­ces and an eas­ily-walk­a­ble city cen­tre are just some of Launce­s­ton’s big pluses, but we had also come to ex­pe­ri­ence its lat­est fam­ily-friendly soft ad­ven­ture thrills at the newly-opened Penny Royal Ad­ven­tures and Un­der­wood Park’s Trees Ad­ven­ture. With three gen­er­a­tions - from grandpa to 8-year-old - we were ready to see what Launce­s­ton had to of­fer for both young and old.

Tas­ma­nian bushranger tales at Penny Royal Ad­ven­tures

Af­ter a Fri­day morn­ing ar­rival from Syd­ney we set­tled into our ac­com­mo­da­tion for the next two nights at the Leisure Inn Penny Royal Ho­tel & Apart­ments, a her­itage prop­erty that is just a short walk from Launce­s­ton’s CBD. Over lunch on the out­door ter­race of the Wine Bar and Restau­rant we mapped out our af­ter­noona at Penny Royal Ad­ven­tures - a brandb new fun park that was of­fi­cially opened in March 2016. De­vel­oped by Josef Chromy of Tas­ma­nian wine fame, the park isi packed with soft ad­ven­ture thrills and fam­i­lyf ac­tiv­i­ties that in­clude rock climb­ing, cliffc rope walks and a few un­ex­pected en­coun­ters.e While the younger ones im­me­di­ately kit­ted out in climb­ing gear to tackle the chal­leng­ing heights of the rope course, the re­str of us watched from the more se­date com­fortc of the café. Next, it was all-in forf all-ages gold fos­sick­ing in the Gold and Gem­stone Mine (yes, there is real gold!),g fol­lowed by a sail around the lake on the wartime Sand­piper 10 (com­plete with ex­plod­ing can­nons), and an ex­plo­ration of the Bare­foot Sen­sa­tion Ad­ven­ture Trail.

But we saved the best for last, with the barge, or “dark ride” im­mers­ing us in the tale of Tas­ma­nian bushranger, Matthew Brady. An­i­ma­tron­ics com­bine with dra­matic light­ing to cre­ate a nerve-in­duc­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that cli­maxed with a thrilling fi­nale when (spoiler alert!) live ac­tors had us all jump­ing out of our skins.

As soon as the ride was over the fear­less among us were up for an­other turn!

Af­ter such an adrenalin-pump­ing af­ter­noon, it was nice to be within a stone’s throw of our ac­com­mo­da­tion to freshen up be­fore din­ner at Hal­lam’s Wa­ter­front seafood restau­rant, lo­cated on Launce­s­ton’s Ta­mar yacht basin. Here we were treated to de­li­cious abalone and Tas­ma­nian At­lantic salmon, and an up­mar­ket de­light of fish and chips.

...cul­tural, nat­u­ral and culi­nary of­fer­ings are draw­ing a dif­fer­ent breed of trav­eller ...

Fly­ing through the for­est on a full stom­ach

With more ad­ven­ture on the menu for Satur­day, we started the day bright and early with break­fast at the Har­vest Mar­ket. This com­mu­nity event is com­pletely ded­i­cated to Tas­ma­nian pro­duce, with food and wine mak­ers from across the is­land com­ing to­gether at the Cim­i­tiere Street car park to show­case their gourmet goods. It was won­der­ful to see the cre­ativ­ity of the Tas­ma­nian ar­ti­sans and sam­ple first-hand what the fresh air and fer­tile soils of the “Ap­ple Isle” can pro­duce.

There was an (al­most) unan­i­mous call for more rope ac­tion, so we pre­pared to re­live our Penny Royal Ad­ven­tures – this time among the tree­tops of Holly­bank For­est. Just a short drive out of Launce­s­ton, the for­est canopy hides a series of ‘cloud sta­tions’, con­nected by ex­hil­a­rat­ing zip lines and ropes cour­ses, with lev­els to suit all ages. The birds-eye view of Holly­bank’s old and new growth forests was spec­tac­u­lar.

A stroll through Launce­s­ton’s beau­ti­ful City Park brought us back to earth, as we me­an­dered through the lush, trop­i­cal con­ser­va­tory and watched ducks flap about on the pond and got up close with Ja­panese macaques at the park’s en­clo­sure.

From Tas­ma­nian Tigers to Ta­mar Val­ley Wines

From out­door to in­door, ed­u­ca­tion and fun awaited us at the mu­seum, which forms part of the Queen Vic­to­ria Mu­seum and Art Gallery. The dis­plays are spread over two her­itage build­ings (as well as a sep­a­rate

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.

Pre­vi­ous page: Carys ready for rock climb­ing Op­po­site page clock­wise: Clif­fWalk at Penny Royal En­trance Penny Royal Tree Ad­ven­tures Rock climb­ing at Penny Royal


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