Romantic Things to do in Launceston

 

In 2020, Launceston was ranked the best city for romance in Australia, and for good reason. From graceful Victorian architecture and picturesque scenery to exceptional food and wines, this Tasmanian gem has it all for a perfect couples getaway.

Below, we wrapped up the most romantic things to do in Launceston to help you plan a romantic Tasmania break for two

Cataract Gorge

Travelling to Launceston: What You Need To Know Before You Go

Launceston, or Lonnie as locals lovingly call it, is located on the banks of the Tamar River in the North of Tasmania. With a population of a little over 110,000, it is the second-largest Tasmanian city after the state capital of Hobart. 

Launceston is one of Australia’s oldest settlements. Explorers Bass and Flinders first arrived here in 1798, after setting out to prove that Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) was an island. In 1804, Colonel William Paterson set up camp at Port Dalrymple and moved it to the present site a couple of years later. The settlement was initially called Patersonia, but Paterson himself changed the name to Launceston after the King's birthplace in Cornwall, England. 

How to get there and when to go?

If you’re arriving from mainland Australia, you can fly directly to Launceston from Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane.  Alternatively, you can take a flight to Hobart from Adelaide, Perth, or Canberra and then drive to Launceston. The drive along Midland Highway takes around 2.5 hours, while the more scenic, coastal route via the Tasman Highway will take you just under 4.5 hours.

If you’re bringing a car or campervan, the best option is to take the ferry Spirit of Tasmania from Melbourne to Devonport, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) from Launceston. The journey can take anywhere between 9 and 11 hours.

Launceston is a wonderful destination to visit any time of the year. The warm summer months between December and February are perfect for a laid-back, romantic holiday. With clear nights ideal for stargazing and midwinter festivals, winter is also a good time to discover Launceston. 

Without further ado, here are the most romantic things to do in Launceston. 

 

Explore Launceston’s Architectural Beauty

Step back in history with your significant other as you take in Launceston’s distinctive ambience and charm. The city’s colonial architecture has remained largely unchanged for the past century. The Cornwall Hotel built in 1823 is one of the oldest buildings in town and the place where John Pascoe Fawkner held a meeting to plan the settlement of Melbourne. Other architectural highlights include Albert Hall, Customs House, and art deco gems like the Holyman Building and Princess Theater.

And don’t forget to take a romantic stroll in the historic East Launceston neighbourhood lined with elegant Victorian houses. The High Street also runs through this area, enticing with its small local boutiques, art galleries, and typical Australian cafés—perfect for taking a short break from your walk.

Launceston City Mall

Sample Local Produce at the Farmer’s Market

The Harvest Launceston Community Farmers’ Market is held on Saturdays from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm in Cimitiere Street opposite Albert Hall. Come here to chat with local farmers and feast your eyes on a colourful selection of Tasmania’s seasonal produce. Then pack a basket full of fresh fruit, artisan bread, and homemade cheeses and head for a picnic in one of the city’s many green spaces—Launceston boasts a whopping 148 parks and gardens—to enjoy your brunch and time together. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more relaxing and romantic way to spend your Saturday in Launceston.

Launceston harvest farmers market

Relax in Launceston City Park

Launceston City Park dates all the way back to the settlement days when it used to be a botanical garden named “People’s Park.'' Stroll hand in hand, enjoy quiet time in the central pavilion, and snap a selfie in front of the Dolphin Fountain in the Dutch Garden, one of the oldest public fountains in Australia.  Don’t miss the enclosure with Japanese macaque monkeys, the park’s star attraction. The original monkeys were a gift from the city of Ikeda in Japan in 1980, and reflect the park’s long tradition of housing zoological exhibits, which previously featured kangaroos, emus, and (now extinct) Tasmanian tiger.

The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery

With no less than 1.5 million pieces in its collection, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery is the largest regional museum in Australia and one of the most visited attractions in Launceston. The museum opened its doors in 1891. At the time, it was known as the Victoria Museum and Art Gallery but “Queen” was added later to the name to avoid confusion with the museums of the state of Victoria. 

If you and your partner are art lovers, there’s no better place to spend time together than QVMAG. From colonial art to Australian crafts, contemporary design, and natural history, there’s plenty to see on a romantic date. The museum is located across two sites: the Art Gallery at Royal Park and the 1870s era railway workshop Museum at Inveresk.

What could be more romantic than looking up at the stars? Inside the Launceston Planetarium, tucked away within the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, you and your sweetheart can stargaze at any time of the day. With its reproduction of thousands of stars visible to the naked eye in the southern hemisphere, you’re invited to take your own journey in the universe.

Here you can watch stunning astronomy shows where images of the Tasmanian night sky are projected onto a domed screen while an astronomer tells you more about planets and constellations. The vast repertoire of daily showings includes “Birth of Planet Earth,” “Black Holes,” “The Sun: Our Living Star,” to name but a few

Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery

Discover Woolmers Estate

Woolmers Estate in the town of Longford, just 18 kilometres (11 miles) from Launceston was established by landowner and commissariat officer Thomas Archer in the early 1800s. The estate was occupied by the same family for over 175 years. This is one of the finest examples of 19th-century rural settlements with several original buildings still intact, including a bakehouse, blacksmith’s shop, and stables. 

Woolmers Estate also houses the National Rose Garden, perfect for taking a romantic walk. Modelled on the French formal gardens of the 17th century, it features thousands of roses including the earliest China and European species. The garden blooms in late spring and early summer and is the home of the annual rose festival held in November.

Spend a Day at Cataract Gorge Reserve

A mere stone’s throw from Launceston’s city centre, Cataract Gorge, nicknamed “the Gorge” by the locals, is a one-of-a-kind natural formation where the South Esk spills into the Tamar River. The reserve features walking trails across stunning landscapes, a historic suspension bridge, a swimming pool, and a Victorian garden filled with exotic plants. After dusk, keep an eye out for peacocks, wallabies, and other native wildlife. 

Here, you can ride the world's longest single-span chairlift offering breathtaking views and explore the gorge on a romantic boat cruise, while more adventurous couples may prefer rock climbing or hang gliding.

Sip Award-winning Wines in Tamar Valley

Tamar Valley is one of the most picturesque spots in Tasmania and an ideal romantic destination. As you follow the Tamar River from Launceston to the north toward the Bass Strait, you’ll drive past forested hills and farmland, lavender fields, award-winning vineyards, and pretty historic villages.

The valley is home to some of the best wineries in Tasmania. The world-famous Tamar Valley Wine Route encompasses 32 vineyards and wineries, producing everything from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc to Riesling, Pinot Noir, and sparkling wines. Josef Chromy, Clover Hill and Tamar Ridge are among the must-visit wine cellars in the region.

Josef Chromy - Tamar Valley

Explore Cradle Mountain National Park

A day trip to Cradle Mountain National Park, a short two-hour drive from Launceston, is made for romantics looking for a quiet escape. With its awe-inspiring scenery of alpine meadows, jagged peaks towering over glacial lakes, and eucalyptus forests, the park is a nature lover’s paradise. 

Whether you take a short hike through the ancient rainforest or follow the more strenuous Overland Track, you’ll be rewarded with unforgettable views. For one of the finest sunrise spots in Tasmania, take a scenic route (or a free shuttle bus) to Marion’s Lookout and watch the sun rise over Dove Lake. The park also provides a rich habitat for local wildlife and you’re likely to spot wallabies, pademelons, spotted-tailed quolls, and Tasmanian devils. 

To enter Cradle Mountain National Park, you need to purchase a Tasmanian Parks Pass (AUD$25 per person and AUD$40 per car for 24 hours).

Dine at Stillwater Restaurant

Stillwater Restaurant is one of Tasmania's most awarded restaurants, specializing in seasonal local cuisine. Make sure to order charcoal-grilled quail or fusion delicacies like Tasmanian squid with green tea soba noodles and yellow kingfish sashimi. To quench your thirst, Stillwater’s extensive wine cellar offers plenty of options to choose from. 

The restaurant is set in a beautifully restored 1830s flour mill with elegant furnishings and warm timbers. On a sunny day, you can take your lunch outside to Stillwater's paved courtyard overlooking the picturesque Tamar River. At night, this is an ideal spot for an intimate dinner for two.

Start Planning Your Romantic Getaway

Ready to Plan Your Romantic Trip to Launceston? See our most romantic Tasmania self-drive itineraries here

At First Light Travel, we can also help you create a perfect self-drive itinerary for a stress-free holiday planning experience.

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Maz
By
Marianne Davies
: 7 Jan 2022 (Last updated: 26 May 2022)

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