Things To Do in Launceston for Families

 

The charming northern Tasmanian town of Launceston has plenty to offer for visitors of all ages. It’s an ideal destination for enjoying the great outdoors, but there’s also lots of indoor entertainment for everyone from toddlers to teens. This guide on things to do in Launceston for families will help you make the most of your visit.

Hollybank Tree Adventures Launceston

Cataract Gorge Reserve

Cataract Gorge is an ideal day trip destination for families visiting Launceston. The reserve has plenty of easy, stroller-friendly hikes that the whole family can do together. The most popular one is the 2.2 km (1.3 mi) Cataract walk that crosses the King’s Bridge over the South Esk River and offers magnificent views. 

Another must-do is riding the Gorge Scenic Chairlift, the longest of its kind in the world. The slow and leisurely ride is safe for the entire family, but children under the age of 8 must be accompanied by an adult. The First Basin loop, an easy walking path that will take you to the other side of the river underneath the chairlift, is a better option if you’ve got young kids in tow. 

Other fun activities that will be a hit with kids include crossing the historic Alexandra suspension bridge, taking a dip in the full-size swimming pool, and watching peacocks as they roam among exotic plants.

Cataract Gorge Cruise

Penny Royal Adventures

Nothing says family fun like a day spent in an adventure park. A visit to Penny Royal Adventures, Tasmania’s only theme park, will get your kids excited about history as they immerse themselves into the world of the pioneers of the 19th century Van Diemen's Land. Your mini explorers will be thrilled to fossick for gold and take home the coloured stones they find in the small gold and gemstone mine. Toddlers will also love the barefoot convict experience where they can run over a variety of surfaces like water, sawdust, stones, and gravel. 

For thrill-seeking families with older children, there are a dozen suspension bridges, a zipline, as well as an outdoor rock climbing wall perfect for testing balance and strength. All activities have age and height restrictions, so be sure to check that everyone in your family meets the safety requirements.

Penny Royal Launceston

Beaconsfield Mine And Heritage Centre

Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre is one of the most family-friendly attractions in Tasmania. The centre is located at the Grubb Shaft engine house, a remnant of a 19th-century gold mine. Most exhibits are inside, which makes it a great rainy-day destination near Launceston. 

The gold mining museum houses an extensive collection of over 10,000 pieces of mining memorabilia, artefacts, machinery, and other reminders of Beaconsfield’s mining past. It offers plenty of fun activities for kids such as operating a giant water wheel, exploring a model mine lift, crawling through a replica tunnel, and working an apple grader. 

The Grubb Shaft Mine has several renovated mine buildings on display, including a working model of the mine's dewatering pump which was one of the largest in the southern hemisphere, and a special exhibition telling the story of the famous 2006 mine rescue.

Beaconsfield Mine

National Automobile Museum of Tasmania

If your kids or teens are obsessed with engines, cars, and motorbikes, swing by the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania, one of Australia's finest automobile museums. The NAMT was established in 1987 by internationally renowned motor racing engineer Geoff Smedley and his wife Sylvia with the aim to preserve the country’s unique motoring heritage. 

The museum houses some of the world's rarest cars and has dozens of restored traditional models on display in addition to an entire floor dedicated to motorcycles. Kids are sure to be fascinated by Jaguars, Ferraris, and Australian Supersports racing cars. Don’t miss the Hall of Fame where you and your family can learn more about Tasmania's rich motorsports history and local motorist enthusiasts who have competed around the world. The museum also organizes temporary exhibits, car shows, and events.

Launceston City Park

Launceston City Park is a heritage park dating all the way back to the settlement days. It was established in the 1820s by the Launceston Horticultural Society as a botanical garden named “People’s Park.” Today, it’s a popular destination for local and visiting families with children. 

The youngest family members can stretch their little legs as they run about in the park’s expansive green space and play in the train-themed playground. Other children’s favourites include spotting ducks in the pond and riding the locomotive train, affectionately known as Lonnie, that will take them around the park for a small fee.

But the main attraction here is Japanese macaque monkeys that were given to Launceston by its Japanese sister-city Ikeda in the 1980s. Kids will be thrilled to watch young macaques play with stones, climb up and down the rocks, and swing in trees in the enclosure that mimics their natural habitat. 

Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery

Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery is a must-visit when you bring your family to Launceston. There’s plenty to do for visitors of all ages—here you can check out dinosaur fossils, learn about the life of the first Tasmanians, and admire colonial and contemporary art.

Be sure to stop by the Phenomena Factory science centre filled with quirky contraptions, scientific experiments, and interactive displays. Don’t leave without a visit to the train exhibit, complete with beautifully restored engines and machinery that was once used to maintain local railways. For the youngest visitors, there’s a dedicated play area with picture books and toys.

Take your family for an out-of-this-world adventure at the Launceston Planetarium located within the museum. After witnessing one of their spectacular astronomy shows, you can watch video footage of the first moon landing and see a movie on space travel, exploration, and black holes. Check the planetarium’s calendar for upcoming sessions.

Tasmania Zoo

A trip to see the animals is always fun for the kids and Tasmania Zoo is no exception. This family-run zoo, set in the picturesque Tamar Valley, only 18 km (11 mi) from Launceston, is home to Tasmania’s largest collection of native, exotic, and rare animal species. Meerkats, ring-tailed lemurs, and snakes are must-sees, as are wombats, kangaroos, koalas, and of course, Tasmanian devils. The zoo also houses more than 80 species of birds. 

But the biggest draw for families is the petting zoo where the kids can play with and hand feed sheep, goats, alpacas, and miniature ponies to their heart’s content. Dinosaur-loving children will go crazy for life-size dinosaur sculptures in the Jurassic Swamp area. There are also daily activities like zookeeper talks, animal encounters, and regular feedings that will keep all family members entertained throughout the visit.

Tasmania Devil

Launceston Tramway Museum

Launceston Tramway Museum is another kid-friendly spot in Launceston. This tiny museum, located on the site of the original Invermay Road Tram Depot in Inveresk Precinct, started as a 7-year long renovation project of the city’s only surviving double bogie tram in the 1990s. Today, it’s a popular attraction run by a team of volunteers passionate about restoring the old trams.

Here, you can learn how the city of Launceston changed with the introduction of the trams. You’ll also get to see an interactive tram exhibit and the oldest film footage of Launceston that explores the evolution of the city from the Victorian age. 

The museum features a workshop, a large display gallery, and access to a rail track running through the precinct. The little ones will love the chance to drive an interactive tram and take on passengers. The whole family can take short rides on a restored tram from the 1940s which is sure to be a highlight of your visit with the kids.

Riverbend Park

For a one-of-a-kind playground in Launceston, look no further than the Riverbend Park. Located right across the pedestrian bridge from Seaport, the park is easily accessible from the city centre.

Riverbend used to be an industrial precinct for woolsheds on neglected swampy land. Following a huge renovation in 2020, the area was transformed into an innovative play space and the largest playground in Launceston. The park is divided into four distinct zones—The River Play area, Gorge Play area, Wild Core area, and Urban Plaza—each with its own range of play equipment and experiences. 

The main attraction here is the massive Sky Walk complete with nets and slides geared toward children aged 8 years and older. Have little kids? There's a special fenced area with smaller structures that are safe for toddlers. Riverbend is an all-abilities park, making it easy for children with physical challenges to play along with their peers.

Hollybanks Wilderness Adventures

Located an easy 20-minute drive from Launceston, Hollybank Wilderness Adventure offers a wide range of activities for adventure seekers of all ages. Australia's only forest adventure destination, Hollybanks is a great opportunity for children and adults alike to connect with their natural environment. 

Families can test their sense of adventure on a Tree Ropes obstacle course. Here, you’ll spend a couple of fun hours climbing ladders, stepping over shaky floating planks, and jumping off platforms among the pine trees of Hollybank forest. You can pick the difficulty level appropriate for your kids from over 70 challenges spanning from the easiest 2 m (6.5 ft) level to the most challenging 20 m (65 ft) one. There’s also a thrilling zipline—the longest one in Tasmania— as well as off-road segway tours and mountain biking for everyone from beginners to highly skilled riders.

Seahorse World

Seahorse World in Beauty Point halfway between Launceston and Devonport is a unique place of marine conservation and education. This is Australia's only working seahorse farm and among the rare ones in the world registered to export seahorses.

The farm offers plenty of opportunities to learn interesting facts about these unusual creatures. Did you know that seahorses have exceptionally fast digestion, causing them to eat almost constantly? Or that they swim in pairs with their tails linked together? You’ll learn all this and more on a 45-minute expert guided tour of the farm. And the best part is, the entire family gets the chance to hold a seahorse at the end of the tour.

You’ll also get a glimpse into the life of other native sea creatures, including sea dragons, Australian giant cuttlefish, Tasmanian giant crabs, and giant lobsters the size of a small dog, the largest freshwater invertebrate in the world.

Seahorse world launceston

Looking for More Family-Friendly Experiences in Tasmania?

First Light Travel offers a range of ready-made Tasmania Family Self Drive Tours to help you plan an unforgettable trip. If you’d like to create your own self-drive itinerary then simply chat with our travel specialists for more ideas on family-friendly Tasmanian destinations.

 

Steve Taylor
By
Steve Taylor
: 10 Jan 2022 (Last updated: 10 Jan 2022)

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