When you step off the beaten track, you're often rewarded with something new that you would never have encountered otherwise.
We believe this sentiment to be especially true when it comes to regional centres across Australia- some of the most fascinating stories, history and people can be found just hours away from major city centres; far enough away to be considered a 'hidden gem' by outsiders, but close enough to be accessible.
This is where Launceston flourishes, in this golden zone of hidden and accessible. As the regional sibling to Hobart, Launceston has quietly been growing and evolving over the past few years into a travel destination unto itself. The foundation for brilliance has always been here, but it has been built upon by devoted locals and turned into an extraordinary display of Tasmanian culture- and now, it's finally time for this growth to be recognised on a national and international scale.
This accolade may come as a surprise to some, but many Launnie locals are celebrating it as confirmation of what they already knew.
“We’ve always known Launceston is one of the best places in the world. We are so delighted to once again host visitors from the mainland as they return to Tasmania, and we can’t wait to welcome more throughout 2022. Our promise is that you will grow here – whether that’s through close encounters with our nature and wildlife, reconnecting with loved ones while travelling, indulging in our fresh seasonal produce, or getting outside your comfort zone on an adventure, you will change for the better when you visit us.”
- Chris Griffin, CEO of Visit Northern Tasmania
So, what's so special about Launceston?
Every Launnie local will give you a different answer to that question. It's the history, it's the food, it's the wines and spirits and fresh produce, and it's the feel of a small town with all the conveniences of a city.
As Australia's third oldest European settlement, established in 1806 (The first being Sydney in 1788, the second Hobart in 1803), Launceston's city centre is home to many beautifully preserved and historically significant buildings. Cameron Street in particular hosts many fine examples of historic architecture, from the Crown Mill to the Launceston Post Office and clock tower. To help you find your way to the best examples and learn a bit of history, Cya on the Road hosts an audio guided tour for you to take at your own pace- Launceston: A Walk Along Historic Cameron Street. For a quicker walk with plenty of opportunities to stop for coffee and food, you can also try the Launceston City Walk.
As mentioned previously, Launceston has also been recognised by UNESCO as a Creative City of Gastronomy. This well-deserved title has been won thanks to the hard work of Launceston Gastronomy and all of the wonderful food vendors in the area.
“Over many years, Northern Tasmania has consistently demonstrated expertise in the development of agriculture, food processing, wine and beverage production, tourism and agritourism. Now that we have been recognised and listed as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, it will contribute positively to our regional economy and create new jobs in food-related industries and activities over the coming years. In addition, it formalises Launceston’s identity as one of the world’s great regional food cities.”
- Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten
To learn more about this accolade and all that it entails, read our blog piece Gastronomy: A Love of Launceston's Food.
Just as Melbourne has its laneways and boutique eateries, so does Launceston- Bar Two and Pachinko are just two of many uniquely modern but well kept secrets in the city on par with any venue from the mainland capitals.
For us here at Launceston Central, what makes Launnie so special is the locals themselves and the businesses they run - they really separate this town from every other.
The city is home to a wide range of people from diverse backgrounds, each with a friendly face and a story to tell. Some are part of families who have lived here for generations, some have fallen in love with the region and taken the plunge to move here from out of state- or even out of country. We have these locals to thank for the multitude of cafes, restaurants, bars, boutique stores, art experiences, beauty and health services, theatre and music performances, professional services and delicious seasonal produce on offer at our doorstep; and we think you'll come to appreciate them just as much as we do when you come to visit.