A visit to Launceston City Park is a highlight during any trip to the capital of the northern Tasmanian Tamar Valley region. There’s the usual things you’d expect to find during a stroll through the park: manicured flower beds, paths winding through mature trees and garden structures. And then there’s a big surprise!
Visit Launceston City Park: Tasmania
It’s not every day you stumble across a monkey enclosure in a city park, but that’s what happened to us in Launceston. We started a brisk morning walk after leaving our bed and breakfast accommodation, enjoying the military monuments and the shade of the well-established trees, dating back to the mid-1800s.
Our quick walk ended in an hour’s gazing at the fabulous Japanese macaques. Yes, monkeys! Their enclosure allowed us to get quite close to the animals, who were busy washing their carrots in the water and diving in for a swim. As monkeys do, they tended to each others fur and seemed blissfully unconcerned by the spectators.
Apparently these monkeys are suited to living in the Launceston City Park, as Japanese macaques can handle the variety of temperatures prevalent in Tasmania. I guess the time they spend swimming in the water regulates their body heat.
The Launceston monkeys are usually on display between 8:00am and 4:00pm each day.
It would be difficult to top the surprise of a monkey enclosure, but there are other reasons to visit Launceston City Park. The John Hart Conservatory is usually open from about 9:00am to 4:30pm (and longer hours during summer). Apart from being a lovely art-deco building surrounded by changing displays of annuals, there’s the horticultural displays inside for the gardening enthusiast. And it makes a very nice back-drop for photography portraits.
Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
We enjoyed one more huge surprise, but unlike the Launceston monkey show, it doesn’t happen every day. We were in town researching another Think Tasmania article, and happened to be staying across the road from the Launceston City Park. As darkness fell over the city, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra fired up! How cool is that? For classical music novices like us, they performed some very popular and family-friendly tunes.
Hundreds of happy campers laid their blankets on the park’s lawns, enjoyed an evening picnic and the very impressive stage show. Although this was a very special treat, you can enjoy music at other times.
A council initiative, Music in the Park provides free performances in the stunning surrounds throughout the remainder of the year. Details can be found at the council’s Launceston City Park website page, along with other general information about the gardens.
Launceston City Park is also home to Festivale: a celebration of quality Tasmanian food, wine and beer, arts and entertainment. Festivale is next scheduled for February 11-13. We have it marked in the diary for Think Tasmania already. And we’ll definitely pay another visit to the adorable Launceston monkeys.