Looking for things to do in Launceston? There’s a pretty long list, I must say. But what about when it’s raining? The Apple Isle is getting a good drenching right now, and the school holidays are almost upon us. Don’t despair! With very little effort, there’s enough action to entertain the entire family.
1. National Automobile Museum of Tasmania
The confirmed petrol head will go nuts over the displays of vintage cars and bikes in here. At the moment, the exhibition features Peter Brock racing vehicles, worth a staggering amount of money. You might think a shed filled with classic cars is purely for the blokes, but there were a few ladies taking photos of the shiny autos the day we visited the Automobile Museum of Tasmania.
During a break in the weather, you can pop across the road from the Auto Museum to visit another of the classic things to do in Launceston: the Launceston City Park. The Japanese Macaques (monkeys) are always a popular attraction, and there is a small undercover shelter for viewing. The monkeys obviously don’t mind the water – they love to swim! The John Hart Conservatory is nearby, and has a gorgeous array of flowers.
3. Launceston Aquatic Centre
Why not get completely wet? The Launceston Aquatic Centre has indoor heated pools, spas and water-slides. There’s a beach-entry pool for younger kids to splash about, and a lap pool for the serious swimmer. There’s also a cafe selling awesome freshly squeezed juice, so you can just go and read the paper if you want!
4. Trevallyn Nature Recreation Area
You might need a raincoat for this one, but it’s definitely worth it. To see water flooding over the Trevallyn Dam wall in the Recreation Area is a rare opportunity. After heavy rainfall, the power of the South Esk River as it surges towards the junction with the North Esk River at the head of the Tamar River Estuary is magic!
5. Ritchie’s Mill
You might need a hot coffee to warm your hands after a trip to the lookout in Trevallyn. And you can get just that at Stillwater (ironic name, considering!). Ritchie’s Mill has a great view of the Tamar River during turbulent flooding, or indeed on calm days. Located on the boardwalk leading to the Old Launceston Seaport precinct, you can also wander through The Mill Providore & Gallery upstairs. You might even find a Tasmanian souvenir, or a chocolate treat with your name on it.
6. Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery
Any decent list of things to do in Launceston (raining or otherwise) has to include this gem: the Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery. This could actually take care of a whole rainy day without any qualms. The old railway site includes the Launceston Planetarium; Replay Exhibition (Sporting Life in Tasmania); and my personal favourite, the Phenomena Factory.
The Phenomena Factory is a science centre and is designed for kids young and old. The exhibits are interactive and entry is free. The Perception Tunnel is particularly worth a mention – don’t miss it!
7. Cataract Gorge
Again, outdoors but worth it. Especially in times of flood, the Cataract Gorge Reserve in Launceston is a magnificent recreational reserve. Last month, when the region was facing its once-in-fifty-years flood level, people were still able to access The Gorge and ride the chairlift. Crossing the South Esk River via the Alexandra Suspension Bridge, a swinging bridge built in 1895, is even more exciting when the water is gushing past.
8. Launceston Indoor Sports Arena
Want some exercise but don’t want to risk getting caught in a downpour? You can play a game of tennis at the Launceston Indoor Sports Arena, which has recently had a massive extension and upgrade to the facilities. The Tassie Tiger mini golf course (outdoor) is now accompanied by an indoor play gym for kids and a new pro shop. You can even catch the footy action on the big TV screens in the cafe.
9. Cataract Bistro
After all this activity, you might be looking for a spot of refreshment. During our last research mission to discover things to do in Launceston, we found the Cataract Bistro and stopped in for some lunch.
We didn’t have a booking, but we were greeted warmly by the friendly staff at the Cataract Bistro anyway, and enjoyed a sensational meal. Can’t wait to go back again: the chocolate mousse with brulee topping, macerated cherries and coconut macaroons… to die for!
10. Alice’s Cottages & Spa Hideaways
Of course, if you choose the right accommodation when you travel to Launceston, the rest of this list might be completely irrelevant. We stayed at the delightful Alice’s Cottages & Spa Hideaways and could have done just that all weekend. Hideaway, that is! With a hot, bubbly spa; a nip of complimentary port and some yummy chocolate truffles… Who wouldn’t like curling up on the sofa next to the open fire, with one of the books or a DVD? Maybe Tasmanian waterfalls are not the only perfect opportunity presented by the rain!
This post was sponsored by Trevallyn Grocer. If you need supplies for your adventures in Launceston, the Trevallyn Grocer is open seven days a week. You can find them on route to the Trevallyn Recreation Area and the famous Cataract Gorge. They’re proud supporters of Tasmanian producers, and stock fresh fruit and vegetables. They also have an in-house deli and gourmet lines. Phone (03) 6334 9588 or visit the Trevallyn Grocer online.