We’ve been in Launceston for just over two weeks.
These are our first impressions as outsiders (i.e mainlanders).
1. Nature & Parks
Launceston has countless beautiful parks. There’s the well known City Park (with a free-to-visit Japanese macaque enclosure). You can’t walk more than two blocks without finding a park.
And there’s the Cataract Gorge. A huge national park/river in the middle of a city. That’s pretty unique.
2. Hills, Hills Everywhere
The hills here are steep. If you’re a Lycra wearing cyclist, you’ll be in heaven. If you’re a person that rides a bike to get from A to B, it’s hell.
Getting around Launceston on foot or by bike is intense. Forget riding home from the pub after a few beers (luckily, they have Uber).
3. Jacket Potatoes
I didn’t know freestanding potato-only shops existed in Australia. There’s a jacket potato store every few blocks in the CBD and surrounding suburbs.
They’re delicious. Hopefully, this trend spreads to the mainland.
4. Historic Buildings
Launceston was the third city in Australia (after Sydney and Hobart), which explains all the 150-year-old buildings. The CBD is full of extravagant sandstone post offices, town halls, brewaries, and banks.
5. Irish and British Pubs
Every town in Australia has an Irish pub. But Launceston takes this to the extreme. A big chunk of the CBD pubs are Irish or British inspired. Here’s a quick list of pubs in town:
Maybe the Tasmanian weather is perfectly desgined with Guinness 🤔.
6. There’s An Australian-Style Hawker Hall in Launceston
Morty’s Food Court is a freestanding food court. It reminds us of a Singaporean hawker hall.
The prices are cheap, the food is tasty, and there’s even ice cream. We’ve been here two weeks and already eaten here three times.
7. There’s a Lot of Fibre Internet
Most of Launceston (and the surrounding suburbs) have fibre connections.
Our short-term rental has stable 50mbps/20mbps download/upload. Compared to the rest of Australia (especially our capital cities), that’s almost unheard of.
8. Nightclubs Are Open Especially Late
Here’s a snapshot of the open hours for Mode Niteclub:
The two main nightclubs in the CBD shut at 6AM. That wouldn’t be unusual in Melbourne, but Launceston’s a regional city of (almost) 100,000 people — I find this was fascinating.
9. There Are a Lot of Older People
This is just a general observation, but there seems to be a large number of 50-60+ residents and visitors.
Apparently, Tasmania is a popular travel destination for grey nomads with RVs. Can’t blame them — there’s a lot to see on the Apple Isle.
10. There’s a Casino
Most Australian capital cities have a casino, but I can’t think of a comparable regional city with a full-service casino (e.g table games).
The casino has all the common fixtures you would expect:
- A sports bar open until 4AM
- Endless pokie machines
- A buffet
We can vouch for the buffet — it’s worth checking out.
11. The Town Shuts on Sunday
A pretty significant amount of cafes, restaurants, and retail stores don’t open on Sunday. You see a lot of “Open 6 Days” signs on stores.
Pubs are still open, so you won’t starve or remain inappropriately sober.
12. Excellent Restaurants Options
Black Cow Bistro is next on our to-visit list:
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There are plenty of really decent places for food. Launceston has tonnes of quality dinner options (especially seafood and steakhouses).
It’s probably due to Tasmania’s high quality produce.