Image credit: iSky Aerial Photography/Tourism Tasmania
Few cities have a slice of nature this spectacular on their doorstep. Cataract Gorge is only a 10-minute drive from the CBD, and blends manicured lawns and bushland with the spectacular gorge itself. The area is home to pademelons, peacocks and wallabies and you can take it all in as you drift overhead on the chairlift, the longest of its kind in the world.
Image credit: Steven Penton/Flickr (Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Kimberley Warm Springs2/12
Springs? In Tasmania? It’s a thing. This little-visited geothermal pool, an hour’s drive west of Launceston, maintains a constant water temperature of between 24ºC and 25ºC, and sits inside a 2-hectare bushland reserve. Nearby Sheffield is known as the Town of Murals, due to the 140 artworks dotted around the town.
Image credit: Stu Gibson
larapuna / Bay of Fires3/12
Famous for its wild, painterly juxtaposition of sapphire-blue water and streaks of bright-orange, ‘fiery’ lichen splashing the shoreline boulders, the larapuna / Bay of Fires is a phenomenon like nowhere else on earth. To fully immerse yourself, join a multi-day trek such as The Tasmanian Walking Co’s four-day lodge walk.
The colours of the larapuna / Bay of Fires area are stunning. Discover flights to Launceston at qantas.com
Image credit: Tim Whybrow
Ben Lomond National Park4/12
One of only two ski fields in Tasmania, Ben Lomond National Park, an hour’s drive south-east of Launceston, is a winter wonderland that includes an alpine village and six ski lifts suitable for beginner and intermediate snow-sport enthusiasts. It’s also home to plenty of wildlife; it’s not uncommon to see wombats and wallabies around the ski fields, even in the depths of winter.
Image credit: Paul Fleming
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park5/12
Considered one of Tasmania’s signature wilderness areas, it’s fair to say that you haven’t “done” Tasmania until you’ve visited the breathtaking Cradle Mountain at the island state's heart. Cradle Mountain Lodge is a luxurious base from which to explore Dove Lake, the pencil pine forests and Crater Lake.
Image credit: Phillip Marsh/Flickr(Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Not one to tackle without stout boots and an even stouter heart, the steep six-kilometre return hike and climb up Quamby Bluff, a 50-minute drive south-west of Launceston, involves a serious exertion but one that comes with top-tier beauty at its summit. After clambering up the final stretch, expect uninterrupted views as far as Devonport and Bass Strait on a clear day.
Planning a getaway to Tasmania? Discover flights to Launceston at qantas.com
Image credit: Jess Bonde
Narawntapu National Park7/12
It’s known as the Serengeti of Tasmania and you’ll find it just an hour’s drive north of Launceston: Narawntapu National Park stretches from Bakers Beach to Greens Beach and teems with native wildlife – kangaroos, quolls, wombats and echidnas can be spotted from the park’s well-marked walking trails. It’s also a place of significant Indigenous heritage; look out for ancient shell middens and other artefacts.
Image credit: Tourism Tasmania/Masaaki Aihara
A short hike with big rewards, the two-kilometre walk to the cascading, multi-tiered Liffey Falls, within the Liffey Falls State Reserve, is well worth the 45-minute drive from Launceston. The temperate-rainforest trail is feature-packed, flanked by eucalypts, treeferns and sassafras, with the dramatic waterfall revealing itself at several look-out points along the way.
Image credit: Flow Mountain Bike
Trevallyn Nature Recreation Area9/12
Just a few minutes outside Launceston, the Trevallyn Nature Recreation Area is criss-crossed by 35 kilometres of tracks and trails, including seven kilometres reserved specifically for mountain biking, but it’s also popular for horseriding, kayaking and fishing. The mostly flat, two-kilometre Hoo Hoo Hut to Trevallyn Dam Walk, which follows the South Esk River, is the pick for walking or trail running.
Northern Tasmania is packed with surprises. Discover flights to Launceston at qantas.com
Image credit: Steve Bittinger/Flickr (Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Tamar Island Wetlands10/12
Just 15 minutes from the city is a 60-hectare nature reserve made up of lagoons, mud flats and islands, home to an estimated 60 species of birds – including the endangered white-bellied sea eagle – as well as frogs, lizards and snakes. A series of easily-navigable boardwalks and a bird hide give visitors plenty of opportunities for photography or simply observing the wildlife in its natural habitat.
Image credit: Tourism Tasmania/Graham Freeman
Alum Cliffs (Tulumpanga)11/12
A pretty walk near the bustling town of Mole Creek that runs past several sculptures and other artwork created by Indigenous artists, this experience culminates in a lookout with deep views into the gorge over the Mersey River. The nearby Mole Creek Caves, which sparkle with crystals and glow-worms, are also not to be missed.