A Week in Tasmania, Tamar Valley to the end of the road, Launceston

28 Mar 2022

Exploring Tasmania’s raw natural landscapes, gastronomy, art, and burgeoning architecture scene will always demand more time, a slower pace, a deeper breath, and reflection. But we know that most travellers to our part of the world may only have a few spare days to visit, a week at most.

For this amount of time, we’ve put together a handful of local experiences that will give visitors a taste of the island where Cumulus was founded. This is the third article of a three part series.

After the natural highs of Cradle Mountain take an ambling drive east towards Launceston, pausing at the local towns that dot this part of northern Tasmania and, importantly, the unmissable Tamar Valley — the island’s oldest wine region.

Much like with the Huon Valley, this part of Tasmania is full of artisanal producers with roadside stalls offering everything from fresh vegetables to homemade pies, truffles, and rich cheeses. But this is also a place to get off the main highway, to get lost on nondescript backroads and discover the small communities, country, and stories that make up this rich region. One of these is Sheffield, a town an hour east of Launceston, featuring an unique outdoor gallery of over 200 murals painted across its historic buildings. Further north, Narawntapu National Park is a stop teeming with local flora and fauna set next to the dramatic views of the unpredictable Bass Strait.

The Tamar Valley runs along the River Tamar, culminating in the Bass Strait. Driving along one side and then the other is the best way to experience the vineyards and vistas. For a calm place to taste a local drop, converse, and take in the views, we wouldn’t go past the family-run Stoney Rise Cellar door.

A good walk is always one of the best ways to get to know a place, and Launceston is no exception. The recent industrial past of Tasmania’s second largest city is reflected in the red brick facades splashed all around its centre, including on the distinct exteriors of Hotel Verge, a great option for a night’s stay.

To the north of the centre is Inveresk, the artistic hub of Launceston hosting the Queen Victoria Museum, the QVMAG Inveresk Community Gallery, and the University of Tasmania. On the way to the famous Cataract Gorge for a swim or a picnic, it’s hard to go past Stillwater Seven, a restored 1830s flour mill that now houses an award-winning restaurant and luxury hotel.

An overlooked aspect of these parts is the rich Aboriginal history, culture, and continued connection to the Country. If time allows, gain an important insight into this side of Tasmania by taking one of the many guided walks run by different local operators — some of which are an immersive three-day trek along the coast.

As the sun fades and the journey winds down, we suggest one last stop, a hidden gem in the heart of the city, an unassuming old power tool workshop that has been converted into a unique multi-sensory Japanese dining experience with a Launceston twist, Kosaten.