Arriving in the early afternoon at Launceston Airport and a quick exit with a rental car will give you the chance to call in to Joseph Chromy Cellar door. With a great setting, outlook and fine tasting wines it is a great way to start a weekend away or a longer getaway. From here it is a short drive into Launceston, arriving at a fresh new face on the hotel scene in Tasmania’s second biggest city, Hotel Verge; a very welcoming boutique hotel. This new property offers all the conveniences of a city hotel with a contemporary industrial design, spacious rooms and with most offering views across the city or Albert Hall/City Park.
With the city centre only a stone’s throw away, most of Launceston’s top sights and highlights are easily accessible on foot from the property. This area of Tasmania is renowned for its amazing produce which can be experienced all over the city. For more casual dining, Alexandra Walk has a selection of fantastic restaurants to choose from overlooking the river, or join the after work crowds along George Street. If you’re looking for something a little ‘finer’ there is plenty to choose from; Black Cow, Brisbane Street Bistro and the stalwart Stillwater are some of Launceston’s most renowned fine dining establishments to try.
Before heading out of the city, a visit to the Harvest Market is a must on a Saturday morning. With local growers from around the region meeting to offer the best of their produce along with a number of breakfast options it’s a great way to start your day, located right on the doorstep of your hotel. For those with more time in Launceston, Cataract Gorge Reserve has options for everyone, and you can be as active or lazy as you wish with a Chairlift, walking trails and café.
Heading from Launceston to Cradle Mountain National Park you can choose to stop off en route at the picturesque artist town of Sheffield, renowned for its amazing Mural Park, and many buildings covered in colourful paintings. The farm shop at Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm and Café makes the perfect pit stop to pick up some seasonal produce for your journey into the national park.
Two nights would be the minimum recommended for a stay at Cradle Mountain and the pick of accommodations is Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, offering a selection of rooms and suites to suit all budgets. For those wishing to celebrate a special occasion or splash out, the King Billy Suite is the ultimate in secluded luxury in the wilderness with a wood fire, and outdoor jacuzzi set on the deck overlooking the surrounding bush.
With a short stay, the Dove Lake circuit walk is great exercise offering numerous vantage points for rests and photographs. There are a number of longer walks for the more adventurous and in the coming months the new, modern visitor centre is due to open, offering those with less mobility a great covered shelter with panoramic views across Dove Lake and, weather permitting, the peaks of the mountain.
The weather in Cradle Mountain can be quite cool in the mornings, and even in summer it is not uncommon to wake to a fresh single figure temperature before heading to breakfast or entry into the national park. So remember to bring a couple of layers for a summer trip and plenty more for any other time of year.
Leaving the region and heading back to Launceston airport left me thinking there is still plenty more to see in and around Tasmania’s north, and it’s a place you can come back to time and time again. With a national park like Cradle Mountain at your doorstep, great food, local wines and friendly locals there is no reason not to tick off this area while we cannot travel overseas.
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