Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Launceston Tasmania

Launceston Tasmania

While the original Launceston I'm told is pronounced "Lawnston" in Oz its pronounced as its spelled!! Makes sense to me.

We picked the timing just right to visit the Apple Isle and got a great deal from discoveraustralia.com.au that gave us 10 days accommodation and return airfares from Sydney to Launceston for under A$1000. Coupled with that a little Nissan Micra we got online from https://book.vroomvroomvroom.com.au/book/ for A$30 a day unlimited km and averaged 6.6 l/100km. Weather was cool without freezing and the autumn colours were a treat. Luckily we had only 2 days with a bit of light rain, with the rest clear and warm.

Our accommodation was a budget come backpacker hotel that we loved. Room clean, good heating, flat TV, excellent shower, well equipped kitchen to cook you own food and a laundry with quite new machines and driers. Its also one of the oldest, if not the oldest buildings offering accommodation in Australia and from where John Batman and John Fawkner went forth to found Melbourne. Enemy's, the argument still goes on as to which was the real founder of Melbourne. This is the sort of discussion to have around a fire on a cold night with a jug of port.

Launceston is a pretty city, with loads of history, wonderful old buildings, parks, pedestrian malls and squares. A huge variety of (often over priced) boutique restaurants and always the two rivers. The bigger Tamar and smaller North Esk river plus the clock tower that peels the the hours and quarters day and night. 

Cataract Gorge is a must see and we walked the easy north path up the gorge and took the challenging Zig Zag track back.

Launceston is pretty central for sightseeing the north of the Island and all can be reached in a days drive. East through the old mining areas to St Helens; north up the Tamar valley with its huge number of vineyards to Port Dalrymple or Georgetown; west to Devenport and Burnie and south into the highlands with wonderful lakes, mountain scenery and rich valleys.
Unfortunately the mist did not make for good photo's, so its a good excuse to go see it all yourself. But the scenery is most definitely worth the trip. Add to that the very many churches, art centres, museums and you find 10 days is barely enough.

Tasmania is beautiful, cool, very friendly and exceptionally clean. Farmers take pride in their surroundings and the usual junk yards associated with farms in other regions are simply not there.

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