A visit to Launceston is not complete without a visit to Cataract Gorge. Just a 15 minute walk from the city centre and you’ll be in this paradise known as Cataract Gorge.
The Gorge Scenic Chairlift, built in 1972, covers 457 meters, but the central span of 308 metres is believed to be the longest single chairlift span in the world.
As you travel slowly over the naturally formed basin below you can appreciate the magnificent views of this ancient rock gorge, plenty of time to take in the scenery and take photographs.
We were quite unaware of what to expect when arriving at Cataract Gorge, but it’s spectacular, there are long expanses of green grass to relax under a tree, there are many walking and hiking trails, the chairlift and a swimming pool, a cafe and a restaurant.
Of course there is also the wildlife that are wondering around, we saw plenty of birds and lizards, wallabies and peacocks.
The Alexandra Suspension bridge was first built in 1904, but was washed away by floods and subsequently later rebuilt.
The Main car park is at the First Basin. Follow the signs from York or Frederick Streets. Entry is free to walk around, but there is a charge for the scenic chairlift.
Both of us enjoy our cars, we both have differing views on what we like best but we can both appreciate our old cars, so a visit to The National Automobile Museum of Tasmania was a must for us.
The museum has plenty of vehicles from days gone by, as well as a mezzanine level packed with motorcycles. All of these cars are privately owned and whilst some come with stories of their own, combined they all play an important part in our history of automobiles. This is one of Australia’s most significant motoring collections.
These small air compressors were a common sight in garages in the early 1930’s. In the 1920’s they were revolutionary, having made the hand pump obsolete. This is the famous Michelin Rubber Man pump made in Paris in 1926.
Open 7 days a week.
Address: Cnr Willis Street & Cimitiere Street, Launceston, Tasmania
‘Once in a lifetime opportunity’, you hear that phrase thrown around all the time, but we are about to use it again …. yes, this was another of those once in a lifetime experiences that was truly amazing.
Devils@cradle is a wildlife conservation facility located in the world heritage wilderness area of Cradle Mountain, Tasmania. This great facility focuses on Tasmania’s three carnivorous marsupials, the Tasmanian Devil and the Eastern and Spotted-tail Quoll.
The sanctuary not only raises public awareness and much needed funds for these animals, but it forms part of a nation-wide captive breeding program for the Tasmanian Devil.
Their Field Monitoring Program collects data from within the Cradle Mountain area by use of remote cameras, road kill surveys, spotlight surveys and speaking with locals and visitors about their experiences and possible interactions.
The keepers at this facility are all very knowledgeable and passionate about the devils and are committed to ensuring the long-term survival of this unique species.
Both the Tasmanian Devil and the quoll are nocturnal creatures and quite shy and for this reason it’s actually quite uncommon to see one in the wild.
Tasmanian Devils are currently listed as a vulnerable species under the threatened species act. There are numerous issues impacting the long-term outlook for the Devils, but one of the more severe factors is Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).
A lot of you will be aware of Devil Facial Tumour Disease, but for those of you who have not heard of this (particularly our overseas followers), this is a debilitating cancer which is so wide-spread that it’s affecting up to 50% of wild Tasmanian Devils. The disease is characterised by the development of ulcerated tumours which appear around the jaws and head of the devil. The disease is fatal and an affected devil will generally starve to death within 3-5 months.
DFTD is such a complex issue and there is no treatment or vaccine. It appears that each tumour that is found is identical, with the same genetic code, which means that environmental stimulants can be ruled out and these tumours are being transferred directly between the individual devils.
One reason for this could be inbreeding and lack of genetic diversity of the devil population and this is resulting in the tumours ‘transplanting’ from one devil to another. At this stage it is near impossible to control this and this is why places like ‘Devils @ Cradle’ are so important for the future preservation of this species.
One thing to keep in mind if visiting the sanctuary is to take a warm jacket! The day we visited it was summer and we had been in shorts and t-shirts all day, but by the time we reached the sanctuary (which is around 850m above sea level) it was absolutely freezing and our change of clothes and jackets we took with us were greatly appreciated!
The tour we took part in was called ‘Dine with the Devil’ and this was a chance to have an up close and personal interaction with the devils in a small group – in our case, it was a personal tour for just the two of us!
We were supplied with a beautiful platter of Tasmanian salmon, cheese and crackers, olives, dip, wine and beers.
After spending time watching these cute little guys playing we had the unforgettable experience of meeting one of the young devils up close and patting her.
After a walk around the sanctuary grounds and learning a little more about the devils and quolls, it was time to feed the hungry devils and roast some marshmallows around the campfire.
These devils may be small, but they are strong, you wouldn’t believe the weight pulling on that rope. We were stunned at just how quickly the devils devoured their meal aswell, all completely gone … fur, bones and all!
The tour ran for around 1 hour and we had a little extra time to watch the devils playing before and after the tour.
Information: You can choose from Day Keeper Tours, After Dark Feeding Tours and of course, the Dine with the Devil tour that we did.
Whilst driving to Launceston we passed a turnoff to Woolmers Estate & Brickendon and decided to go and check them out and we are so glad we did.
Both of these places are World Heritage Listed Convict Sites.
Four Archer brothers emigrated from Hertford, UK between 1811 and 1833 and all settled close to one another, in fact William and Thomas farmed side by side. Thomas Archer settled on Woolmers Estate which was a pastoral operation running sheep and cattle, while William Archer settled on Brickendon, an agricultural property. Both estates were run independently of each other, but they did share their assigned convicts.
Both Woolmers Estate and Brickendon took part in the convict Assignment System which operated in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) until 1840. Under the Assignment System, convicts were assigned to free settlers. They were responsible for feeding, clothing and housing the convicts in return for their labour. This helped convicts as they could then have skills or a trade when they received their ‘ticket of leave’ and were then free to leave and obtain paid employment anywhere. It’s understood that they were so well looked after at these two properties that many stayed on for years or decades after receiving their ticket of leave.
Woolmers was owned by six generations of Thomas Archers. The first Thomas founded the property in 1817 and the final Thomas passed away in 1994. He did not have any heirs and left the property and it’s contents to the Archer Historical Foundation.
The property has numerous buildings where convicts once worked and lived. It’s the perfect place to reflect on colonial life and look back at the heritage that has been preserved over the years.
The Rose Garden was created in 2001 on the site of the original apple orchard.
Attraction Information: There is an entry fee applicable and you are provided with a booklet that allows a self guided tour around the property, except the main house. There is an extra fee if you would like to see and go on the tour of the main house.
Address: 658 Woolmers Lane, Longford
Telephone: 03 6391 2230
Much like the Woolmers Estate, there are numerous buildings to view and walk through in the farm village area. There is a lot of information on the history of the property and the convicts that lived and worked there. After walking around the village, it’s then time to explore the estate garden which is beautiful.
Brickendon has remained the same 1150 acres (465 hectares) as originally granted in 1824.
It’s amazing to see the crimes that these poor souls were sentenced for …… 7 years for stealing some handkerchiefs or life for stealing a pair of trousers, wow! It really starts to put things into perspective doesn’t it, we really do have it easy nowadays.
The photo below was taken in the estate garden. There was a wedding just finishing up the day we were there and its no wonder they hold so many weddings here, the backdrop is spectacular.
Attraction Information: There is an entry fee and you can take yourself on a self-guided tour, maps supplied. This also gives you entry to the gardens which are across the road.
Our Saturday started with an early morning visit to the world-famous ‘Salamanca Markets’. What a coincidence that we just happened to be in Hobart on the day of the markets …. Ok, maybe a little bit of secret planning on Shelly’s part!
In 1974 local traders established the first Salamanca Market and this was taken over by Hobart City Council and really came into its own as a tourist attraction by the 1980’s.
Every Saturday morning, Salamanca Place comes alive with market stalls filled with fresh Tasmania produce and plenty of other goodies. The street is filled with about 300 stallholders setting up to sell their wares for the day. There is so much variety on offer, including fresh fruit and vegetables, clothing & jewellery, toys, gifts & souvenirs and plenty of handmade arts of craft items. Of course there is plenty of yummy food around for you to try as well.
Attraction Information: Salamanca Market is open every Saturday from 8am until 3pm at Salamanca Place, Hobart
After a morning at the markets it was time to head off to Launceston, our home for the next two nights. We decided to head up the coastal road which took a little longer, but the views were definitely worth it.
On the way we called in to Bicheno. This is a very picturesque town on the east cost of Tasmania, approximately half way between Hobart & Launceston, on the coast. We called in here as everyone had told us how beautiful it was and how good the seafood was …… well the beautiful part we will agree with, but the seafood part we didn’t really find unfortunately. Although George did enjoy an overpriced crayfish roll.
OK so now George was really wanting some decent seafood! We asked at our hotel and we were recommended to go to Cataract on Paterson as it was probably the best restaurant in Launceston. Luckily we were able to get a late booking for dinner, so off we went. Wow, this place certainly didn’t disappoint …. the venue, the food and the staff and service was all impeccable, we couldn’t fault any part of our night.
Cataract on Paterson is located about 5min from the centre of the Launceston CBD. The venue itself is slightly industrial inside, but still warm and welcoming with its quirky features. The menu was a contemporary mix of Tasmanian produce with plenty of choice for all tastes. They also offer their interactive dining experience that serves your meal cooking at your table on a 400 degree volcanic stone! Neither of us had this, but our dessert did come on a frozen stone!
Attraction Information: Cataract on Paterson is located at 135 Paterson Street, Launceston