As the second-largest city after Hobart, with around 104,000 inhabitants, LAUNCESTON is the natural rival to the capital. Like Hobart, it is sited on a waterway, the Tamar River, and has plenty of historic architecture along with a matching colonial history; it has even acquired similar art and food cultures, and locals argue that their city stands up to comparison with Hobart. In truth though, Tasmania’s “northern capital” remains an oversized provincial town. Not that that is such a terrible thing. A small scale means that nothing in the town – from the excellent gallery-museum and increasingly sophisticated restaurant and café scene to the rugged beauty of Cataract Gorge – is more than twenty minutes’ walk away. And the surrounding vineyards of the Tamar Valley or the ice-shattered summit of Ben Lomond National Park are well within an hour’s drive.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Australia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
Solo travel in Australia: everything you need to know

Solo travel in Australia: everything you need to know

Australia remains a classic travel destination. A steady stream of gap-year backpackers, career breakers and round-the-world-trippers head down under to sample …

22 Nov 2016 • Shafik Meghji insert_drive_file Article
Road trip Australia: 6 of the best routes

Road trip Australia: 6 of the best routes

Pack your stuff, throw it in a camper van along with a surfboard and don’t look back… This might be an old cliché but it’s one for good reason: Australia…

18 Oct 2016 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month