by Stephanie Williams
As far as city weekenders go, Launceston ticks a lot of boxes. It’s only two hours away (including lots of great options for stops – usually a vanilla slice in Ross or park time in Campbell Town for us) and it’s a bit like a choose your own adventure depending on your interests. We recently went north for a mountain bike race and made a fun weekend of it.
Rivers Rest was our haven for two nights. It’s a luxe townhouse in West Hobart with beautiful views down into the city and out to the mountain range. The property was created by Jo Youl, who also runs Flinders Wharf on Flinders Island. Jo engaged interior designer Emily Fitzgerald to craft the very comfortable shipyard-chic-meets-farmhouse space. For the design lovers, there are pieces by Jardan, Abode Living and MCM House with photographic prints by Kara Roselund. The location is spot on, being only a quick roll down the hill into town and the upstairs/downstairs living and fully kitted out chef’s kitchen worked well for our family.
If you time your visit with a Saturday morning, there’s no better place to find breakfast than at the Harvest Market. We made a beeline for egg and bacon rolls and coffee, and perfectly made croissants and bagels for the kids. There’s live music, lots of seating and so much fresh produce to enjoy. We also popped into Bread & Butter, right next door. It’s a cavernous space serving up coffee, pastries, bread and sandwiches heavily featuring their small batch cultured butter.
The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) feels like it’s been around forever; it was a constant when I was growing up. But having not visited for many years, it was time for a fresh look. Short on time we chose the Museum at Inveresk (the gallery is at Royal Park). There’s dinosaurs, animals, trains, artefacts from shipwrecks and lots of interesting items from Tasmania’s long history. We spent a decent amount of time taking in (as well as riding in the glass lift, a highlight for kids) and the Phenomena Factory was also hit. It’s an interactive science centre for all ages, starting with a nauseainducing spinning tunnel.
About ten minutes out of the city toward the Tamar Valley Wine Region, Velo Wines and Timbre had our booking for lunch. To me, Timbre is up there as one of Launceston’s best, but it’s also a solid option to take kids. Pencils and paper came to the table as quick as the wine list and both little people and big were satisfied with the local produce seasoned by fire and the skill of chef and owner Matt Adams.
The perfect place to burn off lunch was Tailrace Park on the road back into Launceston. The park is named after the tailrace of the nearby Trevallyn Power Station. It’s a big park with loads of swings and an epic climbing frame. If you wander down to the water there’s a boardwalk that hugs the shore and is great for spotting ducks and other birds.
If you’re feeling a little fancy there’s a few places to tick off your dinner list – Stillwater, Grain of the Silos, Black Cow Bistro, or if you’re feeling a little casual try Buddha Thai, Pachinko or Geronimo. But after a big day out, and with fresh market produce in the fridge, the gourmet kitchen at Rivers Rest was where we ended up, on the balcony watching the colours of the mountain ranges change as the sun set. ■