On our first morning in Launceston we woke up to torrential rain. After checking the scene from our hotel window we crawled back under the covers for another hour hoping the miserable weather would clear. It didn’t. At 9am, unable to sleep any longer, we prised ourselves from the bed in despair. We had planned to spend the day hiking the many trails of Cataract Gorge but the prospect of bush walking dripping wet through sludge didn’t really appeal. We googled ‘things to do in Launceston in the rain’ (as you do lol) and while the usual suspects popped up (museums, movies, indoor pool etc), nothing inspired. By 10am I’d had enough of sitting around and decided to brave the elements and get out amongst it anyway. Read on for all the details …
Launceston City Park
We had come to Tasmania ill prepared for wet weather. What were we thinking? Luckily, our hotel The Grand Chancellor Launceston had umbrellas on standby for guests. We grabbed two from the front desk before heading out. The minute the frigid air hit my bare face I regretted my decision, but I refused to lose face in front of The Hubs and I soldiered on. For 5 minutes. Then I went back to the hotel room and added virtually every piece of clothing I had. I had four layers up top and even dragged a pair of trackies over the top of my jeans. Bear in mind, we visited in January, the height of the Australian summer. I looked ridiculous when we headed back out for take 2, but I didn’t care. Our first stop of the day was Launceston City park which was only a block or so from our hotel. The rain had eased sightly, but everything was decidedly soggy so we had the picturesque grounds all to ourselves. The ducks (and the cutest little ducklings) didn’t seem to mind a bit! The conservatory provided much needed relief when a sudden downpour hit but strangely there were no kids on the playground.
Looking For Things To Do In Launceston
As if the rain wasn’t enough to deal with, the wind began howling. Hard! The grid like CBD streets made the perfect wind tunnel and I could feel the icy chill through all my layers. Keeping the umbrellas in check as we wandered was hard enough without having to balance them to take photos. We passed the Boags Brewery and the Automobile Museum which always feature highly on ‘things to do in Launceston’ lists before deciding a spot of lunch was in order.
We have dined at the Hogs Breath Cafe many times and when we spotted the distinctive signage across the road from the Automobile Museum we couldn’t resist. The restaurant occupies the former gas works building and they have done an amazing job preserving all the features. We wasted no time ordering a warming hot chocolate. Launceston is a delight for foodies and one of my favourite restaurants is the Black Cow Bistro in the heart of the CBD but we were let down by the Prickly Cactus when we were craving Mexican.
The weather had eased slightly while we lunched. Enough that we decided to head to Cataract Gorge after all. We had to walk back past our hotel and we ditched the umbrellas. The wind was rendering them almost useless anyway. It crossed our mind to grab the car we hired from Airport Rentals for our Tasmanian road trip while at the hotel but we decided to walk the short distance to Cataract Gorge in defiance of the weather. En route we passed through the centre of Launceston CBD and I couldn’t resist stopping at Cocobean for their gorgeous hand crafted chocolates. The 5 I bought were almost too pretty to eat … almost. Blueberry was my favourite.
I have no idea what we were thinking not bringing the car. I blame The Hubs. The walk might have been only 15 minutes long, but it was torture. The road out of the CBD inclines sharply. I have dubbed this heartbreak hill. The picture does not do the slope justice. The hand rails were most certainly needed and my calves were screaming in pain as they still hadn’t recovered from our hike in Wineglass Bay two days earlier. To add insult to injury, the heavens opened again and we got drenched. All 4 layers. Suffice to say, we were in a pretty miserable place when we finally reached Cataract Gorge Reserve.
When we arrived the information centre had already closed which we thought was rather bizzare but the server selling the chairlift tickets told us all we need to know. As we headed to the chairlift, we realised we were the only people around
stupid brave enough to challenge the elements and it was an eerie feeling seeing all the other chairs empty as we crossed high over the river. We noticed the deserted pool as we sailed over head. I find it hard to believe it would ever be warm enough for an outdoor swim in Launceston. As we rode the chairlift, the rain suddenly stopped and the cloud cover started to break. Things were looking up.
When we reached the other side shafts of sunlight started to peek through the canopy and we started off on the shortest of the trails. The ground underfoot was treacherous and after a few near falls on the slippery rocks I decided to call it a day. There is a delightful little café on the grounds and plenty of magnificent peacocks hang around strutting their stuff. Just don’t feed them!
We had only purchased a one way chairlift ticket so we opted for the ‘easy walk’ back into town. The well groomed path hugged the river and was a cinch compared to heartbreak hill. I wish I had known about the route earlier! With each passing step the weather improved. By the time we reached the Cataract Gorge boundary the sky was a vibrant blue and barely a cloud was left to mar the brilliance. I swear to you, every photo in this post was taken on the same day. If you are still looking for things to do in Launceston, stop in at Penny Royal Adventures on the walk back to town where you can try your hand at rock climbing and zip lining. When we reached our hotel our clothes had all but dried out, we had ditched a layer or two and our spirits had lifted considerably as the clouds were swept away. Despite the less than auspicious start, I’m not sorry we decided to dice with Mother Nature. Just look what we would have missed out on if we had retreated to the hotel room for the day.
Getting to Launceston is easy, we paid just $55pp return for our Jetstar tickets to Tasmania. I have spent more hours than I care to tally hunting down bargain airfares and you can find all my top tips for scoring a cheap flight here. What do you do when the weather rains on your parade while travelling? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.
Until Next Time …
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. We paid our own way in Launceston and as always, all opinions are my own.
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