Explore lovely Launceston with Avis
Drive out of Launceston on a four-day getaway with Avis and you'll find exhilarating scenery, cellar doors and a great food scene.
If ever a place was designed for a driving holiday, it’s Tasmania. The roads are scenically winding, the landscapes splendid, the forests mossy and air fresh, and the distances relatively short. You’ll find ample opportunity to stretch your legs amid stunning wilderness, but you’ll come across historical villages, quirky sights and urban delights as well.
Even better, the island-state has outstanding culinary delights. You’re never far from cellar doors or great restaurants. The northeast is a lush, ripe region noted for seasonal produce such as seafood, beef, stone fruit, truffles and much more.
Drive northeast and, over four days, Avis helps you enjoy the journey in comfort as much as the destination. This tour covers around 400 kilometres over four pleasure-laden days, so there’s no need to hurry. Slow down, and let Tasmania’s many charms relax you.
PLUS, we've got a special offer for you to make your holiday to Launceston that little bit sweeter!
Hire a car at any Avis location in Tasmania for 3 or more days, with a Saturday night overstay, and we’ll cover the daily base rate on your 3rd day. *T&Cs apply.
START PLANNING YOUR TRIP WITH AVIS
DAY 1: AMONG THE VINEYARDS
Minimise contact and speed up your car collection process by pre-adding your driver’s licence and payment method to your digital reservation using Avis PreCheck. It’s even swifter for Avis Preferred members, since the Avis PreCheck process is done automatically.
With Avis PreCheck you’ll be away from Launceston airport in no time and heading north into the gorgeous Tamar Valley, where (if it’s berry season) you can pause for a coffee at Hillwood Berries Farmgate and pick your own strawberries and blueberries.
Then swing east towards the Pipers River region, where you’ll find pretty landscapes of seaside villages, orchard farms and forest, with the occasional gold-mining settlement providing historical interest.
This cool climate wine region is best known for its Sparkling wines, from the interestingly boutique to those getting recognition internationally. A first stop might be Bay of Fires Winery where, if you have time, you can enjoy a Riesling masterclass.
Delamere Vineyard specialises in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which you can sample on its lovely vine-shaded terrace, while Jansz Tasmania takes you through a curated tasting of its notable sparkling wines.
Aim for lunch at neighbouring Pipers Brook Vineyard among well-tended vines. Here Nadine’s Café has modern Tasmanian fare well matched with its wines; the seafood chowder is delicious.
If you’re really into the region’s wines then it’s worth the short detour south to Clover Hill. It not only has excellent Sparkling wines, but a strikingly modern cellar door and views that stretch towards the Bass Strait.
Spend the evening in Bridport, whose accommodation options include the secluded, waterfront Untali Beach House on the Little Forester River, or self-contained Bridport Beach Cottages for a more urban setting close to many restaurants.
Dine at Bridport Distilling Company, where you can start off with a classic cocktail or one of its spirits – the gin flavoured with lemon myrtle and Tasmanian pepperberry, perhaps, or the spiced rum. Shared grazing platters are more suitable for lunchtime, but on weekend evenings you can dine on local slow-cooked lamb with pomegranate, or pork koftas with barbeque sauce.
The boats at Bridport Wharf in Tasmania (Image credit: Tourism Tasmania).
A splash of Sparkling at Clover Hill cellar door (Image credit: Clover Hill Wines).
DAY 2: INTO THE FOREST
If you’re a golfer – or want to give it a go – then there are few better places to swing a club then in Barnbougle near Bridport, where both the Dunes and Lost Farm links are rated among Australia’s best. If you’d rather have a morning walk without the stress of controlling a little white ball, then head to the coastal Bridport Walking Track.
You won’t need to drive far as you turn inland to reach Scottsdale, whose Art Gallery Café will provide your fuel for the afternoon with its hearty sandwiches, salads and soups of the day. Take the chance to browse works by some of Tasmania’s leading artists, which include paintings, pottery and glassware, often inspired by the local landscapes.
Aim to spend the afternoon at Derby, where you can stay at Tin Mountain, whose three units are stylishly clad in wood and gaze over the treetops around the Ringarooma River. Among the treats of this region is Little Blue Lake, the remains of an old tin mine whose minerals give the water a startlingly electric-blue colour.
You might also want to rent a mountain bike at Vertigo MTB and hit the Blue Derby trails, which are first-class. The well-maintained network has 125 kilometres of trail, so you’ll find something suitable whatever your ability, and enjoy the stunning greenery of the surrounding temperate rainforest.
After that, you’ve earned time at one of Tasmania’s quirkiest experiences, the chic, wood-fired Floating Sauna on Lake Derby. Soothe your muscles in the 80-degree heat and enjoy calming views from floor-to-ceiling windows, then (if you dare) take the leap into the seven-degree water, which energises you like an electric shock.
You’ll be guaranteed to sleep like an angel.
Although dining choices are limited in tiny Derby, you won’t be disappointed with the pizzas at The Hub – try the Original Sin (onion marmalade, mozzarella, chicken) or the King of the Mountain, which features Tassie smoked salmon and capers. At Main Street Lounge, which has great views and eccentric artworks, you can indulge in pork belly, beef short rib or Tasmanian scallops with risotto.
A tasting plate from Pyengana Dairy Company in Tasmania (Image credit: Tourism Australia).
Thrilling turns await on the Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails (Image credit: Revolution MTB).
DAY 3: ONTO THE COAST
If you are renting an Avis car, the luxury of time is in your hands. Enjoy a slow start to your morning or take to the road early if you are eager to explore. It’s just a short drive south to Weldorough, another former tin-mining town with a curious history, now a tranquil historical village surrounded by splendid rainforest. You could have an early lunch at Pyengana Dairy Company, where fat cows wade in knee-deep grass and two rivers gurgle. You can see cheesemakers in action before tucking into a cheese plate and glass of wine.
An alternative is nearby Pub in the Paddock, dating from 1880, which provides classic pub grub with a side of luscious green hills. Make it an early lunch, because you’ll want to head onwards to St Helens and the Bay of Fires.
The Bay of Fires is one of Australia’s most marvellous coastlines. It features pristine beaches, bird-filled lagoons, rugged bushland and striking orange-stained boulders backed by sapphire seas, as if dreamed up by an Impressionist painter.
Blow away the cobwebs by doing a section of the 35-kilometre Bay of Fires walking trail, or take to a kayak at Ansons River. You can also swim, surf, snorkel, fish and mountain bike.
Binalong Bay has rock pools that tempt you to float as you gaze at the sky and listen to the call of plovers. Meanwhile the huge rock that dominates the southern end of Taylors Beach is the perfect spot for sunset; bring your own bottle of Tasmanian wine and enjoy.
Talking of wine, visit Priory Ridge Wines, whose cellar door occupies an old shearing shed: it produces good Pinot Noir and Gewrztraminer. Stay at Bay of Fires Bush Retreat, which immerses you in bushland while providing striking designer chic and a boutique-hotel experience.
A good place for dinner is Furneaux, which blends modern Australian and French influences in dishes such as confit duck leg, pumpkin ravioli, and classics such as cheese soufflé and crêpes Suzette.
Make a splash at the Floating Sauna, Lake Derby (Image credit: Dearna Bond).
Be driven by better when you book with Avis.
DAY 4: URBAN EXPERIENCE
You could easily spend a day or two more at the Bay of Fires, and luckily the Avis App allows you to extend your car rental if the spirit takes you. Otherwise, you’ll have to turn back towards Launceston.
The drive is a tad over two hours if you don’t stop but, as you near Launceston, there are several distractions including two World Heritage convict sites at Woolmers Estate and Brickendon, where you can explore Georgian-era homesteads, farm buildings and gardens. The perfumed rose garden at Woolmers is wonderful in summer.
You will, however, want to save the whole afternoon for Launceston itself. The city preserves splendid historical facades, squares and colonial-era statues, and has pretty parks set along the Tamar River, but Launceston is also a buzzing town and UNESCO City of Gastronomy.
The outstanding dining scene taps into all the wine, orchard fruits and other fresh produce of the northeast – including walnuts, hazelnuts, truffles and peaches – and now boasts some 200 restaurants and almost as many providores. Try to time your visit for a Saturday, when the Harvest Market tempts with a mouth-watering array of goodies you can plunder for a picnic at iconic Cataract Gorge outside town.
For dinner, you’re spoiled for choice. Carnivores will love Black Cow Bistro, whose wine lists samples the Tamar Valley’s best drops, and whose 400-gram New York-style porterhouse will leave you with little room for the scrumptious frozen caramel slice.
Prefer something a bit more alternative? Hit tiny Pachinko, a modern Asian eatery that features seasonal, sustainably.sourced produce over an eight-course menu chosen by the chef for yet another satisfying Tasmanian experience. There’s certainly lots to discover in beloved old ‘Launnie’.
Planning your dream Launceston road trip?
Don’t wait a moment longer – Avis are offering a complementary hire day when you book for 3 or more days, from any Avis location in Tasmania, with a Saturday night overstay.
Book before 30 June 2023 for travel before 20 December 2023 *T&Cs apply.