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Launceston is a picturesque and historic small city of 105,000 people, situated at the headwaters of the Tamar Valley, where the North and South Esk Rivers meet. You can easily spend a day getting a feel for this historic city.
Cataract Gorge, the entrance to the South Esk River, is Launceston's premier tourist destination. The Gorge is Launceston's own piece of wilderness just 15 minutes walk from the city centre. It has has walking and hiking trails, the world's longest single span chairlift, a swimming pool, restaurant, kiosk, peacocks and wildlife, gardens, suspension bridge, Interpretation Centre, an historic hydro-electric power station at Duck Reach and lookouts with spectacular views. There is a well-graded and sealed walking track on the northern bank of the Gorge from King's Bridge (built of cast iron in two parts in 1863 and 1904) to the gardens near the first basin. More energetic tracks continue to Duck Reach and along the southern edge of the gorge over Catarat Hill (the Zigzag track).
The city's Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery has two sites: the first being in the 1870s era railway workshop at Inveresk, the second in the 1891 Royal Park Art Gallery building on Wellington Street. The Inveresk site is the home for the museum collections, the preserved railway workshops, the planetarium and the children's science museum. The Royal park site is being refurbished to house the city's art collections.
The City Park is located in the heart of Launceston. This beautiful parkland features mature trees and shrubs, a display of annual flowers, a Japanese Macaque monkey enclosure, the John Hart Conservatory, a duck pond, senses garden, monuments, chess board, the historic Albert Hall, barbeque area and a children's playground. It's the ideal location for a picnic lunch.
The National Automobile Museum of Tasmania is in Cimitiere Street opposite City Park. It houses a collection of antique automobiles dating back to the early 1900s, as well as a large collection of piost-war cars. It also hosts regular themed exhibitions of particular car marques, styles and eras. The Automobile Museum is a "must see" for any car entusiast.
Launceston Historic Walks are conducted daily through the historic heart of the city. Go for a leisurely hour's walk through the city's past to hear the real story of the city's citizens, merchants, builders, rogues and rascals who left their mark on historic Launceston. Walks start at "1842" gallery on the corner of Cimitiere and St John Streets.