Going on a family trip to Launceston and want to know all the best things to do in Launceston with kids? Living in Launceston and looking for some new and exciting fun things to do in Launceston for kids? We have you covered!
Below, you will find our guide to all the top attractions in Launceston and surrounds to take your family. Your kids will love you for it.
Launceston is the second largest city in Tasmania and the third oldest in Australia. Located where the North Esk and South Esk rivers meet and become the Tamar River, Launceston is the northern part of the state about two hours drive from Hobart.
With a population just over 100,000, Launceston has a small town feel while having enough people to have a good range of kids activities Launceston. In addition to this, it is quick and easy to get outside of Launceston where there are many other things to do near Launceston Tasmania which are worth the trip.
Launceston is somewhere I have been many times. From trips away when I was a kid to trips to visit friends when I was in university to now as an adult, I have had many good times in Launceston. This time, we had extra fun enjoying all the kids activities in Launceston, Tasmania with our three.
Currently aged from 4 to 10 years old, this article details all our top things to do in Launceston Tasmania with kids. It definitely deserves a spot on your list of places to visit in Tasmania with kids.
Below, you will find our list of the top places to visit in Launceston, a second list of the attractions near Launceston that are worth visiting with kids (none are far) as well as the best places to stay for your ultimate family holiday in Launceston. There is also a handy map of all the things to see in Launceston that we mention here.
Top 8 Best Things To Do In Launceston With Kids
Here are the best things to do in Launceston city. Read through and select the ones that fit your interests and timeframe.
Also note that although I often get questions about what things to do in Launceston in May, things to do in Launceston in December, things to do in Launceston in July and other months or seasons, it is possible to do everything in this list at any time of year.
It’s worth checking forecasts for possible rain before booking Launceston kids activities that are outdoors like Hollybanks, but otherwise you can do anything at any time of year. Just always pack a warm jacket and umbrella as you just never know 🙂
The number one option of the things to do in Tasmania Launceston has to be Cataract Gorge.
Located a short drive from the city centre, this is where you’ll find parkland, walking trails, a cool playground, swimming pool, a suspension bridge and my personal favourite of the Launceston attractions for kids, the world’s longest single span chairlift.
It’s easy to spend the day here with a picnic and taking some of the longer walks.
With younger kids, our recommendation of fun things to do in Launceston Tasmania is to take a picnic and relax by the playground. To work up an appetite, walk over the suspension bridge to the other side of the gorge (our four year old does this easily) and take the chair lift back again.
In summer, take a dip in the pool.
Our kids really love the chairlift and would happily do this back and forth all day 🙂 As someone scared of heights, I do find it a bit scary, but my kids are just fine.
Address: 74-90 Basin Rd, West Launceston, Tasmania
Penny Royal Adventures
If you are looking for top things to do in Launceston, it’s hard to go past Penny Royal Adventures.
From its beginnings in 1979, Penny Royal Adventures has been reinvented and is kind of like two theme parks in one.
There are attractions around Tasmania’s colonial/convict past and others with an adventure theme including ziplining and rock climbing. All are perfect things to do with kids in Launceston, although what exactly you can do will vary based on the kid’s age.
Located between the city and Cataract Gorge, surrounded by cliffs and around a small “lake”, it’s a pretty setting that’s easy to get to and visit.
You can pick and choose which Launceston family attractions suit you based on your interests and abilities.
We highly recommend both the Brig Tamar Cruise and the Dark Ride, which teach you some history while entertaining you. They are both on boats which I think also add to them being the highlights of Penny Royal.
There is also a gold and gemstone mine where you can fossick for gold and a barefoot experience for younger kids where they run over different surfaces.
Thrill seeking kids will like the cliff walk (over suspension bridges by the side of the cliffs), the 100 metre zipline and the 20 metre quick drop. There’s also some fun rock climbing on the cliffs too.
Between the attractions and a variety of food outlets, this makes for a fun and easy day of kid friendly things to do in Launceston.
Address: 1 Bridge Rd, Launceston, Tasmania
Queen Victoria Museum And Planetarium
This free museum at the Inveresk Railyards Precinct in a magnificent building definitely deserves to be on this list of things to see and do in Launceston. Visual arts and design are a focus at this museum which is obvious from the moment you see the museum.
The largest regional museum in Australia, the first part of the museum focuses on the history of Tasmania with a particular emphasis on its natural history. There are dinosaurs and many Tasmanian animals with a special exhibit on the Tasmanian Tiger which the kids particularly enjoyed.
There is also a focus on transport with many different forms throughout the museum, including a whole section on trains including some carriages which you can explore. The train area also has a special toddler area which wasn’t open when we visited.
There is also a planetarium on site as well as space exhibits. We liked watching video footage of the first moon landing.
However, what really makes this one of the top things to see Launceston offers is the technology and science-museum-like areas. My kids absolutely loved all the experiments they could do, complete with explanations. It’s like a little science museum inside a big “normal” museum.
It’s not just indoors either. Some great kid experiments continue outside. We loved seeing how fast we could throw a ball, build a bridge and whisper to each other across a huge space just to have it magnified. From the outside, we also found a cool Blacksmith “shop” area set up how blacksmiths, toolsmiths and forgesmiths used to work in these buildings from 1909 – 1937.
This is a great all year attraction making it a top Launceston things to do in winter or summer.
Note: Part of this museum is also at Royal Park, but this write up is only focused on the Inveresk site.
Address: 2 Invermay Rd, Invermay Tasmania
Launceston Tramway Museum
We visited the Launceston Tramway Museum because I found out about it when researching this article for things to do at Launceston for kids. It turned out to be a great hidden spot that deserves more attention.
The museum is in an old shed which used to be a tram depot. It’s run by a team of volunteers that restore the old trams that used to run in Launceston and it’s obvious everyone loves trams there.
The museum details Launceston’s tram past with some old trams on display, one of which had been used as a chicken coop before being “rescued”. In fact, one of my favourite parts of the museum was reading what the trams had been used for after falling out of service. One had become a kids’ toy room which made the kid inside me very jealous!
Our kids loved looking at the restored trams and pretending we were driving them and taking on passengers. You can also take a look at any current restoration projects.
Outside is a restored tram which was turning 90 when we visited. It’s beautiful and, even as very recent ex-Melburnians who caught trams often, we enjoyed it a lot. You can ride it back and forth, which is fun.
This small museum and tram are located near the Tamar just north of the CBD by the Queen Victoria Museum and a big car park.
Entry to the museum is free (donations encouraged). The tram is run by demand and tickets cost $5 for adults, $2 for kids, free under 6 at time of publishing.
Address: 2 Invermay Rd, Invermay Tasmania
National Automobile Museum Of Tasmania
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Launceston for teenagers, or if you have kids who love cars, engines, and motorbikes, then you definitely need to swing by the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania.
Here, visitors can learn more about the history of the country’s most prominent motoring collections. Even the mezzanine itself is filled with motorcycles!
The museum houses, not just an impressive contemporary collection, but also traditional ones- ideal for kids who are fascinated by their build, engineering, and design.
Apart from the wide display of motorbikes, there are a lot of stunning cars to check out – Jaguars, Ferraris, and Supersports, to name a few. It’s also definitely one of the best things to do in Launceston in the rain since it’s all indoors.
Address: 84 Lindsay St, Invermay Tasmania
We found this park accidentally when we were visiting the automobile museum and what a find it was! It’s the perfect answer to what to do in Launceston with kids whether you are looking for things to do in Launceston with toddlers or older kids. It’s amazing!
This park area is filled with play equipment and there are also some basketball courts. Located right next to the Tamar River, it’s also by a scenic walk. We visited on a sunny (but cold) late afternoon and it was filled with people and had a great buzz. I enjoyed it a lot.
What really makes this park stand out as one of the top 10 things to do in Launceston, Tasmania is the playground areas though. I think it’s the best playground I’ve ever seen and I’ve been to tons of top playgrounds around the world.
There are four zones called the River Play area, Gorge Play area, Wild Core Area and Urban plaza with each zone having its own range of play equipment and experiences from swings and sandpits to diggers and outdoor table tennis and sports courts. There is a play area for everyone and all ages.
The most amazing part is how I found the park – the huge “Sky Walk” (pictured above). This structure is big and high and I could see it from a distance. In fact, it’s one of the biggest pieces of play equipment in Australia.
The kids have to climb up via nets and get down via slides. My kids could not get enough of it – even the four year old although my guess is it’s designed for older kids.
There are also BBQ facilities, toilets and a special fenced toddler play area. It’s the perfect option for low key and free Launceston things to do with kids.
Address: 81 Lindsay St, Invermay, Tasmania
The easiest choice of the free things to do in Launceston today is definitely to visit City Park!
This large park next to Launceston’s CBD has plenty of green space, benches and a playground. However, the main attraction for people looking for children’s activities Launceston has is definitely the Japanese macaque enclosure.
Here, you can watch the macaques play, interact and just be macaques. It’s lots of fun and our kids loved watching them clean each other, try to fix a broken swing and chase each other around. They can watch them for ages!
Address: 45-55 Tamar St, Launceston, Tasmania
Gourlay’s Sweet Shop
I may be biased (I am a Gourlay 🙂 ) but if you are looking for things to do in Launceston CBD, you won’t want to forget to visit Gourlay’s Sweet Shop.
Established in 1896, this is Australia’s oldest (and best) confectionary store. There’s never been a better reason to indulge your sweet tooth. I especially recommend the acid drops (although not for the kids), so good!
It’s a great stop later in the day for well behaved kids 🙂
Address: 4-12 Quadrant Mall, Launceston, Tasmania
Top 9 Best Things To Do Around Launceston
Tamar Island Wetlands Centre
Located just outside Launceston, this is one of the things to do in Launceston area which has a two kilometre wheelchair and pram friendly boardwalk through part of the Tamar River Conservation Area.
There is an interpretation centre (not much in here) and toilets. There is an elevated bird hide you can walk to or you can make a loop around some Tamar islands.
It’s positioned for easy spotting of wildlife and we had a good time looking at an information sheet we picked up at the centre to help us work out the different types of birds and animals we saw on the way around. The highlight was definitely a snake we saw sleeping right by the boardwalk.
Entry is $6 for a family, although this seemed more like a suggested donation than a must.
Address: West Tamar Road, Riverside, Tasmania
Hollybanks Wilderness Adventures
When I asked my kids what’s the absolute top choice of things to do in Launceston this weekend that they would recommend to others, it was this! Hollybanks Wilderness Adventures.
Located an easy 25 minute drive from Launceston, there is a range of activities to do in Launceston here in the Hollybank Forest Reserve.
We tried the “Tree Ropes” which are basically obstacle courses among the high trees including things like climbing ladders, stepping over rickety floating planks, ziplines and jumps off platforms to finish up.
The courses can go quite high and be very thrilling.
There’s also one purpose built for 4 – 7 year olds that my 4 year old lapped up and could do all day every day. He usually isn’t catered to when we visit attractions like this, so he was extra thrilled to be able to participate.
There are also courses for 8+, 10+ and 13+ so you can pick the difficulty level appropriate for your kids. My 8 year old is very cautious and while he was freaked out initially, he was soon mastering it and feeling incredibly accomplished and good about himself – which I think is the best part about things for kids to do in Launceston like this.
It’s not just fun but at the time, it leads to a real sense of accomplishment that feeds their self worth and confidence.
The adult course is quite high and challenging and I’m sure every family member can find something they enjoy. Note that kids under 12 do need supervision though which can make it hard for adults to try out this course if you are like us and have kids in different age brackets that need watching.
In addition to the Tree Ropes, there is also a fun zipline tour, segway tour and mountain bike riding. This one of the attractions around Launceston which is perfect for any family who wants to get out into nature, have fun and accomplish something together.
Address: 66 Hollybank Rd, Underwood, Tasmania
Located at the foothills of the Tamar Valley, and just 18km from Launceston, the Tasmania Zoo houses several bird species and exotic animals including the famous Tasmanian Devil.
This is the place to go to see some of the native wildlife. However, note that there aren’t that many animals, with many empty enclosures, unfortunately being an issue. Entry fees are steep considering this and the paths around the enclosures can get quite muddy after rain.
It seemed more like a glorified petting zoo to us, but it is worth it to see Tasmanian Devils if you won’t get the chance elsewhere.
Address: 1166 Ecclestone Rd, Riverside, Tasmania
Just a quick 15 minute drive of Launceston in the Tamar Valley is Grindelwald. It is designed to be a Swiss Village by Roelf Vos, a Dutch who immigrated to Australia.
The town began its construction in 1980 on an artificial lake, and the houses here are inspired by the Swiss architecture style, which creates a dreamy ambience all throughout the entire village.
Visitors can shop at the shopping arcade, and check out the local gift store. Your little ones will also love the chocolate cafe. Other activities include paddle boat hire and canoeing on the lake as well as mini golf.
Address: 7 Waldhorn Drive, Grindelwald, Tasmania
Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm
If you happen to visit Tasmania via ferry, then you should definitely stop by at the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm, which is found on the highway between Devonport and Launceston.
Known to be one of the best things to see near Launceston, the 120 seater restaurant offers a menu that features raspberries, raspberries, and more raspberries!
Your kids will love the free complimentary tastings of the cafe’s signature product, the delectable Gourmet Chocolate-Coated Raspberry.
Fresh raspberries are also sold in the farm during its season, and during colder months, frozen raspberries, making it one of the best things to do in Launceston in winter.
After a filling meal, you can then stroll along the quaint lakeside boardwalk, which overlooks the birdlife and raspberry farm. Kids will also love the farm’s play area, and organised treasure hunts!
Address: 9 Christmas Hills Rd, Elizabeth Town, Tasmania
Beaconsfield Mine And Heritage Centre
Beaconsfield, located north from Launceston, is best known for its now defunct mine and the miners that became stuck here back in 2006. This mine centre is located on the original site of the mines and has much information about Beaconsfield, mining, the life of miners, the disaster and rescue in 2006 and much more.
It’s not just an indoor attraction either with plenty to see outside and around the original mines.
It’s a fascinating insight into mining and this area and it’s presented in a way that’s accessible for kids. There’s much to see and some interactive activities like getting to pan for gold and there are tunnels to crawl through and levers to pull.
Kids are also given a list of animals to find as they walk around the site although we found this quite hard and failed miserably! My only (super minor) complaint is that I wish they had them looking out for something mining themed, so they looked more at the exhibits instead of looking for animals.
Still, this is an interesting site that has something for all members of the family and it’s very much worth the 35 minute drive from Launceston.
Address: West St, Beaconsfield, Tasmania
For one of the awesome things to do Launceston and surrounds, head to Beauty Point! Here, you’ll find Seahorse World, a working seahorse farm and tourist attraction. This also works if you are looking for things to do in Launceston on a rainy day as it’s indoors.
During a 45 minute tour, you and the kids will learn all about seahorses and get to see them up close. You’ll even get to hold one!
From newborn seahorses to the breeding tank, they are all here. It’s an interesting journey in the life of seahorses with many facts and figures in a kid friendly experience. There’s also a few other creatures to see and learn about and the kids will most love getting to hold the seahorse, starfish and hermit crabs towards the end.
This is certainly one of the more unusual things to do in Launceston which we visited towards the end of our time in Launceston on our last trip and while our 4 year old did get bored by the end, our older kids lapped up every minute (and the little one is still asking for us to get a baby seahorse!).
Address: 200 Flinders St, Beauty Point, Tasmania
For more things to do in and around Launceston, while you’re visiting Seahorse World, consider also popping next door to Platypus House.
Also visited on a 45 minute tour, where you and your kids will learn all about Monotremes – a group of animals which basically just includes platypuses and echidnas. The tour starts with many facts about these animals including information about the rescue animals that call Platypus House home.
Then we visited the platypuses. There were a few tanks which were home to four platypuses when we visited. They were fed during our time in the room so we got to see them diving and swimming and basically hanging out and interacting. It’s very easy to see them up close in a way that’s respectful to the animals.
Next up are the echidnas which are super friendly! We sat in a room in a circle while the echidnas wandered around and got quite close. It’s an experience with Australian animals unlike any other I have had.
If your kids love learning about animals and getting up close, this is certainly one of the things to do in Launceston family will love.
Address: 200 Flinders St, Beauty Point, Tasmania
You can read more in our full review here.
Low Head Penguin Tour
My absolute top choice of the things to do at night in Launceston surrounds has to be this – the Low Head Penguin Tour.
This tour takes place just after sunset in Low Head about 50 minutes from Launceston. It takes up to an hour and basically you wander around the beach, bushes and rocks in Low Head while the penguins are coming in for the evening.
It’s absolutely amazing! We saw so many penguins come in from the sea and wander past not bothered by us as well as seeing baby penguins from a distance in their nests.
This tour is very child friendly with the guide going out of her way to make sure smaller kids had a good viewing point.
It’s a very personal experience which is much more amazing (in my opinion) than places like Phillip Island in Victoria which are super popular.
Address: 485 Low Head Rd, Low Head, Tasmania
Fun Things To Do In Launceston For Kids Map
Best Place To Stay In Launceston
If you are coming from out of town to experience the 10 best things to do in Launceston, you’ll need Launceston accommodation for your stay.
This is quite easy to find and there is a good range of accommodation in Launceston that suits families at different budgets.
Below, I’ve listed a few different places to stay in Launceston that you can pick based on your budget.
BEST – Pepper’s Silo Review
This high-end modern hotel is a repurposed heritage building which is made up of four 35 metre tall grain silos, and offers stunning views of the River Tamar. It’s also a couple of minutes walk to Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, a notable attraction in the area.
All of its rooms and suites feature free WiFi, air conditioning, flat screen TVs, minibars, sitting areas, and private baths. Meanwhile, it’s suites can sleep up to 5 people with interconnecting rooms, ideal for families and groups.
The hotel also features an airy and casual cafe and restaurant, a bar, fitness centre, and spa. It also has event facilities that can hold up to 200 guests. The hotel is kid-friendly, featuring a playground, family room and even offers babysitting services.
24-hour front desk, luggage storage, laundry service, and on-site parking is also offered in the property.
MID-RANGE – Village Family Motor Inn Review
Set in a low-rise, Tudor-style building, the Family Motor Inn is ideal for families. It’s an easy base for guests who want to explore Tamar Valley and Launceston being a short drive into the city centre.
There are basically two types of rooms that you can stay at here – the motel type or the self-contained apartments. If you prefer the motel style, you can pick a motel suite that has a twin, queen or a family unit that has two rooms that could fit up to five people in a single room.
These two room types are found on the ground floor, and equipped with TVs, tea/coffee making facilities, fridges, and electric blankets. Also note that the motel suites offer complimentary breakfasts while family units feature a microwave.
Meanwhile, the two to three bedroom self contained apartments are excellent for families and large groups. These have separate living areas with dining, kitchen, and private bath. These apartments have parking at their doors.
The inn’s facilities include a bistro style bar and resto that serves delicious, brick style pizzas. Meanwhile, recreational facilities include an indoor pool, hot tub, and sauna. There’s also a play area for kids, BBQ area, and complimentary parking.
Everything could do with an update but it’s clean, comfortable and functional and great value for the price.
BUDGET – Nightcap at Riverside Hotel Review
This budget friendly hotel is located along the A7 highway, just a few minutes walk from the bus stop and also near Cataract Gorge.
The hotel comes with laid-back rooms and apartments that feature flat screen TVs, minifridges, tea/coffee making facilities, and private baths. You can also access the property’s internet connection at an additional charge.
Amenities include a pub and restaurant with a children’s play area and a terrace. There’s also a shutte that will take guests directly to the airport. Luggage storage, laundry service, and on-site parking are available as well.
How To Get To Launceston
The easiest way to get to Launceston is by plane (if you are coming from outside Tasmania) or car (if you are coming from within Tasmania). There is an airport here with many flights per day.
Within Tasmania, a car is the easiest way. You can rent one here if you won’t have your own.
Otherwise, there are some bus options particularly if you are coming from nearby or major population centres. You can find schedules and options here. For a family, you may find car rental is cheaper (and it’ll definitely be easier).
Launceston is a great place to explore with kids and there are many great things to do in Launceston and surrounds. We loved exploring this part of Tasmania with our kids just like I loved exploring it when I was a kid.
One of the things that is great about Launceston is how accessible it is to many other places – thus including the list of things to see around Launceston. These attractions are an easy drive and are fun to visit as well.
I hope you enjoy using this list to have your own great adventures in Launceston.
Read more Launceston guides here.
Sharon grew up in Tasmania, moved away and then came back with her family twenty years later. She loves re-discovering her home state and sharing it with you here.