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Sensationally sited along the Tamar River in northern Tasmania, Launceston is a small yet thriving community. It is commonly used as a base from which to explore northern, northwestern and eastern Tasmania, which includes some of the most spectacular agricultural, highland and forested landscapes in Australia. Tourists can jump in a hired campervan to discover the beauty of towns like Burnie, historic George Town, and St Helens. Alternatively, national parks such as the Bay of Fires, Mole Creek Karst and Ben Lomond are ideal natural attractions for outdoor lovers.
Despite the beauty surrounding Launceston, the city centre is also home to various interesting attractions. Tourists can park the van and sightsee on foot, as the downtown area is relatively compact. Getting to sites like Cataract Gorge, Tamar Wetlands and the various nearby wineries requires the use of van hire though. Visitors can also get to the southern region of Tasmania from Launceston in less than a few hours.
If tourists find themselves in Launceston on a Saturday morning, then they shouldn't miss the chance to visit the Harvest Farmer's Market on Cimitiere Street. Not only will visitors find the freshest produce in the country, but also some great wines and coffee to sample. Meeting the local farmers is always a fascinating experience too. While in Launceston, City Park is another site not to be missed. This large public green space boasts well-landscaped gardens, ponds, children's playgrounds and even a Japanese macaques exhibit.
Launceston's most appealing and most visited attraction is the nearby Cataract Gorge. It's only a few minutes'drive west of the downtown area, on the South Esk River. The river gorge is a great place for swimming, although it can be cold even in the middle of summer. It's also home to the longest, single-span chairlift on the planet, which provides awesome views of the city.
To the north of Launceston, along the Tamar River banks, lies George Town. It contains a fascinating penguin rookery that can be seen at night, and several convict-built structures take tourists back to Australia's colonial period. Also less than an hour outside Launceston is Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, which is commonly regarded as Australia's most pristine natural landmark.
Treasure Island Caravan Park is a brilliant camping site just two kilometres from the heart of Launceston. It boasts free barbecue areas, washroom amenities, a camper's kitchen and even a car washing service.
Discovery Holiday Park is 15 minutes outside the city of Launceston, offering a host of convenient amenities, including kids' games room, barbecue facilities, a playground and kiosk.
Longford Riverside Caravan Park rests on the banks of the beautiful Macquarie River, just 20 minutes' drive from Launceston. With two amenities blocks, 78 powered sites and 50 unpowered sites, this is a great place to base a campervan holiday in northern Tasmania.
Driving is the most common way to get around Tasmania. The state is only small, with one major highway and numerous major arterial roads spanning the island. Highway 1 is the primary roadway linking the major cities. Even though there are lots of well-maintained roads within the state, drivers need to be cautious and allow plenty of time to arrive at a destination, as mountain passes can be windy and somewhat dangerous, especially in bad weather.