Launceston, Tasmania’s second-largest city is compact, and its pretty, colourful Victorian and Edwardian homes line the hillsides along the river banks.  With a population of 68,000, the city has a strong sense of identity and has one of the best regional galleries in Australia – the Queen Victoria Museum at Inveresk, along with art and craft galleries and quality restaurants. Like most Tasmanian towns, it’s easy to explore and nature is right nearby – Launceston Gorge, with its Victorian parklands, complete with peacocks, has steep, rugged cliffs and wild areas that attract climbers. Launceston is a good base for exploring the vineyards of the Tamar Valley, and you can visit boutique cool-climate wineries that line both river banks.

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