Launceston is right next to Cataract Gorge, a 150m cut into the rock with the river at the bottom. Literally 10 minutes walk from the city centre and you're in the heart of nature. The city has an adequate bus system during the week, based at St John Street. Always call taxis from payphones instead of mobiles as the numbers otherwise go back to Hobart! Some company runs a $35 Tamar River cruise which is worth checking out. All in all I'd say Launceston is a much nicer, more relaxed city than Hobart and with no shortage of things to see and do. I used Launceston as a start/stop point for the Under Down Under tour also.
Launceston is a pretty and quaint town with a lot to offer. Located on the Tamar River and with a population of a hundred thousand people, it is the second-largest city in Tasmania and offers a small-town feel in a city setting. Hostels in Launceston are mostly located in the downtown vicinity or nearby, allowing walking access to most of the amenities. Many of the Launceston hostels are located above pubs, if you are keen to experience the buzzing nightlife that kicks on seven days a week, especially in the summer. For those who are not into nightlife, there are many hostels that are also available in a more quiet setting around the city centre. It is advisable to stay in hostels that are around the downtown area, unless you have a car (public transport is not the best, so a car is ideal if you want to venture outside the city centre or a little further).
As far as things to see and do, there are many parks around the city center with the famous monkeys to visit in the City Park. Local food and wine produce are a must to try. The seaport is a happening area with nice restaurants and bars outside of the city centre. There are also many nice restaurants along George Street, or head down to one of the local pubs for a quality pub meal. If not wanting to eat out, the closest local supermarket in the city centre is in the Jimmy's complex on Charles and Frederick Streets.
Local artists play their original music in venues around town and are a must to see on any given weeknight. Check the local gig guide for information on which venues have their open mic nights; on weekends, there are live cover bands in most establishments.
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