Launceston is fast becoming the adventure capital of Hobart and that means it’s the perfect place to escape with teens.
These five activities will get them off their phones and back into reality. OK, almost. We admit, they’ll want to take photos to share with their friends.
Outdoor rock climbing at Penny Royal
At Penny Royal teens can push their limits by scaling a 16m cliff face. Penny Royal has an auto-belay climbing system that allows them to safely conquer dozens of climbs without a partner. That means everyone can climb the walls at the same time. Adventurous teens will love navigating the rope bridges, launching off the 20m cliff jump and propelling 100m above the abyss on the zipline.
Penny Royal also has a wine bar and restaurant – so you can relax while the teens push their limits, or reward yourself after a big climb.
Cost: A Cliff Pass starts at $39.
Open: Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm; Sat-Sun, 9.30am-4pm
Where: 1 Bridge Rd, Launceston
Tasmania is studded with 19 outstanding national parks and more than 800 reserves – all of which are great to explore with teens.
Liffey Falls Reserve, about 45 minutes from Launceston, water collected on the Great Western Tiers rushes downslope and into the Liffey River. As it tumbles, the water erodes the soft mudstone, exposing a series of sandstone steps and creating a cascade which culminates in the stunning Liffey Falls.
Geologists have found the sandstone here is more than 250 million years old. It was laid down when the region lay further south and was covered by sea and ice. As icebergs melted, rocks were freed and plunged as ‘dropstones’ into the marine sediments below.
You’re most likely to find the quartzite dropstones in the river along the track to Liffey Falls. They are paler, roundish and flattened in shape. Some are reported to have come from as far away as Cradle Mountian and many contain tiny marine fossils.
Where: Start at the Gulf Road Picnic Area, Liffey Falls State Reserve. From the top car park, it’s about a 45-minute return walk to the waterfall, or a two-hour walk from the bottom car park.
Meet the local artisans at the Harvest Market
Every Saturday Launceston’s local producers set up stalls at the Harvest Farmer’s Market to sell fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, ethically raised meat, organic dairy and artisan bread and pastries.
Grab a locally roasted coffee and graze your way around stalls, tasting honey-roasted hazelnuts, fresh Fuji apples, cave-matured cheddar and Tasmanian salmon.
When you buy produce from Launceston Harvest Farmers Market’s producers and artisans, your teens will discover the joy of paddock-to-plate food. It’s a great way to have a conversation about sustainability and the environment and to show teens how to put their ideals into practice.
Where: 71 Cimitiere St, Launceston
Open: Harvest Market is open every Saturday morning from 8.30am-noon. Harvestmarket.org.au
Swim in the Cataract Gorge
Take the road well travelled and explore the famous Cataract Gorge.
If you’re brave, you can try riding the world’s longest single-span chairlift. In all seasons but winter, families can join a Walk Cataract Gorge tour over the suspension bridge and around the cliff grounds.
The best place to swim is in the First Basin, the naturally formed lagoon on the southern side of the Gorge.
Our top tip? Take you hangry teens attack a burger at the Basin Café.
Cost: Entry to Cataract Gorge is free. The Scenic Chairlift costs $16 return for adults; $10 for children. Walk Cataract Gorge tours start from $22. Where: 74-90 Basin Rd, West Launceston TAS 7250
Open: Cataract Gorge is open every day of the year from 9am until 4.30pm (winter); 5pm (spring and autumn); 5.30pm-6pm (summer).
Details: launcestoncataractgorge.com.au; www.walkcataractgorge.com.au
Zipline through the wilderness
At Hollybank Wilderness Adventures teens can soar above the treetops on a thrilling zipline and ropes courses.
The flying fox is 80m long and cruises over the forest of pine trees. The treetops adventure is colour graded, with yellow being the easiest (age 4-7 years) and black the hardest. You must be aged 13 and have conquered the red course first to even attempt the black. This track has 13 challenges up to 25m off the ground.
Hollybank also has a twilight zipline tour and you can hire mountain bikes to explore the forest from ground level.
Price: Zipline adventures are priced from $125 per person, Ropes courses start at $48 and mountain bike hire costs $30 per day for a standard bike, $60 for premium.
Where: 66 Hollybank Rd, Underwood TAS 7268
Open: 9am-5pm. Bookings essential.
Carla Grossetti is an award-winning travel writer who has been published in major publications such as The Guardian, Vacations & Travel, BBC Travel, CN Traveller, Traveller, Escape, Good Food, Out & About with Kids, Australian Traveller, Voyeur and Jetstar magazine. Follow the author on Twitter @carlagrossetti, Facebook @Carla Grossetti – Writer and Instagram @carlagrossetti or subscribe to www.carlagrossetti.com for more stories about food and travel.