Launceston and the Tamar Valley blend history, scenery, creativity, adventure, entertainment and the superb flavours of fine food and wine. Winding 58 kilometres (36 miles) north from Launceston to Bass Strait, the Tamar River's quiet waters are navigable for its entire length, while its sheltered shores are a perfect environment for many species of waterbirds.
At Tamar Island, eight kilometres (five miles) from Launceston, you can take a boardwalk stroll over the wetlands and see the birds in their own habitat. Notley Gorge has deep fern glades, dense rainforest and waterfalls. Fairy penguins nest in the coastal scrub farther north at Low Head where you can visit Australia's oldest continuously operating pilot station that still guides ships into the River.
The Tamar Valley Wine Route is our most productive and best-established wine region. Vines grow on gentle, sloping hills and long mellow autumn days ripen the grapes, adding unique cool-climate flavours to the widely acclaimed wines.
The Tamar River was discovered by Bass and Flinders in 1798, during their circumnavigation of the Island. In late 1804, William Collins and William Paterson set up a settlement near the River's mouth. In 1806, they moved south to what is known as Launceston today. The rich valley flats were used for farming and forestry until gold was discovered at Beaconsfield in 1877. Later came orchards and in the 1970s a few vineyards and today the Valley is famous for its cool-climate wines.