Hobart or Launceston for Holiday? A Detailed Comparison

Hobart and Launceston are the two major cities in Tasmania. Although they are similar in certain perspectives, they are very different. Additionally, when planning a visit to Tasmania, it can be hard to decide whether to base yourself in Hobart or Launceston, especially when the trip is relatively short.

As Tasmania’s capital city, Hobart is bigger, more populated, and has more facilities available. Near Hobart, you can also visit Tasman Peninsula, Bruny Island, Huon Valley, and Mount Field National Park as day trips. In comparison, Launceston is smaller and less populated, but with better access to wineries, ski resorts, Bay of Fires, Tasmania’s North West Coast, and the iconic Cradle Mountain.

To help you better compare these two cities, I have listed a detailed comparison of Hobart and Launceston. Hope you can find it useful.

For road-tripping near Hobart and Launceston, you may also want to check out my ‘5 Days Hobart Road Trip Itinerary’ & ‘5 Days Launceston Road Trip Itinerary‘ for detailed information.

Mount Wellington Range, Tasmania
Mount Wellington Range, Tasmania

Location: Hobart v.s. Launceston

Hobart is in southern Tasmania, whereas Launceston is in northern Tasmania. Conveniently, there is only a less than 2.5 hours drive in between these two major cities.

In terms of Hobart and Launceston’s proximity to popular travel destinations:

Weather: Hobart v.s. Launceston

In general, Tasmania is cooler than the rest of Australia. There is also a slight difference in terms of the weather conditions in Hobart and Launceston.

Sitting on the banks of River Derwent, Hobart tends to be cooler in summer because of the cool breeze from River Derwent. With that being said, the temperature in summer for both of these cities are mostly in the high 20s and low 30s Celsius, which is considered mild and pleasant by Australian standards.

Since Launceston is sitting in a valley, it does get more fog and frost during winter times. Hence, Launceston can be somewhat cooler than Hobart, if visiting during the winter months.

Hobart Waterfront
Hobart Waterfront

Mode of Arrival: Hobart v.s. Launceston

Both Hobart and Launceston have airports. However, only the Hobart Airport is an international airport. As a regional airport, Launceston Airport only recieves domestic flights from major Australian cities, such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Adelaide. In saying that, if you are travelling from overseas, a stopper over in Sydney or Melbourne is usually a popular choice, before heading off to Tasmania.

Hobart Airport is a 20-25 minutes drive from Hobart CBD. As an international airport, Hobart Airport accommodates a range of flights from different domestic and international cities. Many car rental companies also have pick-up and drop-off desks within Hobart Airport. Taxi, rideshare, and shuttle bus service are available from Hobart Airport as well.

Launceston Airport is a 15 minutes drive from Launceston CBD. Although it is only a regional airport, it also offers a range of services, just like those bigger airports. Many popular car rental companies have service desks within Launceston Airport. In addition, taxis, rideshare services, and shuttle buses are also available from Launceston Airport.

Along with flights, you can also visit Tasmania by ferry. Spirit of TasmaniaOpens in a new tab. operates ferry services between Melbourne (which will soon be moved to Geelong) and Devonport. Devonport is just over 1-hour drive from Launceston. By arriving in Tasmania via the Spirit of Tasmania, you are able to bring your own car and motor home to Tasmania, with only a fraction of the costs of car and RV rentals.

Accommodations: Hobart v.s. Launceston

Both Hobart and Launceston have a range of accommodations to choose from.

In comparison, Hobart has more accommodations to choose from. When it comes to the costs of accommodations, Launceston tends to have much cheaper options for couples and families. However, if you are travelling alone and don’t mind staying in shared dorm rooms, you may have better chances to find cheaper accommodations in Hobart.

  • For current pricing and options on accommodations in Hobart, feel free to check out here on Booking.comOpens in a new tab..
  • For current pricing and options on accommodations in Launceston, feel free to check out here on Booking.comOpens in a new tab..
Tamar Valley, Launceston, Tasmania
Tamar Valley, Tasmania

Travelling without a Car in Tasmania

A road trip is the best way to discover Tasmania. However, you can also explore this beautiful state without a car. If you are planning to explore Tasmania without a car, I highly suggest basing yourself in Hobart, instead of other cities or towns.

Hobart is a bigger city with better public transport access, than all other Tasmanian cities/towns. When basing yourself in Hobart CBD, you can:

  • Take a relaxing walk in Battery Point and Salamanca Place
  • Stroll around Hobart Waterfront
  • Take a ferry to visit the famous MONA (Museum of Old and New ArtOpens in a new tab.)
  • Catch a bus to visit the beautiful Richmond bridge
  • Jump on a Mount Wellington Explorer Bus to visit Mount Wellington Summit, for a breathtaking bird’s eye view of Hobart and its surroundings.

Day Tours are also available from Hobart CBD to visit:

  • Bruny Island
  • Freycinet National Park & Wineglass Bay
  • Huon Valley
  • Maria Island
  • Mount Field National Park
  • Tasman Peninsula & Port Arthur

For detailed information and pricing on Hobart Day Tours, feel free to check out here on Viator.

If you prefer to visit Launceston without a car, it is also a doable option. When visiting Launceston without a car, you can:

  • Take a stroll around Launceston city to visit the QVMAG (Queen Victoria Museum and Art GallaryOpens in a new tab.)
  • Join a beer tasting tour at James Boag’s Brewery.
  • Enjoy some adventurous rides at Penny Royal Launceston
  • Visit the wineries in Tamar Valley
  • Join a night-time penguin tour near the beautiful Low Head Lighthouse
  • Enjoy a scenic walk at Cataract Gorge Reserve

Day Tours are also available from Launceston to visit:

For detailed information and pricing on Launceston Day Tours, feel free to check out here on Viator.

For Foodies & Wine Lovers: Hobart v.s. Launceston

Being close to all the fresh producers, Hobart offers a great food experience. Near Hobart, you can also find a range of great wine producers from Huon Valley, Derwent Valley, and Coal River Valley.

Similar to Hobart, Launceston is also ideally positioned and close to a range of fresh producers.

With its paddock to plate culture, Launceston has been named a City of Gastronomy by UNESCO. In addition, it is also within an easy drive of the famous Cradle to Coast Tasting TrailOpens in a new tab..

Tamar Valley is the best-known wine region in Tasmania and is only a 10 minutes drive from Launceston. With its ideal location, Tamar Valley is able to produce a great selection of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc.

For Beach Lovers: Hobart v.s. Launceston

Sitting on the banks of River Derwent, Hobart is surrounded by water and definitely has no short supply of quality beaches.

From Hobart CBD, it is only a 25-minute walk, before you can reach Short Beach, for some cool breeze from River Derwent. Alternatively, you can also take a short drive to visit some of the more secluded beaches along Hobart’s coastline.

On the other hand, as an inland city, it takes at least 50 minutes to drive from Launceston to its closest beach, the Greens Beach. However, Launceston is much closer to the famous Bay of Fires and Tasmania’s North West Coast than Hobart.

For Nature Lovers: Hobart v.s. Launceston

Both Hobart and Launceston have good access to some of Tasmanian’s best national parks.

From Hobart, it only takes 30 minutes to drive up Mount Wellington Summit and just over 1 hour to drive to Mount Field National Park. In addition, you can also take day trips to visit the stunning Bruny Island and the secluded Maria Island.

From Launceston, you can easily walk to its famous Cataract Gorge Reserve for some impressive walking trails. Furthermore, Cradle Mountain is only a 2 hours drive from Launceston. You can also take a 2.5-hour drive along Tasmania’s North West Coast to take on the incredible Tarkine Drive.

Cradle Mountain
Cradle Mountain

For Culture Lovers: Hobart v.s. Launceston

Both Hobart and Launceston have some impressive Victorian and Colonial buildings. If I have to pick one, I did find the buildings in Salamanca Place and Battery Point (Hobart) more characteristic than the buildings in Launceston.

In addition, Hobart is also home to the famous MONA (Museum of Old and New ArtOpens in a new tab.), which is one of its kind museum and should not be missed.

From Hobart, you can also visit Port Arthur Historic Site on a day trip. The Port Arthur Historic Site is a historic landmark and cultural heritage, built in the 18th and 19th centuries as a convict settlement. It is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Australian Convict Sites. A visit to Port Arthur Historic Site is highly suggested to not only the Culture Lovers but also everyone that visits Tasmania.

For Skiing Holidays: Hobart v.s. Launceston

Mount Mawson is located within Mount Field National Park and is just under a 2 hours drive from Hobart. It is a small ski field, with only basic facilities available. Since it is run by volunteers, the costs of visiting this ski field are relatively low. However, there is no equipment hire available at Mount Mawson, so you will need to bring your own equipment and gear when visiting. The ski season is usually from mid-July to early September, but you will need to check out Mount Mawson’s website before heading up to the ski field, for up-to-date opening dates.

Ben Lomond Ski ResortOpens in a new tab. is within Ben Lomond National Park and only a 1-hour drive from Launceston. This is a private-run ski resort, with a range of facilities available. A shuttle bus service is available (at a cost) to take you from the lower car park to the ski field. A one-stop hire shop is also available for equipment and gear hire. Although a visit to Ben Lomond Ski Resort may seem more expensive, for interstate and overseas travellers, the convenience of ski equipment and gear hire is sometimes more valuable and appreciated. In addition, there is also a cafe on-site, which serves hot beverages and meals.

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