Thursday July 23rd 2009 - Sunday July 26th 2009
After looking into the Overland Track and when we could actually catch a bus to get out to Cradle Mountain, we thought that we might as well go to Launceston a few days early and check out what the town had to offer. We stayed at Launceston Backpackers and it was probably one of the largest hostels that we've ever stayed in and one of the nicest as well. There was even a resident cat named Fuji who basically lived in front of the electric fireplace and loved to bite any of the backpackers foolish enough to try to pet her tummy. It was very entertaining.
Launceston is a very small town, but very pretty as well. They are known for the Cataract Gorge which has some pleasant walks around it and some boat cruises that go down it for the people who like to indulge in cruises. We hiked around the gorge and went up to Duck Reach Power Station, the old hydro plant for the town and it was fun to wander around. Lots of uphill climbing to prepare us for the big walk.
The most random thing about Launceston is the fact that they have monkeys in their city park. Yes, you heard me right. Our map of the town said 'Come see the monkeys in city park' and we were intrigued by this so we went to check it out and sure enough they have live Japanese macaques in an enclosed area in the middle of the park. They are quite aggressive and hate the little children that tap on the glass, they gave the kids quite the scare when they threw their bodies against it in retaliation. They even made me jump. No one really explained much about the monkeys but we heard that they were a gift to the city from a visiting Japanese politician or businessman. Weird though.
4 days in Launceston was probably too many days, but it gave us some time to relax and eat some good food. The town is very walkable though, nice and compact. And we learned that the Tour de France is a big deal over here, lots of people in the hostel were watching it and keeping track of who was winning. It made me fall asleep though.....