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Things to Do in Launceston - page 2

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Grindelwald Swiss Village

Go down under...to Switzerland. That’s right, few may know it, but you can get a taste of Switzerland in northern Tasmania. Built in the 1980s, all of the houses in Grindelwald Swiss Village are built in Swiss style (think pitched roofs, shutters, flower boxes and fountains).

Its lakeside setting provides hours of entertainment, including canoeing and aqua bike rentals. Golfers can practice their swing on the 10-hole public golf course, and if you're traveling with kids, the 18-hole, par 54 mini-golf course might be an entertaining choice. Shoppers can wander in and out of craft and gift shops, clothing stores and a number of specialty boutiques, including a chocolatier.

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Brickendon

Brickendon historical farm village and estate has been owned by the same family since 1824. It has more than 20 buildings to explore including a convict-built Gothic chapel, Dutch barns, a chicken house and blacksmith shop. The 10 acre (four hectare) garden has roses, ornamental fruits and 180 year old trees from all over the world.

The skills and work of convicted men and women, assigned to work at the farm allowed it to thrive and prosper. Women were assigned to domestics chores in the houses, while men were put to work in the fields. Some convicts were also skilled tradesmen like wheelwrights and blacksmiths. Workers were not paid; they were fed, clothed, housed, and could be punished.

Today, Brickendon is still a working farm, with crops including vegetables and poppies. Brickendon is also home to a number of animals ranging from cows, sheep and horses to chickens, goats and a pig named Flora.

Brickendon also rents cottages for guests looking for a hotel alternative. Located in the Heritage Gardens, the historic colonial style cottages offer antique furnishings with modern conveniences. Farm cottages offer views of the farm and are often visited by friendly, wandering poultry.

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Tamar Island Wetlands

Made of almost 150 acres of mud flats, lagoons and islands, the Tamar Island Wetlands Reserve is home to a wide range of plants and a diverse population of animals including birds, frogs, fish, invertebrates and threatened species.

The area was cleared in the early 1800s to be used as farmland. When farming stopped in the 1950s, the Estuary began the process of reclaiming its wetlands and the plants and wildlife came home. All plants and animals in the Reserve are protected.

Along with the help of volunteers, Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service operates the Interpretation Centre to teach visitors about the wetlands. Located near the main gate, it’s a great place to get your bearings before you begin exploring. Volunteers can provide information about the animals you’ll see, conservation and Tamar Wetlands history. They can also answer questions and make suggestions on what to do first.

Less than a half-mile walk from the Interpretation Centre there’s a bird hide, or camouflaged shelter with seating, where visitors can watch birds on the lagoon. In all, there’s about two miles of handicap accessible boardwalk visitors can stroll on for views of the wetlands and the wildlife that call it home.

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