A Weekender's Guide to Launceston During Mona Foma
Where to stay, eat and party around town at one of Australia's favourite summer festivals.
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Mona Foma, MONA's wild and weird summer music and arts festival, is back for 2018. And it's set to eclipse all previous incarnations, with the festival adding a series of Launceston events to the usual Hobart lineup. The supercharged twin-city program will feature 11 days of thought-provoking performances, celebrating creativity in forms that defy categorisation. The expansion to Launceston offers a little taste of the festival's future — in 2019, Mofo will relocate to Launnie entirely.
If you've never visited Launceston, Mofo is the perfect excuse to make a weekend trip to this gem of a town. While the festival will obviously keep your schedule pretty packed, you should definitely make some time to explore Mofo's future home. To guide you in the right direction, we've teamed up with Mazda3 to round-up the best places to eat, drink and lay your weary head. Go on, take a detour from the humdrum of daily existence and inject a little adventure into your life.
EAT AND DRINK
Launceston is steadily gaining a reputation as a food destination. Visit some of the city's cafes and restaurants and you'll soon understand why.
No visit to Launnie would be complete without a Saturday morning trip to the Harvest Market. This outdoor market, which blossoms in the summer months, features stall upon stall of fresh produce, baked goods and coffee. Get there early to nab a pastry from Sandy's Sourdough before they sell out and keep an eye out for the retro caravan, Wanderlust, which dishes up innovative vego meals. In need of a caffeine hit? Make your way to nearby Sweetbrew, a quaint cafe serving up some of the city's best coffee.
If you're looking for a more substantial morning meal (you'll need the energy for all the Mofo craziness), Cuccina has you covered. And you'll fall hard for its legendary sweet chilli eggs. Cafe Mondello, with its all-day brekkie menu, is another great choice.
In the evenings, the food trucks lined up along High Street are the perfect place for no-fuss dining — and you can take full advantage of the warm summer nights. Track down Turkish Tukka, for incredible kofte and gozleme, and The Crepe Caravan for its moreish Nutella pancakes. If you're after casual eats but prefer sitting at a table, make a beeline for Burger Got Soul. This insanely popular burger joint is famous for its veggie and chicken burgers — for very good reason.
If you have a bigger budget, book in for a meal at Stillwater, one of Tassie's most lauded restaurants. Set in a historic mill, this Launceston stalwart dishes up impeccable fare year in, year out. Meat fanatic? Try Stillwater's sister restaurant, Black Cow Bistro, a local favourite known for its great steaks.
Running from January 12 to 14, Mofo's first Launceston program features cutting-edge performances that are bound to set your mind on fire. Watch as Gotye join forces with the Ondioline Orchestra to pay homage to renowned French electronic composer, Jean-Jacques Perrey. This vibrant performance will be presented in a double bill with Skin Migration by Tannery, the Tasmanian Taiko and Leather Orchestra that makes mind-blowing sounds out of Japanese drums and leather instruments.
Also hitting town is Monumental, a riotous dance performance by Canadian dance company, The Holy Body Tattoo, accompanied by music from post-rockers, Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Expect a raucous score, light sculptures and eclectic film projections.
Rounding out the Launceston events is a massive free Block Party on January 14 (you'll just need to register on the website). There'll be music, art, drinks and wood-fired meats by MONA's Heavy Metal Kitchen.
If you're in Launnie for Mofo, you'll probably want your accommodation to be right in the thick of things — to maximise the festive and adventurous atmosphere.
For a comfortable stay that won't break the bank, the centrally-located Batman Fawkner Inn is a winner. The historic building was converted into a 40-room hotel with all the trimmings — air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and ensuite bathrooms. Prefer something fancier? Try the Areca Boutique Hotel. It has spacious rooms, comfy beds, stunning views over the city and Tamar Valley and it's still fairly affordable.
If you're looking to splurge, book into the heritage Auldington Hotel. A convent in its previous life, this charming hotel boasts spacious rooms with contemporary furnishings and local art on the walls. Peppers Seaport Hotel, located on the waterfront, is another good choice. The rooms here have sweeping river views and are decorated — fittingly — with a nautical theme.
Mona Foma 2018 will take place at venues across Launceston from January 12 to 14, at MONA from January 19 to 21 and across Hobart from January 15 to 22.
Published on October 24, 2017 by Yelena Bidé