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Launceston is Tasmania's second largest city as well as being Australia's third oldest city. It is the administrative centre for the northern half of the state. John Batman ventured from Launceston across Bass Strait to found the Victorian Capital Melbourne. Thus unlike Hobart, which grew from a military outpost and penal colony, Launceston was developed by free settlers, with an emphasis on commercial development of the region.
Launceston is located 70 km from Tasmania's coast along the Tamar river. Thus although further north than Hobart Launceston can have colder nights in the winter. In particular, it's position surrounded by hills to the south has earnt it the nickname "foggy hollow" by residents of rival urban centres
Depending on your itinerary, Launceston can be seen in a day on a larger circuit of the state, or a base of operations for adventures in the northern half of the state. The city itself has several attractions, in particular the Gorge, a natural preserve that was the site of the 1996 (?) World Cayaking Championship and has a pleasant tea garden and natural amphitheatre used for concerts.