"Cataract Gorge revisited" Top 5 Page for this destination Australia Things to Do Tip by iandsmith
Australia Things to Do: 1,258 reviews and 1,890 photos
Cataract Gorge Reserve, or ""The Gorge"" as the locals call it, is a unique natural rock and river formation within a two-minute drive of central Launceston, albeit over a steep hill.
Or, in 15 minutes you can walk from the city centre along the banks of the Tamar River into Cataract Gorge.
From here there's a pathway along the cliff face, originally constructed in the 1890s, looking down onto the South Esk River. The main Kings Bridge over the gorge was floated into place in 1867.
The First Basin, on the southern side, features a swimming pool and an open lawn area surrounded by bushland.
In contrast, in the shady northern side, called the Cliff Grounds, is a Victorian manicured garden where tall trees lord over ferns and exotic plants - nature is enhanced by art. There's a Restaurant and kiosk, rolling lawns and a rotunda, a pub with a view and a footbridge or chairlift to return across the river, peacocks everywhere, wallabies at dusk. Some argue it may be the nation's most alluring urban reserve though personally I favour Kings Park in Perth.
Further upstream is the historic Duck Reach Power Station, now an Interpretation Centre. This is reached by a trail that claims to be for hikers only but it's a relatively easy and flat track.
The Launceston City Council originally commissioned the Power Station in 1893, making it the largest hydro-electric scheme of its day. By 1895 it was lighting the city but got into decline when it was flooded out on two occasions.
You can use the loop trail which goes up steeply and then it's all downhill to the park; or you can return via the easy track.
There is a restaurant on both sides and wheelchairs will find joy here as well. Great place to spend an hour or more.
Directions: Ask anyone in Launceston
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