A short walk from central Launceston takes you to the beautiful Cataract Gorge, a natural formation that rises from the banks of the Tamar River. This public park offers hiking trails, a scenic chairlift and plenty of wildlife spotting, as well as historical landmarks to discover.
The First Basin lies on the southern side of the gorge and features a swimming pool surrounded by bushland and a cafe. Cross to the shaded northern side and the Cliff Grounds where a Victorian garden is planted with lush ferns and exotic species. There’s a shaded rotunda where you can enjoy a picnic, together with resident peacocks strutting around. The two areas are connected by a footbridge or you can opt to ride what is the world’s longest single-span chairlift for a bird’s eye view.
Follow one of the walking trails that hug the side of the gorge, with the historic Duck Reach Power Station located upstream. This former hydro electricity station now houses an interpretive exhibition detailing man’s attempts to tame the wilds of Tasmania. The Kings Bridge at the mouth of the Cataract Gorge is also of historical note, having been floated into place in 1867.
It was in the 1890s that the first pathway, King’s Bridge-Cataract Walk, was built by volunteers, following the northern bank of Cataract Gorge. A toll house was put in place where pedestrians had to pay a small fee (and can still be seen today), although entry to Cataract Gorge is now completely free!