Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour

Self Guided Nature Walk  |  Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour

My Cataract Gorge Launceston walking tour is a self guided nature walk close to the centre of Launceston City.

Launceston is a wonderful city to explore on foot, and within easy walking distance of the downtown Launceston area and Brisbane Street Mall is Cataract Gorge, the point at which the South Esk River carves its way through solid rock and enters the Tamar River Valley.

> Hotels in Launceston    > See Tasmania Card Sightseeing Pass

Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour Tasmania Aerial of Gorge

Cataract Gorge is a true wilderness area, and it is in the heart of Tasmania’s second largest city. The walk will take about 2 or 3 hours at a leisurely pace, depending on how long you linger at various features.

The Gorge Restaurant in the Cliff Grounds Reserve offers an excellent lunch venue, and lighter meals are available from the Basin Cafe at the First Basin.

Cataract Gorge Walk Map

Things To See and Do  |  Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour

First Basin Chairlift  |  Gorge Cliffgrounds  |  Suspension Bridge
Old Duck Reach Power Station and Interpretation Centre
Local Flora and Wildlife  |  Birdwatching – 70 species of birds have been sighted in the Gorge

> Hotels in Launceston    > See Tasmania Card Sightseeing Pass

Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour Tasmania First Basin View

Self Guided Walk Directions   |  Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour

The first recorded mention of Cataract Gorge is in 1804. The King’s Bridge – Catract Walk pathway runs from the entrance of the Gorge and takes you beside the river deep into the gorge to the first Basin and beyond.

The walkway was built by volunteers in the 1890’s and has long been one of Launceston’s major attractions.

It is unusual to find such a wilderness area so close to a city. The chairlift that crosses the Gorge at the First Basin was built in 1972 and is listed as having the longest single span chairlift in the world.

> Hotels in Launceston    > See Tasmania Card Sightseeing Pass

Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour Tasmania Suspension Bridge

In summer, Cataract Gorge is a tranquil retreat, and in winter it can flood in a most spectacular fashion after heavy rains.

Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour Tasmania Gorge in Flood

Kings Park   |  Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour

The walk starts in King’s Park, the water frontage between the Tamar River and the Penny Royal Watermill complex on Bridge Road.

With the water on your right, walk along the foreshore path, under the West Tamar Highway Road Bridge, and climb up to Bridge Road.

Turn right and walk across the steel structure bridge, Kings Bridge.

For nearly 100 years this was the only bridge allowing access to the West Bank of the Tamar River from Launceston.

> Hotels in Launceston    > See Tasmania Card Sightseeing Pass

Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour Tasmania Kings Bridge

North Side of the Gorge  |  Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour

Immediately over the bridge, the path runs left and along the Gorge. The water of the South Esk River will be on your left.

Follow the path as it winds its way into the Gorge. Watch for the path turnoff to the right that takes you uphill to a lookout for scenic views up the Gorge if so inclined.

Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour Tasmania First Basin Rotunda

First Basin   |  Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour

Continue along the path to the First Basin. This open area has some excellent gardens, the Gorge Restaurant and easy walking paths.

> Hotels in Launceston    > See Tasmania Card Sightseeing Pass

Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour Tasmania Duck Reach Power Station

Duck Reach   |  Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour

The Interpretation Centre built into the decommissioned Duck Reach Power Station is well worth a visit, and the Restaurants, cafes and facilities of the Basin are worth looking around.

Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour Tasmania Walks Further Inside the Gorge

Walking Trails   |  Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour

There are a number of well marked paths that will take you further into the Reserve on isolated bush trails, and these make for excellent walking.

After walking these trails return to the First Basin.

> Hotels in Launceston    > See Tasmania Card Sightseeing Pass

Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour Tasmania Chairlift First Basin

Chairlift   |  Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour

After spending time in the First Basin, ride the Chairlift if so inclined. It is said to be the longest single span chairlift in the Southern Hemisphere.

Suspension Bridge   |  Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour

Cross the South Esk by way of the Suspension Bridge (circa. 1940) at the western end of the First basin.

> Hotels in Launceston    > See Tasmania Card Sightseeing Pass

Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour Tasmania Penny Royal Hotel and Apartments

Back to Kings Park   |  Cataract Gorge Launceston Walking Tour

You will see the Car Park up and on your right as you head downstream from the first Basin. Enter the Zig Zag Reserve and walk back to the mouth of the Gorge and Launceston City by way of the Zig Zag Track along the south side of the Gorge.

The Zig Zag track will bring you back to King’s Bridge. and the Penny Royal Motel complex.

Other Tasmania Day Drives:  > Tasmania Day Drive Itineraries

Tasmania Self Drive itineraries: > Tasmania Self Drive Itineraries

Tasmania Short Walk itineraries:  > Tasmania Short Walk Itineraries

Map of Tasmania:  > Map of Tasmania

Compare Prices on Tasmania Hotels:  > Hotels in Tasmania

Find Tours and Activities: > Tasmania Tours & Activities

More Information on Tamar Wetlands: > Tamar Wetlands – Wikipedia