Our 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.
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.
The first recorded mention of Cataract Gorge is in 1804. The King’s Bridge – Cataract 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.
In summer, Cataract Gorge is a tranquil retreat, and in winter it can flood in a most spectacular fashion after heavy rains.