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Cataract Gorge Launceston

Cataract Gorge Reserve

Wilderness in the heart of the city...

This stunning piece of natural wilderness, only a 15 minute walk from Launceston City, will astound, inspire and delight. It’s the heartbeat of Launceston, central to the city’s history, lifestyle and unique appeal. The Gorge will truly take you to new heights, whether it be onboard the southern hemisphere’s longest single-span chairlift or from atop the Alexandra Suspension bridge and the spectacular Gorge lookouts.

Enjoy a stroll along the many walking and hiking trails, wine and dine yourself at the Basin Café or Gorge Restaurant, or take the family on a picnic by the open-air swimming pools in the Basin lawns. Or why not unlock the secrets of Launceston’s past on an organised group guided walk of the Reserve with Gorgeous Guided Walks. Contact the Launceston Travel and Information Centre for more information and bookings.

The elegant Cliff Ground Gardens were Launceston’s social playground for over 100 years. In these gracious Victorian Gardens you'll find local wildlife and peacocks strutting  about the band rotunda, towering conifers, exotic deciduous trees, azaleas and rhododendrons.

Getting to Cataract Gorge Reserve:

By Car: The main car park is at the First Basin. Follow the signs from York Street or Frederick Street.

GPS: Basin Road, Launceston, 7250

The Gorge Cliff Grounds can be reached via Trevallyn and Gorge Road (this is a small car park with 12 car spaces and is accessed via a steep, winding road).

Walking from Launceston CBD: It is a comfortable 15 minute walk from Launceston's CBD to reach the northern side of the Cataract Gorge Reserve. Enjoy a leisurely walk from Kings Bridge on Bridge Road near the renowned Stillwater Restaurant, Richies Mill and the Mill Providore Gallery into the Cataract Gorge Reserve. This beautiful walk features Victorian gardens and magnificent views of the dolerite columns and South Esk River.

The energetic can take the Hikers Zig Zag Track which begins at the Southern Side of the Kings Bride located on Bride Road. This walking track follows the top of the cliff and leads on the First Basin. The Zig Zag Track is for those with moderate to high levels of fitness, so bring your walking shoes and enjoy a hike through the beautiful gardens and striking cliff grounds.

Walking within the the Cataract Gorge Reserve:  For a comfortable 20 minutes stroll take the First Basin Loop around the Cataract Gorge. This trail will enable you to discover the First Basin with the chairlift overhead, taking in the views of the river, basin lawns and swimming pool.

For a more challenging walk take the Duck Reach Trail along a gravel trail (with a few steep sections) following the South Esk River. This trail will lead you from the Cataract Gorge to the historic Duck Reach Power Station. Here you will discover the history of Tasmania's first publicly owned hydro-electric plant which dates back to 1855.

Cataract Gorge Reserve must do's:

  • Enjoy local produce at the Gorge Restaurant or the Basin Cafe' right in the heart of the Gorge
  • For spectacular views take the iconic Basin Chairlift trip across the Gorge or cross the river at the swinging Alexander Suspension Bridge.
  • In the summer, take a dip in the free outdoor swimming pool.
  • For the truly adventurous, the cliffs in the Cataract Gorge Reserve are perfect for rock climbing and abseiling - for a half day of full day climbing experience with Tasmanian Expeditions contact Launceston Travel and Information Centre on 1800 651 827.
  • See the Gorge from a different perspective - the river! take aTamar River Cruise from the Seaport into the mouth of the Gorge.