Launceston Cataract Gorge

The Cataract Gorge is a river gorge in Launceston, northern Tasmania, Australia. It is located on the western end and within walking distance of the downtown Launceston area, the point at which the South Esk River carves its way through solid rock and enters the Tamar River Valley.

From where I stayed (Balmoral on York hotel) to the entrance of the Cataract Cliff Grounds will take about 20 min by foot, just further down the street from Stillwater Restaurant & Cafe I talked about in an earlier post. I attempted to reach the Gorge Reserve twice, once after my breakfast at Stillwater and another time after my Tamar Valley Wine Tour. It was only the second attempt that I successfully reached the Gorge as I took the wrong trail on the first attempt which was a very long & hilly way to the Gorge. 😛

You will need to walk further down Paterson Street after reaching Stillwater for a few minutes before you will see a sign that instructs you to cross the street to the Cataract Cliff Grounds, as shown in the picture below.

Entrance of the Cataract Cliff Ground

Entrance of the Cataract Cliff Grounds

Works of constructing the Cliff Grounds commenced way back in January 1890. To date I must say it is still very well maintained! Kudos to the City Council for a great job done. Probably because it was about 3.30pm and drizzling, there were very few people walking or jogging on the trail. The trail is relatively easy to walk on, although there are some graduated slopes now and then, and I had to be careful especially when the ground was wet and slippery. Due to wet weather, I didn’t take many pictures, as it was tough having to juggle with the umbrella and camera at the same time. Nonetheless, here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure 🙂

You can see the First Basin Chairlift, built in 1972, in this picture

You can see the First Basin Chairlift, built in 1972, in this picture

In the background is the Suspension Bridge

In the background is the Suspension Bridge

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Part of the fenced-up walking trail revealed on the left side of the picture, makes walking here safe & nice!

The colour combination of the Gorge with the autumn leaves look nice to me :P

The colour combination of the Gorge with the autumn leaves look nice to me 😛

I didn’t go right into the Gorge Reserves, but think I covered at least two-thirds of it as it was just the suspension bridge that I didn’t get close to. I decided to turn back as it was getting darker and raining more heavily after walking for about 30 min. Furthermore, there didn’t seem to be anyone ahead of me in the trail anymore. I reckoned going ahead wouldn’t make much of a difference in the scenery I could see haha.

Before I went to the Gorge, I heard the locals raved about this natural wonder right in the city. I was told that you don’t need to spend money to take the chairlift to get a good view of the Gorge though, just walk. I guess that is good advice? Haha.

After having been there, I don’t deny I was a bit disappointed at what I saw as I expected more. However I guess it is still a good attraction to visit given that it is natural beauty so close and accessible to the city centre. You don’t get that kind of thing often in the city, do you? 😉

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