First Basin on the southern side features a swimming pool
and an area surrounded by bushland. This area is very
popular in summer. In contrast to this the Cliff Grounds on
the northern side is a shady Victorian garden, where the
wilderness is laced with ferns, exotic plants, trees and
These two areas are divided by the South Esk
River, which can be crossed either by the well-established
path where an original ford crossed the South Esk, or on the
basin chairlift, which contains the longest single span in
the world. We suggest visitors take the chairlift
across and then walk back to enjoy the reserve from both the
air and the ground.
The Cataract Gorge Reserve has many
walking trails and lookouts. There is the spectacular King’s
Bridge-Cataract Walk, a path which clings to the Cliff face
of the Gorge. Built in the 1890s for the benefit of the
citizens of Launceston, it became a very popular promenade
in Victorian times. The path offers great views of the
dolerite columns along the cliffs and during winter the an
exciting way to watch the furious flooding pace of the
Duck Reach trail leads through a natural landscape past the
Second Basin and close to the remains of Duck River Power
Station. This was the first municipal hydro-electric power
station in Australia.
There is a kiosk, tea-rooms,
restaurant and interpretational centre. Pick up the free
brochure The Cataract Gorge Reserve, which is a guide to the
area, its walks, trails and history.
In addition to our listed online travel
guide information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination
for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.