Cataract Gorge Reserve
William Collins when he explored the Gorge in 1804, described its natural beauty as unsurpassed in the world. The First Basin on the southern side features a swimming pool and an open area surrounded by bushland and becomes Launceston's 'beach' in summer. In contrast, the shady northern side named the Cliff Grounds is a Victorian garden with ferns and exotic plants.
Dividing the two areas is the South Esk River and the Gorge can be crossed on the Alexandra Suspension Bridge, or swinging bridge, built in 1895, or on a well formed path established where an original ford crossed the South Esk.
Alternatively the crossing can be made on the chairlift which contains in its length, the longest single span in the world.
The Cataract Gorge Reserve abounds with walking trails and lookouts which fully explore the beauty of the area. The most spectacular way to enter the reserve is on the Kings Bridge-Cataract Walk, a path which clings to the Cliff face of the Gorge.
It was built in the 1890's for the benefit of Launceston's citizens and visitors and was the city's most popular promenade in Victorian times. The path offers excellent views of the dolerite columns along the cliffs and during winter the drama of the furious floods is an exciting spectacle.
The Duck Reach Trail leads through an almost untouched landscape past the Second Basin and close to the remains of the Duck River Power Station which was Australia's first municipal hydro-electric power station.