Cataract Gorge Reserve
There’s enough to do in Cataract Gorge to fill a whole day. Go for a (chilly) swim in First Basin, known locally as Launceston’s Beach; stroll with the peacocks in the Cliff Grounds gardens; walk or ride the chairlift across the river; or keep an eye out for wallabies, who tend to congregate in the reserve at dusk. Multi-day trips through Tasmania that include Launceston on the itinerary almost always stop at the gorge.
Things to Know Before You Go
Cataract Gorge is a must-visit for families, outdoor enthusiasts, and first-time visitors to Launceston.
Facilities at the gorge include restrooms, a cafe, and a full-service restaurant.
Admission to the reserve is free of charge, but you’ll have to pay a small fee to ride the chairlift.
Much of the reserve is wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Cataract Gorge is a 10-minute stroll west of central Launceston. Walk along Bridge Road from the city center and you’ll come to the Cataract Walk trail, which winds along the South Esk River to the chairlift station and restaurant.
When to Get There
The gorge is open daily from 9am to dusk. The best time to visit is between December and February, when the weather is dry and warm—perfect for exploring this largely outdoor attraction.
Before Launceston’s hydroelectric dam was completed in 1955, the gorge waters were channeled to create electricity via the power station at Duck Reach, located upriver from the suspension bridge. Now decommissioned, the building serves as a museum. A visit reveals the story of Launceston’s early days and the Duck Reach power plant.