Back to nature
It’s early morning and most attractions are still closed, but Cataract Gorge is open at any hour. The kids are having a great time racing across the suspension bridge and causing it to rock. You stand in the middle, hanging onto the side, and take in the scent of eucalypt and the magnificent view. The South Esk River winds below, its dark waters cascading over rocks, the jagged cliffs towering on either side. Suddenly the kids call out in excitement – they’ve spotted a wallaby. It’s hard to believe this peaceful, scenic spot is only a short walk from the centre of town.
FREE ENTRY; CHAIRLIFT MID-RANGE
Basin Rd, West Launceston; (03) 6331 5915
■ The chairlift journey from one side of the gorge to the other. You do not sit in enclosed capsules, but in open two-person chairs held in by safety rails. As you travel slowly and sedately over the river, you feel like a gliding bird.
In December 1895, Launceston became the first city in the Southern Hemisphere to have electricity produced by water power. It was generated by a hydro-electric power station further up the South Esk River. You can visit the historic Duck Reach power plant buildings, and if you do, you will be astounded to realise that the great floods of 1929 reached up to this height.
■ The walk from the city centre is a pleasant 15 minutes along the banks of the Tamar River.
- Cataract Gorge – Launceston, Natural Wonders, Natural Wonders