Cataract Gorge, Launceston, Tasmania

A 15-minute walk from the Launceston CBD to Kings Bridge, where the South Esk River joins the Tamar River, is the start of Cataract Gorge – a unique natural reserve and urban playground for Tasmania’s second-largest city.

On the north side of the river a well-trodden path below the cliff face leads to the First Basin – a further 15-minute walk. This is a popular swimming venue with a 50-metre pool and children’s paddling pond surrounded by lawns. There is a kiosk, change rooms and picnic facilities at First Basin.

A chairlift and a suspension bridge connect the two sides of Cataract Gorge at First Basin. A restaurant overlooks the area and there is a Victorian garden with ferns and exotic plants. Peacocks and wallabies roam freely.

On both sides of Cataract Gorge is natural bushland.

Parts of the area are floodlit at night.

Cataract Gorge
Cataract Gorge is a few minutes’ walk
from the Launceston city centre.
© Tourism Tasmania and George Apostolidis

If you prefer not to walk you can drive to the parking lot at First Basin.

Further up Cataract Gorge is the historic Duck Reach Power Station which started producing hydro-electric power for Launceston more than 100 years ago.

Cataract Gorge
The suspension bridge over the Cataract Gorge in Launceston, Tasmania.
© Tourism Tasmania and Garry Moore