Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston Tasmania

Cataract Gorge and the South Esk River offer attractive bushwalking on the edge of Launceston in Northern Tasmania. Apart from the scenery you might also come across some unusual wildlife.

Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston

Cataract Gorge is very picturesque and sits just on the edge of Launceston, northern Tasmania’s largest city. There are a number of bush tracks in the area and we did a fairy wide circuit taking in some country further upstream on the South Esk River in the Trevallyn Nature Recreation Area.

Apart from the scenery, there was some pretty tame wildlife about, including wild peacocks of all things, introduced to the area early last century as a bit of exotica. The eastern sections are the most picturesque so check out my track notes (after the pictures) for the various options.

Cataract Gorge Circuit: The Scenery

Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston
Second Basin.

Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston

Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston
Duck Reach Power Station
Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston
Inside Duck Reach Power Station

Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston

Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston
The bridge at Duck Reach. Previous bridges have been washed away by floods.
Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston
Above Duck Reach Power Station.
Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston
A bend in the South Esk River.
Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston
On the Deadmans Hollow Track.

Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston

Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston
A female Peacock and her chicks just at the side of the track.
Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston
A female Peacock.
Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston
A rather grand and not so shy Peacock that was just hanging out in a prominent place near the gorge.
Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston
One of the locals.
Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston
Looking back at First Basin as we walked down towards Kings Bridge.
Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston
The gorge closer to Launceston.
Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston
Cataract Gorge
Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston
Kings Bridge: you cross over this and head back on the other side of the gorge.
Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston
You can see here how the south side of the gorge, which gets all the sun, is very dry, and the north side, which is often in shade, is a lot greener.
Cataract Gorge Circuit, Launceston
Back to First Basin here.

Track Notes

The gorge is the main highlight of this walk, and the furthest upstream sections were possibly not worth the extra effort. So you might go as far as Trevallyn Dam walls and head back from there, or to make it much shorter you could go only as far as Duck Reach. There’s a good map of trail options in the Trevallyn Nature Recreation Area on the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife site, and the trails at the city end of the gorge are obvious and signposted.

We did the circuit described in Day Walks Tasmania: Start at First Basin, and go anticlockwise past Duck Reach Power Station, join the Deadmans Hollow Track, then South Esk Track to Aquatic Point, then Lake Trevallyn Road, Reedy Gully Trail, Snake Gully Trail, and head down the gorge on the north side, cross Kings Bridge, then head back to First Basin via a track high up on the dry south side.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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