Monday, February 13, 2017

Launceston City Finale: Cataract Gorge Reserve

Cataract Gorge is a river gorge in Launceston at the lower section of South Esk River. It is located just 1.5km from Launceston City Centre and one of the top attractions in Launceston. 

I walked from the city centre along Paterson Street pass Royal Park and Kings Park before reaching Peace Garden that leads me to Kings Bridge. The view and the weather were so good I did not feel the 1-km walk at all.

A park

A statue

A pretty building

Tamar River

Where both North Esk River and South Esk River meet

More walking

Peace Garden

North Esk River

Bye Tamar River!

Approaching the bridge

Kings Bridge was designed by William Thoma Doyne  in 1861. This wrought iron arch bridge was completed in 1864 after the fabrication completed in Manchester, England. All the bridge parts were then transported to Launceston, assembled on a pontoon and fitted into position.

The view from Kings Bridge

Finally crossing Kings Bridge

After crossing the bridge, I was exposed to the Cataract Gorge Walk. It is a narrow walking path along the river, the length is about 1km or so. The path is quite flat and easy to walk on.

On the other hand, those who are more adventurous can choose another path called Zig Zag Reserve Walk. It is at another side of a river but the track is steeper, I was told.

The view of Kings Bridge from Cataract Gorge Walk

The path

The river

This shelter was built by Cyril Shaw and Leslie Dent by shaping bird wire and concrete into wood-look-alike structure; the method is called 'Faux Bois'

Further into the river

Still long way to go

The view is so relaxing

End of Cataract Gorge Walk

At the end of the walking track, the area opens up into an area called The Cliffs Ground. There are kids playing area, a flower garden and a lawn. The enlarged part of the river aheads is called First Basin. There are a swimming pool and open grass land surrounded by trees and bushes at the south side of First Basin.

Kids playground

The flower garden

The lawn

First basin

A track

To cross the river

The swimming pool is there, far far away

Alexandra Suspension Bridge is a cable suspension bridge that connects both sides of South Esk River at the head of First Basin. It was constructed in 1904 before being destroyed by flood in 1929. The bridge was then rebuilt the following year. The cables were changed in 2004.

Alexandra Suspension Bridge

Me and the bridge

The bridge is swinging

Another attraction that is worth experiencing is the chairlift. It is spanning 457m from The Cliff Grounds to the First Basin and has been in operation since 1972. The central span of 308m is believed to be the longest single chairlift span in the world.

The cost of taking the chairlift is AUD 12 for one way journey and AUD 15 for return journey. Visitors can take the chairlift from either side of the river. I was not afraid of height but I felt thrilled when the wind swung my chairlift. The chairlift moved slowly and the journey felt like forever. Anyway, it's worth the thrill.

On top of the world

The First Basin, swimming pool and grass land

The view of Alexandra Suspension Bridge

The chairlift station


The bonus of visiting Cataract Gorge is the fauna that I found here. I spent many hours waiting for the peacock to open up its feathers, I chased hopping wallabies around, I sat and listened to blue bird chirping. I am so blessed.

Mama Peacock and family

Papa Peacock, the male peacock is the pretty one
Brown wallaby eating maple leaf
Twitter bird!

Love is in the air,
Little Feet

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