Saturday morning in Launceston I wake up before the sunrise, super dooper excited. I had been working 12 hour days all week, and today was the first day I get to explore the town I arrived in 5 days ago! I laced up my shoes and threw on some layers (that morning air was icy) and begun the trek to Cataract Gorge.
An easy 15 minute walk from the center of town to the beginning of the paved walk on the northern side of the gorge, starting at Kings Bridge. The walk was an easy one, and cheerful birds provided the soundtrack as I took my time, taking photos and smiling at the locals running past. Everything was lush and green, and I had easy views of the Esk River the entire walk!
The paved walk took me right into Cliff Grounds – a lush Victorian style garden filled with ferns, wallaby’s and peacocks.
Spotting a sign that said “Eagle Lookout”, I trawled onwards and upwards; past the top of the chairlift that takes you from the South to North side of the gorge, up the slippery stone stairs covered in moss, up the dirt trails, lugging my oversized SLR camera, bottle of water and now my windbreaker, which had been quickly removed once I begun my ascent. When I finally reached the top I was met with an extremely disappointing view of the “Launceston Beach” – a square swimming pool surrounded by day-glo green grass which stuck out a bit compared to the natural surroundings. Back down I went, wondering what possessed the council to install such a thing. A pool yes, but make it complement the surroundings! Also, noted to myself that eagles may not always have the best views.
Next I crossed the suspension bridge that took me from the north to the south side of the gorge. It was such a beautiful bridge – I took far too many photos of it. Before crossing I walked up Alexandra Lookout, which was fortunately an easily accessible viewing platform, haha. I don’t think my legs could’ve taken another hike like Eagle Lookout.
After crossing, I took the Zig Zag trail back towards town. This one was a bit more difficult and steep in places. There wasn’t as good views of the Esk River, but I was rewarded with a few kookaburras instead. Crazy fit locals were constantly running past (it was a bit later in the morning now) and there were many more walkers about.
From my hotel, through Cataract Gorge and back was about 7km. It was such a relaxing walk – I took my time and really appreciated the different landscape and fauna. I hope my pictures do it justice. Watch this space for part 2 of my Launceston weekend – I really tried to fit in as much as possible!