Things to Do in Launceston
Launceston’s ruggedly beautiful Cataract Gorge is a popular highlight for visitors, combining dramatic natural landscapes and Victorian-era landscaping right on the edge of the city.
The reserve is surrounded by wild natural parklands, and near-vertical cliffs soar alongside the South Esk River as it enters the Tamar River.
Hikers and rock climbers head here to follow picturesque walking trails along the gorge’s northern bank, and the open-air swimming pool becomes a mini lido in summer, surrounded by beach umbrellas and sunbathers.
With picnic grounds, restaurant, kiosk, cafe, wandering peacocks, scenic lookouts, a lofty suspension bridge and walking trails, you can easily spend a day here. At night the gorge is beautifully floodlit, and a chairlift whisks visitors over the river to West Launceston.
Before Launceston’s hydro dam was completed in 1955, the waters here were channeled to create electricity.
Cradle Mountain is a world-famous wild and beautiful World Heritage area of glacial mountains, pristine lakes and legendary hiking and bushwalking. This unique slice of Australian wilderness also protects ancient rainforest and alpine heathlands.
Day visitors can take day walks at Cradle Valley and Cynthia Bay, but it’s the 65km (40-mile) Overland Track that gets hikers especially excited by Cradle Mountain. The six-day, five-night epic walking track winds through eucalypt forests and across alpine moors. December to April is the optimum time to walk the track, providing wonderful glimpses of alpine wildflowers.
Shorter walks include the two-hour Dove Lake Loop Track through rainforest, an eight- to 10-minute stroll along the Visitor Center boardwalk rainforest walk, and the 20-minute exploratory walk to historic Weindorfer’s Chalet, once home to the park’s founder Gustav Weindorfer. Rangers also lead guided walks and provide talks and kids activities.