Frequently Asked Questions for Walk Cataract Gorge
Where are you located?
The Jewel of Launceston, one-hour walking tour, starts near the old Ticketbooth at the northern end of Kings Bridge, which is one of the entrances to the Cataract Gorge Reserve. The Ticketbooth is very visible, once you cross Kings Bridge to the northern end, you will see the Ticketbooth on the left and the Walk Cataract Gorge A-frame signboard. Please refer to the map on the tour page.
Launceston’s Natural Heart, 45 minute loop walking tour, starts on the lawns at First Basin just inside the entry from the First Basin carpark, which is located at 72 Basin Road West Launceston. Just inside the entry, on the lawn adjacent to the Basin Café and close to the Scenic Chairlift ticketbooth (both are easy to find) you will see the Walk Cataract Gorge A-frame signboard. Please refer to the map onthe tour page.
How do I get to the starting point of the TOUR?
For The Jewel of Launceston tour, Kings Bridge is an easy stroll from the city centre. Walking time from the CBD is approximately 15-20 minutes. Depending on the location of your accommodation it could be as little as a five to ten minute walk.
The most direct access by foot from the Launceston CBD is walking west along Paterson Street, which turns into Bridge Road. Walk across Kings Bridge to the northern end and look for the old Ticketbooth on the left.
If you are walking from the waterfront, Seaport, or Home Point area, take the Alexandra Walk from Seaport, continue past Royal Park, and then along Ritchies Mill Walk. Here you’ll meet Bridge Road. Walk across Kings Bridge to the northern end and look for the old Ticketbooth on the left.
For Launceston’s Natural Heart tour, you can walk into First Basin from the CBD, taking either the Cataract Walk or the Zig Zag track from Kings Bridge.
The Cataract Walk is a sealed path, a mostly level walk apart from a short section of slight gradient towards the end. Grade: Easy, distance 1km.
Please note that the Zig Zag Track is a dirt track and a requires a sufficient level of fitness, for multiple steps and steep incline and decline. Grade: Hard, distance 1km, total climb 88m.
See directions above (under The Jewel of Launceston) for foot access to Kings Bridge.
Is there anywhere to park nearby the start of the walk?
Walk Cataract Gorge encourages you to come to the starting point on foot! It’s good for you and the environment.
For The Jewel of Launceston tour, the starting point is very close to the Launceston CBD and most accommodation providers, with walking time around 10-20 minutes for most visitors.
If you must drive, there are a couple of options. Limited on-street metered parking is available along Paterson Street and Bridge Street, with most meters allowing for a three hour stay. The closest car parks (parking lots) are Park Street, Bathurst Street, and Paterson Street West (Google each of these car park names followed by ‘car park Launceston’, to see a map showing their location).
For Launceston’s Natural Heart tour, the starting point is located further within the Cataract Gorge Reserve, the walk in along the Cataract Walk is easy and very beautiful, with walking time around 20-30 minutes for most visitors.
If you prefer to drive, the First Basin car park is located at 72 Basin Road, West Launceston. Metered charges apply ($3.00 for four hours). The driving time from the CBD is approximately 10 minutes.
Why does the walk start there?
For The Jewel of Launceston tour, starting at Kings Bridge allows you to experience both the ‘Gorge’ and the ‘Cataract’ of Cataract Gorge first hand, and provides a spectacular unfolding of the natural beauty of the surrounds as we make our way into the Gorge and then further into First Basin. Geographically speaking, the starting point is the closest of the Cataract Gorge Reserve to the Launceston CBD and the majority of Launceston accommodation providers.
For Launceston’s Natural Heart tour, the First Basin is the most popular access point to the Cataract Gorge Reserve for the greatest volume of visitors, form where you can enjoy the natural beauty of the basin and surrounding area. For those with less time available and who prefer to drive, the Frist Basin car park and entrance are a popular choice.
How long does it take to complete the Tour?
For The Jewel of Launceston tour, the tour duration is approximately one hour. Occasionally we may run over the hour by 5-10 minutes due to various factors, e.g. depending on the size of the group, the walking speed of the group, if we are accosted by the local wildlife, such as the spectacular Peacock giving us a display of his tail feathers! And if we are having such a fabulous time and can’t stop talking!
For Launceston’s Natural Heart tour, the tour duration is approximately 45 minutes. Occasionally we may run over time, see above for the reasons why!
When should I arrive?
Please arrive approximately 10 minutes prior to the starting time of the Tour, so that we can make our introductions and get started on time.
What should I wear?
Please ensure that you wear flat comfortable footwear, and wear comfortable clothing suited to the weather conditions on the day. The weather can be changeable in a short space of time in Tasmania, so always ensure you can warm up or cool down with your clothing.
It is important to protect yourself from the sun, by covering up first with clothing (long sleeves are good) and a hat, and the addition of sunscreen on exposed skin.
The tour will operate in all weather (if it’s safe to do so), so please dress accordingly for warm or hot weather, and likewise wear enough layers to keep yourself warm and a rain jacket in cold or wet weather.
What about the weather?
Walk Cataract Gorge tours operate in all weather conditions.
Tours will only be cancelled in extreme weather conditions which pose a safety threat to the participants. In this case, Walk Cataract Gorge will postpone or cancel tours at its discretion and will offer an alternative departure date. (see the Terms & Conditions for more details about alternate tours and cancellation/refund terms)
How do I get back to the starting point once the guided walk has finished?
For The Jewel of Launceston tour, if your time is limited and you need to depart the Cataract Gorge Reserve as soon as the walk finishes, you have two options to leave on foot. You can re-trace the same route as the walking tour, exiting along the Cataract Walk path on the northern side of the Gorge (it’s the relatively flat path). This will take approximately 20-30 minutes. Or you can take the shorter but more strenuous route along the Zig Zag Walk track on the southern side of the Gorge (this is a dirt track with multiple steps up and down), you will need an average to high level of fitness to walk this way, and a relatively high level of fitness if you want to walk this track at a good steady pace. This will take 20-40 minutes depending on your level of fitness and speed. Zig Zag Track; Grade: High, distance 1km, total climb 88m.
For Launceston’s Natural Heart tour, the tour finishes close to the starting point on the lawns at First Basin.
Do I need to bring food and drinks with me?
It is recommended, but not essential, that you bring water with you.
You are welcome to bring snacks, food or drinks with you, as you may wish to spend more time in the lovely surrounds of the Cataract Gorge when your tour is complete.
The Basin Café and Gorge Restaurant, including outdoor kiosk, offer a range of food and beverages in beautiful settings.
Are there toilets nearby?
Public toilets are located at First Basin, where both tours conclude.
Is the walk wheelchair friendly?
Yes, both the tours can be taken in a wheelchair. Although The Jewel of Launceston tour generally includes a few steps in one place, these can be avoided without causing disruption to the tour. For Launceston’s Natural Heart tour, there are no steps included, although a crossing of a foot suspension bridge is included.
Additionally, there is a pedestrian inclinator located at First Basin, at the conclusion point of both tours. This provides easy access to the car park/vehicle drop-off, if wheelchair users would like to depart Cataract Gorge from there.
Are there other things to do after the Tour?
You can extend your stay in Cataract Gorge by a short time or a long time, there are plenty of activities to choose from!
Other things to do located in the Cataract Gorge Reserve include the Gorge Scenic Chairlift, the First Basin swimming pool (in summer), Basin Café, and Gorge Restaurant and kiosk.
From taking a gentle stroll around other paths and tracks around the Reserve, walking up to Duck Reach, or hiking beyond into the adjacent Trevallyn Nature Recreation Area, there is so much to see and do!
Do I need to book?
Yes! Bookings are essential, and places are limited. As long as the booking process is completed and you have received your confirmation, come along! Book here.
How do I book?
Book online on the Walk Cataract Gorge website. Book here.
Alternatively, if in Launceston, you can visit the Launceston Visitor Information Centre located at 68-72 Cameron St, Launceston TAS 7250. The visitor centre is open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am-1pm. Phone 1800 651 827.
How can I pay?
For online bookings via the website payment is required by credit card at the time of booking.
For bookings at the Launceston Visitor Information Centre you can pay by cash or credit card at the time of booking.
Do I need to book a time?
Yes, when you choose a tour, it will be presented with a specific starting time, or a choice of times.
Can I smoke on the Tour?
No, the tours are non-smoking.
What is the refund policy?
Your booking is a non-refundable purchase and is for a specific time and date.
If you cannot attend your booked Tour and you provide at least 24 hours notice, it may be possible for you to join another tour. (see the Terms & Conditions for more details about alternate tours and cancellation/refund terms)
Can alternate tours be arranged, separate to those shown on the website?
Groups are very welcome. Tour times, content, and route, including the start and finish point, can be arranged to suit. Please contact Walk Cataract Gorge via the details on the website, to discuss your interest and needs.