We arrived in the afternoon at the Commodore Regent Hotel , our accommodation, which was ideally situated, and the room perfect. When we asked the host, an amiable man, if we could make it to Cataract Gorge he told us that we could make it anywhere in Launceston. He was not wrong.
Second in size to Hobart in the south, it is a town nestled between river and hills, organised well and easy to navigate. In reply to the landlord, we asked if it was walking distance and, again, he said you could walk anywhere. We didn’t know if he had mountaineering types in mind and neither of us would profess to be that, so out came the map and he advised some good options, given our brief time. Like many of the people we met in Tasmania, he was not native to the island, but passionate about it.
We went straight to Cataract Gorge, an easy 7 minutes by car, but did the Duck Trail walk to the power station, at the suggestion of the landlord. It was amazing, but we didn’t get to do the standard Gorge walk, so cannot compare and we missed Penny Royal, which was on the standby list of things to do. The Duck trail took 2 hours return, taking lots of photos. The track is quite good, although steep in some parts but if you keep to the ‘up’ side, it is boarded to the sentinel lookout and then has some gravel and tree root sections. The power station and museum is worth travelling to, if you can brave the ornate suspension bridge at the end.
There are many facilities for a family at Cataract Gorge Reserve, including a swimming pool and playground. It has the longest single chair lift span in the World!
We followed this with a trip to Seaport, again at the suggestion of the landlord, and caught some pleasant views up and down the river. However, we should have veered a little more portside (left) to get views of the bridge. To walk the length from restaurants at Seaport to bridge view, it would take you about 20 minutes return, on good, level ground, suitable for wheelchairs.
Headed into town on foot and, being Easter Sunday, there was not the usual large range of establishments open, but we settled on The Royal Oak (there must be one in every town). We were not sorry, receiving excellent service, food and Guinness on tap.
DAY 2: Went to King’s Park, across the road from The Commodore. This is a must see. The Conservatory, Macaque monkey enclosure, longest bench in the Southern Hemisphere, fountains and gardens are delightful.
Took a walk into town and photographed the historic and quaint buildings – and there are plenty! Settled in 1804 it is one of Australia’s oldest towns.
We left Launceston with the intention of returning on our last day in Tasmania.
Travel safe, with water and hats (and good, stout boots for hiking).