Hiking in Launceston
By Viator, October 2013
The Cataract Gorge Walk is Launceston’s most popular hike. An easy 1km (0.6mi) ramble, the Cataract Gorge Walk runs along the cliff face of Cataract Gorge to link the Victorian gardens with the Cliff Grounds. The walk is on a sealed track and boardwalk, and is wheelchair accessible, making it one of the most popular hikes in Launceston.
Both the most popular and the longest hikes in Launceston start at Cataract Gorge. The Duck Reach Trail is a 10km (6mi) return track that follows the South Esk River out of the Cataract Gorge Reserve to the Duck Reach Power Station, a historic hydroelectric plant that ran from 1895 to 1956. An interpretation centre at the site provides a history of the station. Round out your hikes in Cataract Gorge by undertaking the First Basin Loop. Take in the gorge with its chairlift, lawns, swimming pool and the basin itself on an easy 900m loop.
The Youngtown Trail is the perfect hike for families, dog walkers, mountain bikers and even horse riders. The trail extends for 2km (1.2mi) one way through eucalypt forests and native grasslands, showcasing the natural beauty of the Launceston area. It’s a moderate difficulty dirt and gravel track, and you’re sure to pass some interesting people on the trail.
For an informal network of trails all in one place, you can’t go past the Punchbowl Reserve. Hike in on the Kings Meadows Trail which starts behind the Kings Meadows Hotel on Hobart Road. The easy, 900m trail leads you straight to the Punchbowl Reserve, where the Punchbowl Trail starts. Walk along the Punchbowl Trail until you get to the start of the Loop Trail, which will lead you into the reserve itself. Parking is available in the reserve if you prefer to cut out the longer hike, but come prepared to spend the day strolling through the beautiful native bushland of the Punchbowl Reserve – that is the point, after all!