When you grow up in a naturally beautiful area like the North Coast of NSW (like I did), I suspect you sometimes take it for granted. Even now, when I go home to visit my family, most of the time there is spent at home with them. If you’ve grown up with an environment like that, I guess you sometimes never realise how fantastic it is. I suspect the same may be true of the Cataract Gorge at Launceston. On such a gorgeous day, I thought more locals would have been out and about enjoying a really beautiful location on their doorstep.
One of the best things about the gorge is that it’s so close. Sue dropped me off there this morning, as she made her way to visit some relatives. While she enjoyed their company, I enjoyed wandering around the gorge.
There’s a ski-lift not far from the car park which (for $12 one way; $15 both ways) takes you from one side to the other. In hindsight it was probably a waste of money, as the walk itself isn’t too difficult.
On the other side, I stopped and looked briefly at the feeding wallabies, before embarking on walk to the lookout. The sign describes the walk as difficult, steep, and requiring about thirty minutes. Due to the incline I found the walk pretty difficult for a while, and so I stopped a couple of times on my way to the top. I wasn’t the only one finding it difficult, though, as a small group of Dutch and French tourists also stopped and paused on their way up. I figured it was best to get the “hard walk” out of the way first. The view from the top was good, though perhaps a little disappointing, as many Australian lookouts are (there’s too much to see), since it also looked back towards suburban housing in Launceston.
It was much better, in my opinion, to walk more closely to the gorge (though you never actually get the opportunity to walk around the flowing water and rocks due to safety fences). Down a little closer you get to feel the energy caused by the rushing water. You also get to see the variation. For many, I think the Australian landscape of the type you find in the gorge seems to have only two colours: brown and green. But when you look closely you see the rust colours of the rocks, the occasional blue and yellow of the wild-flowers, and the many deep variations of those dominant colours.
I really loved my time wandering around Cataract Gorge. The views are wonderful and the walks aren’t too strenuous. The only thing I’d change (if possible, but maybe safety is an issue), is that it would be great to get a little closer to the rushing water and the rocks.