One of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks, the Duck Reach Walk is a 4 mi out-and-back trail along the spectacular Cataract Gorge that starts and ends at the Basin car park near the city of Launceston, within the Cataract Gorge Reserve, Tasmania.
The trail is graded as Difficult due to its overall elevation gain of 1164 ft as it takes on some short, inclined sections and involves 190 steps each way, but it is generally considered to be an easy to medium trail and a walk for most ages and abilities. Start at the Basin Road car park and follow the well-marked trail; look out for the ‘Great Short Walks’ signs or set off from King’s Bridge following the Duck Reach Track on this fascinating historic trail. For information on how we grade trails, please click here
. It is possible to shorten the trail by arranging collection from the trail exit on Corin Street near to Duck Reach.
Beautiful wilderness on the edge of a city, the Cataract Gorge Reserve welcomes visitors to learn all about the Duck Reach power station, one of the first hydro-electric power stations in the world, as the undulating gravel trail follows the meandering South Esk River from King’s Bridge to reach another bridge over to the Duck Reach power station. This trail is usually completed in approximately 2 – 3 hours. Caution is advised on trail times as this depends on multiple variables. For more info, click here
This historic power plant was in operation from 1895 to 1955, having been destroyed by flooding in 1929 and then rebuilt to continue providing power until 1955. Today it’s an ‘Interpretation Centre’, a museum with signs telling its story alongside some of the plant’s original equipment.
A fantastic place to visit for the whole family, visitors can find walking trails, toilets, parking, picnic facilities, drinking water, a kiosk and even a swimming pool with changing rooms at the Cataract Gorge Reserve ("The Gorge”) grounds. For scenic views from above, takes to the Gorge Scenic Chairlift which is available one-way or as a return ride to Cliff Grounds Reserve, however, for anyone requiring accessibility assistance it is advised to contact the chairlift attendants beforehand. https://www.launcestoncataractgorge.com.au/rates.html
For those looking for wheelchair accessibility, the Gorge has a pedestrian ‘Inclinator’ which is like a cable car, which transports visitors with mobility issues and wheelchair users free of charge to the main entrance making its short trails more easily accessible.
Dogs are not allowed in the reserve for the protection and conservation of the park and its wildlife.