Situated in the North West corner of Tasmania, this park offers small sheltered
beaches and sweeping views over Bass Strait. The banksia dotted hillsides
boast many varieties of orchid and spectacular wildflowers in the spring.
Remnants of Aboriginal life include several caves containing paintings and
middens up to 9 000 years old.
Range National Park
Asbestos Range National Park, in the centre of the North Coast, covers the
coast from Port Sorell to the mouth of the Tamar River. Beautiful unspoilt
beaches, long stretches of sand dunes and coastal heathland make up this park
which is an important habitat for many of Tasmania's largest marsupials.
William Collins when he explored the Gorge in 1804, described its natural
beauty as unsurpassed in the world. The First Basin on the southern side features
a swimming pool and an open area surrounded by bushland and becomes Launceston's
'beach' in summer. In contrast, the shady northern side named the Cliff Grounds
is a Victorian garden with ferns and exotic plants. Dividing the two areas
is the South Esk River and the Gorge can be crossed on the Alexandra Suspension
Bridge, or swinging bridge, built in 1895, or on a well formed path established
where an original ford crossed the South Esk. Alternatively the crossing can
be made on the chairlift which contains in its length, the longest single
span in the world.
The Cataract Gorge Reserve
abounds with walking trails and lookouts which fully explore the beauty of
the area. The most spectacular way to enter the reserve is on the Kings Bridge-Cataract
Walk, a path which clings to the Cliff face of the Gorge. It was built in
the 1890's for the benefit of Launceston's citizens and visitors and was the
city's most popular promenade in Victorian times. The path offers excellent
views of the dolerite columns along the cliffs and during winter the drama
of the furious floods is an exciting spectacle.
Duck Reach Trail leads through an almost untouched landscape past the Second
Basin and close to the remains of the Duck River Power Station which was Australia's
first municipal hydro-electric power station.