Duck Reach Power Station
Region: North East
Where: 10 minutes drive from Launceston
Walk time: 1 hour
Walk distance: 3km
Difficulty level: Easy
5 August 2017
Friday night I drove up north towards Launceston to stay the night with plans for the Saturday to do a walk and check out what the north of the state had to offer. Saturday morning came round and I opened the blinds to see a very grey and drizzly winters day outside.
Not the ideal day for a walk so I headed out to brunch with some friends and had an amazing eggs benedict and coffee. After a scrumptious feast it was time to head back outdoors into the murky weather but alas, the sky was blue and the sun was out so on went the hiking boots and a short drive later I had arrived at the Launceston Cataract Gorge.
I decided to park at the top of the gorge to avoid the parking metres at the front. It was only a 5 minute walk down to the starting point of Duck Reach Power Station.
The first 15 minutes of the walk to the lookout over the gorge is pram friendly, after the lookout the track starts to go uphill and has a few speed bumps along the track. If you have a good pram you may be able to take it all the way along the track however on the decent towards the suspension bridge there are quite a few steps.
As you enter onto the suspension bridge you walk through a medieval looking archway and before long you are at the other side of the bridge next to the old building that once housed a flying fox which was the only way to get back and forth across the Esk river before the bridge was built.
Next to that sits an old industrial style building which houses Australia's first Hydro-Electric station. The doors are open welcoming you to go inside and explore and also read about what once was. The power station began construction in 1895 and finally shut it's doors in 1955.
Duck Reach Power Station was the first Hydro-Electric station in the world's southern hemisphere.
After marvelling the inside of the building we made our way back across the suspension bridge and instead of going left back towards the start we decided to take a detour and went up the hill to check out the ruins of the home that once housed the Chief Engineer of Duck Reach Power Station, C. St. John David. The home was burned down in 2011.
We then traced our steps back to the beginning of the track and made our way back to the car passing some friendly peacocks along the way.
- You can park in the main car park but there is a fee, if you want to avoid the fee park up the top of the gorge and walk down.
- There is a restaurant and café at the gorge along with a chair lift should you decide to take in an aerial view of the gorge.