We planned not to go far away from our base at Launceston on the last day of our visit to Tasmania thinking of the challenges that we encountered on our voyage on the Spirit Of Tasmania”.
Visit to Cataract Gorge in forenoon and spending time in sea beach were in our program. There is so much so sea in and around Launceston which we could not avail during our week long stay in Tasmania as we thought the places near can be seen any time. After the visit of Cataract Gorge we realized what our Khonar Bachon “Mookar Lok Haj pay naa” actually means. We received almost one of the most thrilling experiences.
Let us first see what the significance of Cataract Gorge from the tourist attraction point of view.
The Cataract Gorge is a river gorge in Launceston, northern Tasmania, and is one of the region's premier tourist attractions. It is found at the lower section of the South Esk River. The earliest known European visitor to the site was William Collins, who discovered its entrance in 1804.
A pathway, known as the King’s Bridge-Cataract Walk, and originally built by volunteers in the 1890s, runs along the north bank of the Cataract Gorge, and is a popular tourist destination. The original toll house at which pedestrians had to pay to enter the walk can still be seen near King's Bridge on the northern edge of the gorge.
A chairlift is the longest single-span chairlift in the world, with the longest span being 308 m (1,010 ft).http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cataract_Gorge - cite_note-4 The chairlift, built in 1972, has a total span of 457 m (1,499 ft).
Before the Trevallyn Dam was built upstream in the 1950s, flood waters could rise up as high as 12 metres. In the past, there was a power station at Duck Reach, about 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles) from a suspension bridge which was built in 1940. It was washed away in the floods of 1929, rebuilt and then decommissioned when the Trevallyn Dam was finished in 1955. The building is now an interpretive museum.
The First Basin on the southern side features a swimming pool, the aforementioned chairlift, two cafés, a funicular railway and an open area surrounded by bush land. At the bottom of the funicular railways is a small cottage which contains photographs and paintings of the basin and downriver Gorge. The basin itself has created many of myths about its depth: some locals say it is a bottomless pit; a volcanic plug; or that a submarine sent in to find its bottom during the 1960s ran out cable before accomplishing this feat. Measurements in 2011 found the maximum depth is 19 meters (62 ft).
Prior to the development of the Trevallyn Dam there were two lesser basins upstream of the "First Basin".
At the lower end of the gorge, the South Esk spills into the Tamar River going under King's Bridge and another more modern bridge on the way. The King's Bridge was the only bridge leading north out of the city for nearly 100 years.
Visit to Cataract Gorge:
We started a bit late after packing most of our baggage as we were to start very early in the next morning to travel to Devonport for the first trip of “ Spirit of Tasmania “ back to Melbourne. It took us about half an hour to reach the base station of Cataract Gorge. We had to options either to climb the steep mountain or take a chair lift to midway. Considering the challenges of Rozy we opted for Chair Lift which itself was a thrilling experience as it traversed across and over the gorge on to the valley. The valleys were blessed varieties of attractive flora and fauna. The multi colored wild flowers, beautiful birds, peacocks and pea hens coals and Kangaroos could make you lost to nature. There were many lovely water falls. We could walk along one of the easier walking trail and at many places friendly wild animals greeted us. We took several good photographs. One of those features on my cover page of Facebook.
While walking, Rozy socialized with a group of tourists from South Africa. In fact the place was humming from tourists from all over the world. Many came from Japan, China and Thailand. We were however the only family from Bangladesh. Rozy was asking why our Bandarban and Especially Chimbuk cannot be converted to something like Cataract Gorge. Nature has also blessed Bangladesh with similar resources. But Australia does not have so many issues and challenges like Bangladesh. Bangladesh has huge population living in a small area of limited natural resources.
While on the valley ground some peacocks were walking with us as they were watching us for remaining honest .They looked really gorgeous. Beautiful colored birds were chirping around. When we were about to ride the Chair Lift for returning from somewhere a Kangaroo came and blocked our way. We had to give it some food.
We drove to a sea side restaurant for lunch. Rozy liked special Salmon cooked with butter and honey. After taking an hours rest discussing about our experience of the week we drove to a local sea beach. We joined a group in playing cricket on the beach sand when I and Shuvro had opportunity to show our skills. Swimming in the beach in the afternoon till sunset was another experience. As the sun lost in the horizon we left the beach after having a bath in public bath rooms along the beach and drove back to Launceston for early dinner. Rozy volunteered to cook Khechuury and fish fry.
** Dream Journey Across Amazing Australia
BDST: 0951 HRS, SEP 21, 2014