Mission #5: Cataract Gorge

With a packed itinerary in Tasmania, Launceston almost didn’t make the cut. But to break up a long drive from Cradle Mountain to the east coast, we thought we might as well drop by the popular Cataract Gorge for lunch.

It has a perfectly accessible carpark, which is another thing I loved about Tassie. Most carparks for tourist destinations had designated areas for campervans or were fine with campervans parking there.

There is an outdoor swimming pool by the gorge, which is a little strange, considering there’s a whole body of water next to it. But I guess it’s a safer and cleaner option for those who still want to enjoy the scenery.

It was quite serene for a place in Tasmania’s second largest city. People were even sunbaking on the grass, kids were galavanting and scrambling over rocks. If this were in Melbourne I’m sure it would be stricter with many guidelines. This is a difference we observed often, Tassie’s more laid-back culture (we even spotted 6hr parking signs once. Unheard of in Melbourne!)

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We decided to take the chairlift, costing $12 each for one way. It’s very basic, the lift operator didn’t even warn us to jump onto the chair as it came down, so we missed it the first time. It was nice to relax for a few minutes and see the gorge from that view, but it doesn’t last too long.

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We then decided to take a walk around the area. Actually we wanted to eat – but the restaurant on that side of the lift was closed and the kiosk didn’t have much. Instead, we took a stroll so we could end up back where we started to try the Basin Cafe.

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The gardens were nice and colourful, and there were many flamboyant peacocks to admire too. The walk over to the bridge across the gorge didn’t take too long from where we were, about 5-10 minutes.

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I think the pictures speak for themselves. It was a nice short walk around a unique spot, providing scenery that we aren’t at all accustomed to. It was a popular destination but still a peaceful and gorgeous place to spend an afternoon.

We preceded to have a late lunch at Basin Cafe, almost similar priced to an average Melbourne brunch, but worth it given Tassie’s fresh produce. We’d also been saving heaps of money by cooking in the campervan, so it was time for a little splurge!

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I went with the seafood chowder ($19.90) with scallops, prawns, salmon and trevally. The bread was toasted lightly and was flavoursome with its herbs. The bowl of chowder was enormous and probably too much for me, but deliciously creamy and not too heavy. There was a generous amount of seafood too – a pro about Tasmanian food.

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My friend ordered the Tasmanian atlantic salmon with potato rosti ($26.90). It was beautiful and fresh, but the rosti looked more just like normal potato.

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We also ordered some scones and sticky date – both standard and nothing special, but good enough to fill our bellies before our next drive!

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There was not really much to fault at the cafe. Service was friendly and you get a great view of the gorge, so if you do drop by and need a bite, it’s not a bad place to satisfy your appetite.

Basin Cafe is located on the west side of the gorge, near the chairlift and inclinator. You can find their menu here.

Basin Cafe on Urbanspoon

Hope you enjoyed this recap! Look out for the next few posts on the East Coast & Hobart as well as a few more projects on the side up my sleeve.

Photos were taken by myself and the.adventouriist, who you can follow on Instagram here or tumblr here. 

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