Monday, February 15, 2016
Tasmania: Pyengana & Cataract Gorge, Launceston.
We left the Bay of Fires and headed inland, to Launceston, where we'd stay for a night. We drove through the beautiful, sunny dairy country, and soon fields with lambs and sheep were replaced with that of cows and calves. We stopped by Pyengana Dairy Company & the Holy Cow Café for a bite, then made our way to St. Columba Falls for a short stroll to the waterfall.
In the end, I do wish we had stayed 2 nights at Launceston. It's a quaint little city, and there's more to do than in the smaller towns. It's still far smaller than the major cities on the mainland, with a population of approximately 74,000 in 2011 (Hobart itself only has approximately 205,600 people as of 2012, which is a tenth of the size of Brisbane!), but that's part of its charm.
I am inclined to think most people hailing from Launceston have exceptional calf muscles, because the entire city is built as if it were in a giant bowl. We drove up what felt like 15 minutes of steep hills and narrow streets before we got to our Airbnb—I felt like there should've been a gondola between our apartment and the rest of the city. Being in the center of the state, it was a lot warmer in Launceston than it was in Hobart.
Unfortunately the only thing we got to visit in Launceston was the Cataract Gorge. We took the chairlift (the world's longest single span chairlift, I found out) to get to the First Basin, which is the main area of the reserve. We could've walked there too, but the chairlift was nice and way more scenic. I could tell this area would've been be so popular in the summer, and it was already bustling in spring. There was a swimming pool right in the middle of a beautiful, open grassy area, right next to the beautiful cliff faces, the basin itself, and many walking tracks nearby. There were so many beautiful, giant trees, and I found myself wishing we had thought to have a picnic there. Don't let the photos of people swimming in the water fool you—I dipped my hand in and it was actually freezing.