New jewel in Gorge crown

LAUNCESTON'S iconic Cataract Gorge has a new jewel in its crown, following the opening of a dramatic new viewing platform on the Duck Reach track yesterday.

The 10.5-metre long cantilevered lookout, which juts out about seven metres above the water level, has been installed near Denison Road, West Launceston.

Designed by environmental design company Tangent Structures, the platform was engineered, manufactured and installed by Tasmanians.

The $230,000 project was paid for by the state government.

Speaking at the lookout's launch yesterday, Bass Labor MHA Brian Wightman said the new infrastructure provided an opportunity to boost already strong visitor rates to the Gorge.

``What you need to do is upgrade and offer different experiences so you continue to attract people to this place,'' he said.

``We know that people coming from right around the world look for different experiences and different ways to see our natural beauty.''

Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the Gorge was a treasure a lot of people took for granted.

``The Gorge isn't just something that's iconic for Tasmanians, it's something that is absolutely world-class,'' he said.

``There is nothing that compares to what we have right here in Launceston. It's something we need to be more proud of.''

Alderman van Zetten said the new vantage point would provide an incentive for people to branch out from the bottom of the Gorge and explore the area towards Duck Reach on foot.

``In times of flood when water is just teeming down the river it's going to be an amazing attraction to come up here and look at the floodwaters going through,'' he said.

``We want to get people to see the Gorge from different perspectives. There's so many places people can get a view of the Gorge and appreciate the history and the nature of what this place is.''

More than 2000 hours of work went into the construction and design of the platform.

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