QUEENSTOWN is an interesting, old mining town that is isolated by the western wilderness of Tasmania. It is infamous for the damage done to the environment by sulfides to the landscape and acid to the King and Queen rivers. It has retained many of its old buildings to give the town a Wild West feeling to it, so a walking tour of Queenstown is quite interesting. The Gallery Museum also has a very detailed history of the area and there are tours of the mines. A tour of the mining areas east of Queenstown is also a must do. The most spectacular attraction, though, is the old Wilderness Railway that begins at Queenstown and ends at Strahan. This is a unique experience and is suitable for everyone. Queenstown has many facilities and much accommodation.
LAKE BURBURY is a beautiful lake east of Queenstown. From this lake you can get really ethereal views of the surrounding mountains.
Queenstown is a very isolated place. It is 40 minutes from ZEEHAN and STRAHAN, 60 minutes from ROSEBERY and 2 hours from HOBART. Other places in the West Coast Region are described in my WEST COAST REGION page.
View West Coast in a larger map
FACILITIES at Queenstown include shops, cafes, petrol stations, vehicle repairs and a full range of businesses. There is some accommodation in QUEENSTOWN.
TOURIST information is at the Gallery Museum, 1 Driffield Street, Queenstown.
SIGHTS: Queenstown is a unique, old mining town. A heavily eroded Mt Lyell looks down on a Wild West town nestled in a narrow valley. The town has many old buildings and a unique atmosphere that only an old, continuously operating, mining town can give. The area is heavily eroded, but this is part of its charm. There is a lot to see in Queenstown. The sights include the:
GALLERY MUSEUM is in the Queenstown CBD and has a great mining display.
LAKE BURBURY is a very beautiful hydro electric lake just east of Queenstown.
LAKE MARGARET POWER STATION tour, 0407 049 612 or the internet contact is www.queenstownheritagetours.com
LIMESTONE QUARRY is on the A10 just north of the CBD
LOST MINES tours the ancient Lychford mines: 0407 049 612 or the internet contact is www.queenstownheritagetours.com
Mt LYELL TOURS has an underground mines tour. The telephone number is 0407 049 612 or the internet contact is www.queenstownheritagetours.com
MINERS & PINERS is a rail and road excursion experience into the wilderness. The telephone number is 1800 084 620 or contact www.puretasmania.com.au
NELSON FALLS is a short nature trail leading. It is just north of the A10 Lyell Highway just east of Lake Burbury.
PENGHANA House built in 1898 is now a BB & restaurant. It is located in Esplanade Street, just West of the Queenstown CBD. Telephone (03) 6471 2560 or contact www.penghana.com.au
SPION KOP Lookout gives a good view of the area. It is just east of the Queenstown CBD,
WILDERNESS RAILWAY begins at Queenstown. It is a great steam train journey along the old mining railway which ends in STRAHAN. Telephone number is (03) 6471 0100 or call 1800 084 620 or the contact is www.puretasmania.com.au
- Mt Lyell
- Wild. Railway
- Nelson Falls
1/ Queenstown is a unique, old mining town in western Tasmania. Copper, silver and gold were discovered here in the late 19th Century and the town boomed around the famous Mt Lyell Copper Mine. Queenstown retains many of its old buildings, which add to its charm. This photo is looking up Hunter Street towards a distant Mount Lyell on the horizon.
2/ The proud Victorian era lines of the Empire Hotel attest to a time, when Queenstown enjoyed great wealth.
3/ The Queenstown Post Office also attests to the great wealth Queenstown enjoyed in the late 19th Century.
4/ This old hotel now hosts the Galley Museum. It is well worth a visit to learn about the old days of Queenstown.
5/ The museum has many displays the exhibit all kinds of 19th and early 20th Century memorabilia.
6/ The museum also has many photographic displays on many topics of interest to students of the local history.
7/ This is the view down Hunter Street. Queenstown has retained whole Victorian era streetscapes.
8/ This is Hunters Hotel. It is the scene of many proud moments in Queenstown's past. Note that my camera lens has distorted some of the angles that you see here.
9/ This proud old hotel has retained its classic Victorian era balcony.
10/ One of the great attractions of Queenstown is the mine tour. This is where you book it.
11/ This photo is looking down Orr Street towards the Queenstown Railway Station. The other main street of Queenstown with lots of old buildings is Hunter Street.
12/ This is the modern monument to the old Queenstown miners, which is located on Driffeld Street.
13/ The monument honours the simple miners of old Queenstown. I like very much to see monuments that honour ordinary people.
14/ This is Penghana House. It was built by one of the founders of Queenstown and is now a Bed & Breakfast.
15/ This is the restored Queenstown Railway Station. It is now the home of the famous Wilderness Railway.
16/ This is the view inside the large railway shed. What you see is now mostly authentic to the late 19th Century.
17/ The Railway Station houses a great display honouring the railway builders of the west coast of Tasmania.
18/ This interesting house adjacent to the Queenstown Railway Station may have once housed railway families.
19/ This large white house near the railway station probably belonged to a leading Queenstown person.
20/ This photo shows an attractively restored church near the Queenstown Railway Station.
21/ This is the Queen River that flows out of Queenstown. As you can see, it is still very polluted.
22/ The old Paragon Theatre still regularly holds live drama productions. It is the survivor of a time when Queenstown had many such theatres.
23/ Queenstown is located on a series of steep hills. It was interesting to see the way the hills were used for houses.
24/ Australian Rules Football is popular in Tasmania. I was, however, surprised to discover that this supporter had decorated his house in the black and white colors of his team Collingwood.
1/ This is the enchanting view from the Rinadeena Lookout towards Mount Lyell and Queenstown. Lush vegetation and forests like this, once surrounded Queenstown.
2/ This photo shows the large lake west of Queenstown near the Queenstown airfield.
3/ This is the view of distant Queenstown taken from the Mount Lyell Lookout east of Queenstown
4/ This is the mining lift tower at Spion Kop Lookout. From here you can get some great views of Queenstown.
5/ This cannon of about 1860 decorates the Spion Kop Lookout. Spion Kop refers to a battle fought in the South African War.
6/ This is the view towards the north west and Mount Lyell. Note how the large oval is not green. Beyond are the desolate hills worked by the Mount Lyell Copper Mine.
7/ This view looks north directly at the Mount Lyell Copper Mine. Note how the vegetation cover has been completely stripped away.
8/ This view is looking south down Bowes Street. The long building is a school.
9/ This fine view is looking south west towards the old Queenstown Railway Station.
1/ Mount Lyell is the huge copper mountain that looks down on Queenstown in western Tasmania. Over a hundred years of mining denuded the mountain, so that today it presents a unique sight. This photo was taken just before sunset. I was impressed by the lovely colors Mount Lyell was showing at that time.
2/ This was my lovely view of Mount Lyell just as the sun was setting. It was breathtaking the way it changed color as the sun set. However, it was worth remembering that the strange color effects are the result of massive damage from sulphur smelters, tree clearing, fires and water erosion in the 19th and 20th centuries.
3/ This was the sunset view of the western slope of Mount Lyell. This is where the modern mine is located.
4/ The road out of Queenstown to Hobart goes up Mount Lyell. Here you get to see just how damaged the land really is.
5/ This sign decorates the Queenstown lookout. From here you get a great view into Queenstown down in the Valley.
6/ This is the lovely view from the Queenstown lookout on Mount Lyell. Queenstown is in the valley in the middle.
7/ This is the typical view of the environmental damage that you see in the hills around Queenstown. Fortunately, today the hills are being replanted with trees.
8/ This massive flooded lake is the old Iron Blow. It was a major area of open cut mining in the late 19th Century. The photo was taken from a perch about 200 metres above this lake. It was so large that my lens was only just able to photograph it all.
9/ This photo might give you some idea as to how much earth was moved in the mining operations. This was the famous North Lyell mine of James Crotty. He was the great rival of the other mining giant, Bowes Kelly.
10/ Just to the south of the Crotty's Iron Blow was the open cut mine of Bowes Kelly. The two mines competed with each other to the detriment of Queenstown. Both mines had there own dedicated smelters, towns, railways and ports. Yet they were only a few kilometres apart on opposite sides of Mount Lyell. Had they cooperated Queenstown would have been a much more successful site.
11/ This is the view from the Iron Blow lookout towards Lake Burbury in the east. To the right is the remnants of the town of Gormanston, which was one of the towns of Crotty's empire.
12/ This is the view to the north of the Iron Blow. The mountain tops show you what happens, when you cut down the trees.
13/ This is the view to the south of the Iron Blow of Gormanston, which was one of Crotty's towns. A century ago this town was twenty times larger than it is today.
14/ This is the view of damaged hills to the south west of Gormanston.
15/ This is the shell of the old hotel of Linda. Linda was Crotty's old rail head town. This hotel is the last remnant of the old town still standing.
16/ This is the view down what was once the CBD of old Linda. The modern inhabitants of Linda benefit from the tourist boom of recent times.
17/ This photo shows degraded hills near Linda.
1/ The West Coast Wilderness Railway is a unique train experience. It runs from Queenstown to Strahan in far western Tasmania. It is the old Mt Lyell Railway that was closed in the 1960s and only reopen in 2002. The journey gives passengers breathtaking views of steep river gorges and ancient forests. By November 2014 the line is due to be fully restored all the way to Strahan. On my trip in February 2013, it only went as far as Dubbil Barril. The photo above shows the train departing from the old Queenstown railway station.
2/ The passenger carriages of the West Coast Wilderness Railway are stylishly restored 19th Century carriages. The roofs had to be totally rebuilt, but they were built in a style that was harmonious to the old carriages' style. The carriages are heated in winter to keep them comfortable.
3/ This is the turnstile at Queenstown from where the West Coast Wilderness Railway begins its journey. There are other turnstiles at Dubbil Barril and Strahan.
4/ This is the restored Queenstown railway station, where you board the West Coast Wilderness Railway.
5/ This is the special Abt gear that allows the locomotive to climb up steep grades. The hills around Queenstown presented a major engineering challenge. The Abt gear is a 19th Century Austrian invention, which was chosen for use in the hilly country of western Tasmania.
6/ As you exit Queenstown, you cross the highly polluted Queen River. Although the polluting has now stopped, it may be thousands of years before this river is clean again.
4/ This is one of the 48 bridges needed by the West Coast Wilderness Railway. The railway had to be built with hand tools in very challenging conditions. Notice the special Abt line between the rail lines.
5/ The first stop of the West Coast Wilderness Railway is at Lynchford. This was an old gold mining town that has now disappeared. The locomotive needs to take in 3000 litres of water to climb up to Dubbil Barril.
6/ At Lynchford passengers are given a chance to pan for gold, just like the old miners did in the 19th Century. Some passengers even find some gold. The whole area around Lynchford once contained a small town.
7/ For much of the journey the train follows the King River. This is a view into one of the many gorges that you see. Note that the King River is also highly polluted and despite the pollution having been stopped, it will not be clean again from thousands of years.
8/ This is a view of the rebuilt, old, railway station at Rinadeena. Here passengers can buy their lunch. This is the highest point that the train climbs to. Rinadeena rains on most days of the year.
9/ From the railway bridge at Rinadeena, you get a good view of the old train.
10/ The train has to take on more water at Rinadeena. Behind it you can see the bridge across the rail line.
11/ The journey between Rinadeena and Dubbil Barril goes through some very interesting countryside.
12/ This is another view into the gorge of the King River near Rinadeena. The views in this section were awesome.
13/ This is another view of the King River. Note the dirty brown color of the highly polluted King River.
14/ This is a view of the King River at Dubbil Barril. The small piece of flat land in the foreground was once part of a dairy farm that supplied milk to Queenstown.
15/ This view looks down the railway station at Dubbil Barril. Note how the railway station is cut into the cliff face. The locomotive is moving to the turnstile around the corner to be turned around for the return journey.
16/ This shows the locomotive entering the turnstile at Dubbil Barril. In the background is the railway station.
17/ Watching the drivers turn the locomotive by hand excited a lot of interest from the passengers. It was interesting to see just two men turn a 30 ton locomotive.
1/ A few kilometres East of Lake Burbury is the trail to Nelson Falls. The trail is well paved and it is only a short walk through a beautiful rain forest to reach the falls.
2/ This view shows the lovely rain forest of Nelson creek on the way to Nelson Falls.
3/ This photo shows the Nelson Falls. Unfortunately, that summer the water flow was quite low. I estimated that the fall was about 40 metres. I intend to return for a better photo in the winter, when it is much more impressive.