Tourism Industry Coincil Tasmania

Queenstown – The one with a story to tell

Nestled between Mount Owen and Mount Lyell on the remote West Coast of Tasmania lies the vibrant town of Queenstown. The largest town on the West Coast and once one of the richest mining towns in the world, Queenstown is now a hidden gem that is home to an century-old steam train, a lively arts precinct and a must-experience for the adventurous wanderer.

The journey west from Hobart is no ordinary trip, and as you descend the aptly named 99 bends to Queenstown you start to realise, this is no ordinary town. This road is not for the faint of heart, but the breathtaking views make it worth every twist and turn. And once you arrive in Queenstown, you'll be rewarded with an experience that's both exhilarating and humbling.

Things are different out here on lutruwita/Tasmania's west coast. Take the time to stop often, reflect and just be. This will come with its own set of challenges - including unpredictable weather. But don't let a little rain (or snow, or wind) dampen your spirits - just make sure to pack accordingly. And if you need a break from the elements, there are plenty of cozy cafes and pubs where you can warm up with a hot drink or a hearty meal.

But don't let the weather stop you from exploring. Walk through town and admire murals that tell our story, visit art galleries and get to know a local artist, or pop into one of the town’s museums to learn a little of the history. And if you happen to be in town at the right time, don't miss The Unconformity Festival, which embraces the town's chequered history and newfound art scene, showcasing all genres of artists, performers and storytellers.

If adventure is what you're seeking, Queenstown won't disappoint. Take in spectacular views of Lake Burbury while hurtling down the mountain side on a double black diamond mountain bike track - that's sure to get your heart racing. Or, for a more leisurely pace, amble down forest paths, soak in the rain, receive a nod and a smile from a local. Choose your own pace, to explore this extraordinary place.

It takes time to get here - but it's worth the wait. Be prepared for a few days beyond the range of mobile signal, convenience and excess. Queenstown is much more than the 'moonscape' it was once known for, created by 19th century mining practises. Listen to the birdsong, the whistle of the train, the wind through the trees, and fall asleep to the sound of rain pattering on the roof.

In Queenstown, you'll find a town that's not afraid to embrace its past while looking forward to the future. Come and experience the beauty and grit of this Tasmanian gem for yourself.

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You know Queenstown, but you don't know this Queenstown...

The drive to lutruwita/Tasmania’s West Coast will take you through the stunning World Heritage Wilderness Area. Make it a real road trip and take a day to really appreciate the beauty, stopping off at one or two of the numerous walks available, chatting with locals and discovering the stories of the region. Arrive in Queenstown in the late afternoon, check into comfortable accommodation, such as Penghana Bed & Breakfast, Gold Rush Inn, or Empire Hotel and make yourself at home.


7:00am | Breakfast @ Tracks Cafe

Start the morning off right, with a hearty breakfast and a good brew at Tracks Café. The egg and bacon roll is most popular here, or the smoothie bowl for those who prefer a healthier start to the day.

8:00am | Raft & Steam journey

Gear up with the King River Rafting team and get ready for an exhilarating morning of white-water rapids. Your journey will take you down the King River and into the spectacular gorge area where, in moments of peace, you can admire majestic Huon Pine trees, once prized for their boat building properties and nearly felled into extinction.

At the half way point, join the West Coast Wilderness Railway at Dubbil Barril Station. and board your steam train, homeward bound. Grab lunch at one of the remote wilderness stops on the way back to Queenstown before descending the steepest steam hauled railway line in the southern hemisphere under the power of your 127-year-old heritage locomotive.

Once back in Queenstown, take some time to check out the West Coast Wilderness Railway Museum or the Galley Museum and learn more about the Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company’s history and region’s heritage.

3:00pm | Gravel Oval, Iron Blow & Horsetail Falls

Grab your car and make your way out of town on the road south. On the way out, veer left and check out the gravel oval, home to the Queenstown Crows Football Club. The oval was internationally recognised recently by Cate Blanchett, who took the opportunity to share with talk show host Jimmy Kimmel that we breed ‘real’ footballers here – we play on gravel, not grass!

After you’ve admired our dedication to the pursuit of AFL, jump in the car and head up the 99 Bends to Iron Blow lookout. This short, cantilevered platform takes you high above a disused open cut mine and site of the earliest major mining venture in the region. As the name would suggest, iron ore was mined from this site from the mid-1880s right through until 1929. Once you’ve taken in it’s magnitude, lift your gaze and admire the western wilderness that lies ahead. What you see is the now UNESCO protected Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness Area and, some might suggest the last place in the world likely to hide the extinct Thylacine (others will tell you not to be so silly!).

If there’s time, take the short 30-minute Horsetail Falls walk. This walking platform perches serenely on the side of Mt Owen and is particularly spectacular at sunset after a rainy day or two. The water that powers down the waterfall is a site to behold and it’s great to see it from a distance – particularly if you took the Waterfall mountain bike trail down the mountain this morning!

6:00pm | Dinner @ The Empire

Time for some local pub fare! The Empire Hotel serves a great pub meal and even has a stairway with a story. Once you’ve secured a table, have a wander around and take a moment to appreciate that this was once a thriving mining community of the 19th and 20th centuries, with the gems and stories to prove it.


8:00am | Breakfast @ Broken Halo and a mountain biking adventure for the ages

Kick off this morning with a fresh breakfast croissant from Broken Halo and a killer coffee (or two) before grabbing a bike and heading for the hills.

Whether you bough your own gear, or you’re renting from Moonscape MTB, jump onboard a RoamWild shuttle and head up Mt Owen, which towers over Queenstown. The trails are rocky and wild, so make sure you have some experience, or try some of our green trails around the foothills. If you’re taking on some of the blue or black trails, be sure to take a moment to stop and take in that view safely before continuing down the mountain.

12:00pm | Lunch & The Confluence Walk

Fuel the body at any of the local cafes before either heading back up Mt Owen for another run, or take on something a smidge softer and head out to do The Confluence Walk. Identified only by the corrugated iron cut out of a miner on the side of the road just outside Queenstown, this hidden gem is a 20-30 minute walk through the rainforest. Meander through the endemic tree species, spotting local bird life and colourful fungi, until you find The Confluence, the place where the Queen River meets the King.

The Queen River was once heavily impacted by mining activity and ongoing water leaching from deforestation during the mining heyday continues to stain it a rusty colour. As it meets the fresh tannin-stained waters of the King River, it serves as a visual reminder of our past, the resilience of nature and our role in ensuring the environment can not just survive, but slowly heal and then thrive in the future.

2:00pm | Art Tour of Queenstown

Head up the main street of Queenstown and seek out the murals around town to admire some of the local artistry. Be sure to stop into Soggy Brolly, Press West, Empire Artbox and QBank galleries and have a natter with a local artist or two. Queenstown is the home of the Unconformity Arts Festival and has a distinct culture of artists and artisans, you’ll be surprised who you might meet!

On the way back down to the station, pop into Moonscape Wine Bar and enjoy a Tassie gin or glass of Pinot.

4:00pm | The Paragon Theatre

Heading back into the centre of town, take some weight off and pull up a sofa at The Paragon Theatre. Built in 1933, this fabulous art deco building was once Queenstown’s home to ‘the talkies’. Today, you can take a self-guided tour, or just sit back and relax on a sofa and order a drink from the bar.

At 5:00pm, watch the 90-minute documentary, Franklin, the story of a young Oliver Cassidy re-tracing his father’s footsteps on a rafting trip down the Franklin River. The documentary is a powerful story of a young man reconnecting to his late father, who was instrumental in the fight to protect the local environment from damming. The 8-year long protest became known as the ‘Franklin Campaign’ and remains an example of the power of non-violent protest action to bring about lasting change.


9:30am | Breakfast and RoamWild tour

After a leisurely breakfast, it’s time to head underground with RoamWild! This locally owned tour company offers daily departures of their Lost Mines-Ancient Pines tour, which takes adventurous visitors into one of the original mines of the region with knowledgeable guides. You will also get a chance to admire above the ground, visiting various rainforest sites and getting to know and smell the endemic flora.

Alternatively, if you caught last night’s Franklin documentary and want to explore and learn more, book an exclusive RoamWild 4x4 tour on the NO DAMS wilderness experience. Experience this incredible wilderness and learn more about the fight to save it in the 1970s and 1980s. Local guide, Anthony, has a unique experience with this region and his ability to relate our history and environment are second to none.

After your tour, head off in the knowledge that you’ve delved under the skin of Tassie’s very own Queenstown.

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