Encounter Tasmania’s World Heritage Wilderness, ride a steam train through the rainforest and explore early 19th-century mining history deep underground.
Discover the Wild West atmosphere of Queenstown, a former mining boomtown. Tour historic mines and the Lake Margaret hydropower station built between 1912 and 1914. Explore the nearby Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and return for a drink at the town’s grand turn-of-the-century Empire Hotel.
The drive into Queenstown is unforgettable, a scenic route with 99 bends zigzagging around barren hills, previously logged for timber. See the mining and logging industries’ legacy in the rocky moonscapes. Queenstown’s heritage streetscapes include rustic miners’ cottages and a historic bank, post office and bakery.
Visit the Galley Museum, housed in a 1897 hotel, to learn about the area’s history through photographs, gemstones and memorabilia. The Empire Hotel has a staircase of Tasmanian blackwood. Enjoy dinner in its grand dining room and a drink by an open fire.
Steam locomotives on the West Coast Wilderness Railway depart from near the Empire Hotel. These historic trains provide an unforgettable journey up steep rainforested slopes and over the King River Gorge to Strahan.
Brave the depths on a subterranean mine tour that travels 6 kilometres (4 miles) underground. Descend through a copper mine to see the heritage Mt. Lyell Mine, worked from 1896. Tour the original hydroelectricity station built to power the mine, including the unusual water pipeline made from wood. Walk around the small village built here to house the workers.
Just outside Queenstown is the edge of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, a reserve of remnant forest, pristine habitats and wildlife. Hike snowy alpine trails, flowering heaths or rugged ridgelines. Go fishing or kayaking on one of the many lakes or traverse cave systems. Wallabies, tiny marsupial rats, quolls and rare parrots are among the diverse wildlife you may encounter.
View sunsets over the mountains before resting by the fire at a local restaurant or bar. Queenstown is a 3.5-hour drive from Hobart or Launceston.