As the Lyell Highway descends into Queenstown, you cannot fail to be impressed by the sheer jaw-dropping starkness of the scenery.
A denuded ‘moonscape’ of truncated hills and deep, eroded valleys testifies to the destructive legacy of commercial mining.
Queenstown is sited on the edge of a vast wilderness area, inland from the west coast port of Strahan. The town’s rich heritage, dramatic location and pioneering atmosphere, make it a great tourism destination.
The town presents you with a number of choices; extreme outdoor adventure, pleasant nature walks, lake and river boat cruises, a wilderness train ride or complete saturation in the intriguing pioneer history of the area.
A stroll through the very authentic pioneer village makes a good starting point, followed by a visit to the Eric Thomas Museum and the Miner’s Siding, with its bronze and wooden sculptures. This sets the scene for an underground mine tour, to view working machinery and friendly miners.
After that orientation, it is time for the big combos; the spectacular West Coast Wilderness Railway and the luxurious Gordon River Cruise. Nature reigns supreme here. Precipitous gorges, towering rainforest and plunging waterfalls make for a superlative sightseeing experience, enhanced by fine food and beverages.
Backpacker Sleepervans Tasmania AustraliaTo get even closer to nature, pull on your tramping boots and walk the wild moorlands of Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania’s best-known park. This is one of the most glaciated areas in Australia, dominated by Mt Ossa, at 1,617 metres, Tassie’s highest peak. The famous Overland Track is enjoyed by 9,000 walkers each year.
Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park to the south, offers more world-class adventure, including sensational rafting trips on the Franklin River, with packages to suit all levels of experience.
Queenstown offers a variety of good quality accommodation with a tourist park, camping ground, hotels, motels and cabins. The old Empire Hotel has budget rooms and there is a National Trust listed colonial B&B, on a hill over-looking the town.
Places to eat offer some variety too. A coffee shop at the railway station has a range of meals to enjoy on the platform, while you are train spotting. A colonial miner’s hotel has an atmospheric dining room serving hearty lunches and dinners and a cafe offers no less than 20 varieties of pizza.
Queenstown is the base for exploration of vast tracts of wild, untouched wilderness - a timeless land with huge appeal to outdoor lovers.