Difference between revisions of "Queenstown (Tasmania)"
Revision as of 13:32, 10 July 2007
Queenstown is situated around 3 1/2 hours drive from Hobart on the Lyell highway, its an old mining town which has been recognised by the National Trust as a historic town.
Mining began here in the late 1800's firstly with gold and later copper and continues now with copper mines of tasmania, although tourism is a growing industry here, mining is still the main employer.
Queenstown is also the home of the ABT Tourist Railway which runs between here and Strahan and draws larger numbers of tourists each year, the original railway was used to transport ore from the mines to the port at Strahan, it closed in the 60's before being restored and reopened in the early 1990's
Queenstown itself is an interesting town, nestled in the Queen river valley. Summers can be hot and can reach 30+ degrees although it is not uncommon to have snow on Mt Owen into December, winters are cool and wet with snow falling regulary on the peaks around town, it is not uncommon for the roads into Queenstown to be blocked and the town completly isolated for short periods during the winter months. The best times to visit is between December and April.
There are many of the early building remaining and a stroll around town is a must if you want a sense of what the town was like during the mining booms of the past.
The drive in to Queenstown over Gormanston hill is a real eye opener for people visiting for the first time, a barren landscape brought about by many years of destruction and pollution has left its mark, the trees were logged to fuel the furnaces in the early years, large amounts of sulfur from the smelting process polluted the soils and killed of much of the ground vegetation and the large amounts of rainfall of the region washed away most of the topsoils, and finally a fire which also destroyed much of the original settlement took care of any remaining remnants of forest. If for no other reason everyone visiting tasmania should see this destruction from our past to remind us of just what man is capable of, and not allow it to happen elsewhere.
Queenstowns is a great stop over when visiting the West Coast with many of the attraction of the West Coast being only a short drive away, Strahan is only just over 40km, Zeehan is around 30km, Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair are both just under 100km, the trout fishing at Lake Burbury is world class. There is also the Franklin-Gordon Wild River National park which is right in the heart of Tasmania's World Heritage listed areas, all this make Queenstown unique to this country, and I can almost guarantee that there is nowhere else like it in Australia.
The drive from Hobart is a pleasant 3.5 hours which takes you through towns such as New Norfolk, Hamilton, Ouse and Derwent Bridge before winding its way through the Franklin River World Heritage area and onto the ghost towns of Linda and Gormanston, both of which were large communities during the early mining booms, of particular interest are the ruins of the Royal Hotel at Linda.
Once past Gormanston the road becomes a narrow and winding affair where all caution should be taken, but this is also where the spectacular views of the surrounding barren hills of Queenstown begin. Once over Gormanston hill there is a lookout on your left which takes in views of Queenstown and the Queen River Valley, its well worth a stop for photos. Once past the lookout you drive past the old slag heap and into Queenstown.
From Burnie it is a pleasant 2 hour drive along the A10 which takes you through the village of Tullah where you first get to see Mt Murchison as it looms up ahead of you, past Tullah you have a choice of direction, either along the A10 and on to Rosebery and over Mt Black or you can take the B28 around Lake Plimsoll where the views are simply spectacular taking in Cradle Mountain National Park and the Franklin River World Heritage area, both drives are on excellent road suffaces although a little winding in places. The Lake Plimsoll road is around 15km shorter than the A10 into Queenstown.
Please note that the 2 routes above are only a guide and that a number of routes into Queenstown can be taken from Launceston. Regardless of which route you take, depending on what time of year that you travel, weather and road conditions should be taken into account, the roads around Queenstown can be covered in ice and snow during winter months and right up to early December, please drive carefully and obey speed limits and caution signs
The West Coast Wilderness Railway  operates as a tourist attraction between Queenstown and Strahan, a distance of 34 km. The ordinary railway connection between Queenstown and the rest of Tasmania closed in 1960.
Strahan Airport - Although helicopter and fixed wing flights operate from here for charter flights into the south-west wilderness area, or over locations in western Tasmania, there are currently no regular passenger flights to Strahan from other airports in Tasmania. et
Evans Old Corner Store & Market - restored 19th century building, with monthly markets.
Spion Kopf Lookout - views over the town.
The Gallery Museum - Corner Driffield Street and Sticht Street. Tel: +61-3-6471-1483. Displays and information on Queenstown and surrounding areas, including photographic and minerals collections plus local memorabilia. Housed in the original Imperial Hotel, built in 1897.
WHERE TO STAY