We spent our last two days in Tasmania driving from Hobart to Queenstown, spending one night in Queenstown and finishing our epic Tasmania road trip with a visit to Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clairs National Park. The west coast of Tasmania is so different from the east coast! The drive here is really interesting as you leave the dry agriculture land of the midlands and enter lush rainforests and mountains – as you drive through this region to the west coast, you can really see why this is known as the gateway to Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area.
We spent one night in Queenstown which is one of the main towns in the west coast and is famous for its rich mining history. Gold and copper was discovered here in the 1880s and driving into the town, after going through lush forests, really hits you as suddenly you come across bare hills and blown up mountain sides. To really get a sense of the mining heritage of this place, you must the Gallery Museum. Shahaar and I did this in the morning and came out all the wiser from everything we saw, enjoyed and learnt at the museum.
The museum is located inside the Old Imperial Hotel and has over 1000 photographs dated before 1940 along with several household, medical, working, social and home life during the early days in the west coast. We had a lot of fun exploring all the different rooms and Shahaar found all the ‘ancient’ dial up telephones and type writers quite fascinating 🙂
The West Coast WIlderness Railway was built in the 1800s and people had thought it could not be done as the terrain was so rugged and wild. Today you can hear the stories from guides on how this was done whilst at the same time enjoying majestic rainforests. The trains depart from Queenstown and Strahan. We visited the station which includes the booking office, cafe, as well as the Rail Museum. We didn’t get to do train ride but it was highly recommended – the spectacular scenery, the rich stories, the entire experience is supposed to be very unique and relaxing at the same time. Something for next time!
Queenstown Town Centre
Plenty of history and much to explore including Mining tours, historic buildings and abandoned shacks. Shahaar and I had a lovely walk along here after we were done with the museum.
We were lucky enough to do a few of these short walks along the east coast and were looking forward to doing some located just near Queenstown. In particular the ones accessible from here that were recommended to us included Nelson Falls, Kelly Basin, and Montezuma Falls – all had waterfalls, ancient rainforests and plenty of wildlife.
Besides experiencing the wilderness of the west coast via train, one can also do it through World Heritage Cruises along the Gordon River. Again this was recommended to us and we saw lots of good reviews on this.
Where to stay?
We stayed at the Gold Rush Motor Inn, located just a short walk away from the centre of town. Our room was clean and comfortable and had a double bed and two bunk beds. There is also a restaurant on site where you could dine in order for the room. The owners were helpful and gave us helpful advice on things to do around Queenstown. There were a few places to dine at nearby as well, but we just did a quick take away as it was raining heavily that evening.
We had a few factors limiting what we could do the short time we were here – Shama was quite unwell, burning up with fever throughout the night. Shahaar and I did all the town exploring on our own whilst Ashique stayed in the motel room with her.Also the weather was really bad most of the 24 hours we were there – raining all evening after we arrived, throughout the night and the next day was overcast. Thankfully it didn’t start raining till the afternoon so Shahaar and I were able to explore Queenstown a little bit.
We really wanted to do one of the nearby short walks before heading off towards Devonport, but weather did not permit. Instead we drove towards Cradle Mountain National Park which was on the way to the Devonport and that was really amazing. The West Coast again would be a good base to explore more of Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park and the surrounding wilderness areas. Part rainforests and part alpine heaths, it really is such an amazing wilderness part of the world. Below is just a glimpse of what we saw there in a few hours time – waterfalls, lakes, forests and plenty of wildlife!
We were delighted to be guests of Gold Rush Motor Inn and would like to thank Bernie for all the helpful suggestions on nearby attractions. As always, all opinions are 100% are own.
Linked to #MondayEscapes