Queenstown

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Queenstown is an an old mining town in Western Tasmania, that has been recognised by the National Trust as a historic town. It is about a 5 hour drive from Hobart on the Lyell Highway.

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Cities

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  • Museum Museum
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  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

Points of Interest in Queenstown

Evans Old Corner Store & Market - restored 19th-century building, with monthly markets.

Spion Kopf Lookout - an excellent location for views over the town, to the south, and the rare rock based football oval to the north.

The Galley Museum - cnr Driffield St and Sticht St. ☎ +61 3 6471-1483. Multiple displays and a lot of information on the history of Queenstown and district, with intriguing photographic displays. Also included are minerals collections and displays of artefacts from the days of the town as a major town of the area. Housed in the original Imperial Hotel, which was built in 1897.

Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park

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Popular events in Queenstown in the near future

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About Queenstown

Background

Mining began here in the late 1800s, first with gold and later copper. It remains an important industry and the main employer. In 2005-06, Copper Mines of Tasmania produced 2.6 million tonnes of copper concentrate. Tourism is a growing industry,

Queenstown is the base of the West Coast Wilderness Railway (an Abt - rack railway), which runs to Strahan and draws large numbers of tourists. The original railway, used to transport ore from the mines to the port at Regatta Point/Strahan, closed and was removed in the 1960s. It was restored and reopened in the early '90s. Services are suspended in winter 2013 for repairs.

Queenstown 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 in December. Winters are cool and wet, with snow falling regularly on the peaks on the West Coast Range that can be seen from the town. It is not uncommon for the roads into Queenstown to be blocked, and for the town cut off for short periods during the middle of winter. The best time to visit is between December and April.

Many of the early buildings remain and a stroll around town is a must if you want a sense of what the town was like during the height of the copper mining operations.

The drive in to Queenstown over Gormanston Hill is a startling introduction to the town. The barren landscape was brought about by the combination of tree removal for the smelters, and the subsequent years of pollution. Trees were logged to fuel the furnaces of the smelters in the early years. Then large amounts of sulphur from the smelting process polluted the soils, killing much of the ground vegetation. Heavy rainfall of the area washed away most of the topsoil. The combination of the effects of tree removal, heavy rains, smelter fumes and uncontrolled bushfires, are evident in the bare ground areas that are spread across the foothills of Mount Lyell and Mount Owen to this day.

Queenstown is a great stopover when visiting the West Coast, with many West Coast attractions only a short drive away. Queenstown has a good range of places to sleep, as well as very picturesque drives to the nearby attractions.

Strahan is just over 40km, Zeehan about 30 km, Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair just under 100 km. The Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park is also nearby. The trout fishing at man-made Lake Burbury is world class.

Activities

  • Bradshaw's Sawmill +61 3 6471-1688. Lynchford Road. Visit a working sawmill. Exotic Huon pine, blackwood and sassafras timber.
  • Donaghy's Hill, located on the Lyell Highway about 40 min east from Queenstown, on the road back to Hobart. Easy walk to the top on a well-maintained track. Beautiful views of the Franklin River Valley.
  • Douggie's Mine Tours +61-3-6471-1472. Corner of Driffield St and Orr St. Visit a working underground copper mine. Travel 7 km down the 'Main Decline' in a 4WD station wagon. One of only two such tours worldwide.
  • Lake Burbury, trout fishing is possible. The lake is next to the Lyell Highway east of Gormanston, the other side of the West Coast Range.
  • Nelson River Falls, located near the Lyell Highway about 20 minutes east of Queenstown. A nice walking track through a rainforest.

Food

Most of the better eating places are part of the hotels operations.

Drinks

  • Empire Hotel, 2 Orr St,  +61 3 6471-1699. Heritage building with National Trust-listed staircase. Dining room with open fireplace. Lounge bar, public bar and bottle shop. Gaming machines. Accommodation.

Shopping

Local souvenirs include Huon Pine and Copper mementos, as well as books and postcards of the old copper mine workings, and railway.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Queenstown (Tasmania) on Wikivoyage.

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