Queenstown is renowned for its incredible mining heritage. Gold and a world class copper deposit were first discovered here in the 1880’s. The Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company were formed in 1893 and mined the area for over 100 years. Copper Mines of Tasmania are now mining the Mount Lyell field. (An underground mine tour is a must).
Spend some time walking around our historic town, learn about our historic town, learn about our pioneers at the Galley Museum or photograph the century old buildings. Take a short walk to the top of Spoin Kopf lookout or a day walk to Kelly Basin. Watch the ever changing colours of the majestic mountains or go over the mountain to catch a trout.
Queenstown, the largest town on Tasmania’s west coast, essentially owes its existence to mining. Minerals and gold were discovered in the area in the 1880s and the town grew rapidly. Trees growing on the surrounding hills were cut down to fuel smelters and then the topsoil was washed away by the area's heavy rainfall, leaving the bare, coloured rocks and odd, lunar landscape we see today.
Today, Queenstown still has something of the air of a frontier town. It is a classified historic town, and there is a heritage walk that takes in the town's most significant historic buildings. The Galley Museum is housed in the Imperial Hotel, Queenstown's first brick-built hotel. It houses over 800 photographs portraying the development of the west coast.
The mine still functions and tours are available. There is a surface tour that takes about 1 hour, and an underground tour lasting about 3.5 hours. Bookings are advised in the summer months.
The old mining railway has been restored and reopened as the Wilderness Railway in 2001. It uses a rare third-rail-rack-and-pinion system invented by Swiss engineer, Dr Roman Abt in the 1880s to negotiate the steep grades. The train takes you alongside rivers, across 40 bridges and down the rugged and beautiful mountain range to Strahan.
Queenstown offers visitors a unique experience, mining, mountain and memorabilia.
The Iron Blow
On the Lyell Highway, at the top of Gormanston Hill, a sealed road will take you to the old open cut mine. It’s in this place where gold was first discovered in 1883. From this vantage point you’ll see the towns of Gormanston and Linda. Little remains of these once thriving communities. A fisherman’s paradise is down the valley at Lake Burbury, formed when the King River was dammed to generate electricity.
Mount Jukes and beyond
-Depart Queenstown via Colan Street.