Queenstown - Hidden Gem
A hidden gem in Tasmania's West Coast 'mining belt' is Queenstown, nestled in a valley alongside Mt Lyell and Mt Owen, and retaining a strong colonial heritage and backwoods historical charm.
The town was established during the late 19th century mining boom when gold was found in the surrounding mountains, leading to the formation of the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company, a company whose fortunes have been closely tied to the development and decline of the town's population ever since.
The facades on the broad main street are still strongly redolent of the high colonial period with the old Victorian hotels, the forbidding Post Office tower and the magisterial Paragon art deco theatre evoking a surpassed age of aspiration to grandeur and prosperity.
Being situated in a mountain valley, low clouds roll by straight off the mountainside and it's not surprising that Queenstown is one of the wettest locations in Tasmania with an annual average rainfall of 2408mm.
Just outside the town you can find yourself in an extraordinary alien landscape—a 'moonscape'—characterised by unusual pink and grey hues that emanate from the conglomerate rocks that comprise the mountainous region. In this environment, one can easily imagine being on another planet or on the set of a post-apocalyptic movie.
Beyond the mountains, there are also a number of abandoned decaying buildings along the side of the road that tell the story of the West Coast's depopulation, a story which is also embodied in the biennial event, The Unconformity. This event is dedicated to reimagining the fate of Western Tasmanian communities as mining and industry began to dwindle in the mid-20th century and celebrating the heritage and legacy of those communities as they have continued to adapt to their historical journey.
For more information on what to do, see on this website Queenstown