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Western Wilds

Unearth stories of convict courage, boom-and-bust mining fortunes and ghost towns, and delve into World Heritage wilderness on Tasmania’s west coast.

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4 days on the West Coast

Convicts, ghosts and miners

Unearth stories of convict courage, boom-and-bust mining fortunes and ghost towns, and delve into World Heritage wilderness on Tasmania’s west coast.

Day 1 - Queenstown

Two people stand at the end of a long steel viewing platform, looking out over a the landscape.

Iron Blow Lookout, Gormanston / Ollie Khedun

  • Following the Lyell Highway toward Queenstown, stop for the easy 20-minute return walk to pretty Nelson Falls through mossy forest of sassafras, myrtle and ferns.
  • The road into Queenstown is full of twists and turns, so take it slowly. Before descending the spectacular 99 Bends into town, marvel at the Iron Blow Lookout and follow the mountainside boardwalk to Horsetail Falls.
  • Queenstown is home to many of the Western Wilds’ quirkiest attractions - check out the legendary gravel sports oval – and a range of historically fascinating and friendly places to stay, including  Mount Lyell Anchorage  and Penghana Bed and Breakfast.
  • History buffs will revel in the abundance of local stories. Take time to explore the Galley Museum and its eclectic collection of west-coast artefacts, tour the Art Deco Paragon Theatre, or join one of Roam Wild’s tours of historic Lake Margaret township and power station – it's a real-life ghost town.
  • Head to Tracks Cafe for breakfast or lunch, and the Empire Hotel’s traditional dining room for dinner.

Day 2 - Queenstown to Strahan

A refurbished turn of the century steam train travels along the edge of a valley within a temperate rainforest.

West Coast Wilderness Railway / Nick Osborne

  • From Queenstown, board the remarkable 35-kilometre West Coast Wilderness Railway steam train journey that snakes through the west's rugged wilderness to the coast at Strahan.
  • Fancy a day jam-packed with wilderness adventures? Combine a steam-rail journey with thrilling white-water rafting and peaceful river drifting with qualified guides at King River Rafting. Expect spectacular landscapes and sightings of wildlife and rare Huon and King Billy pines, some of which are more than 3000 years old.
  • Take the winding road to Strahan to finish the day’s exploration at harbourside accommodation, where options include boutique Salt Box Hideaways, self-contained Wheelhouse Apartments , and the centrally located Strahan Village.

Day 3 - Strahan

A red and white catamaran glides through the still, reflective waters of the Gordon River at a large bend.

World Heritage Cruises on the Gordon River / World Heritage Cruises

  • Start with a waterfront stroll along Strahan Esplanade, where interpretive signs tell stories of the convicts and pioneers who survived harsh conditions on the remote west coast.
  • Cruise across vast Macquarie Harbour to Hells Gates and into World Heritage-listed wilderness on the serene Gordon River with World Heritage Cruises or Gordon River Cruises.
  • Join the audience for a performance of The Ship That Never Was, an interactive, family-friendly theatre production based on the true story of a daring convict escape from notorious Sarah Island.
  • Overnight at Strahan.

Day 4 - Strahan to Zeehan

A woman in a bright yellow raincoat stands at the entrance to a long, dark tunnel in the middle of temperate rainforest.

Spray Tunnel / Ollie Khedun

  • Before leaving town, walk the 40-minute return track to Hogarth Falls, keeping an eye out for platypus in the creek.
  • Drive to the historical mining town of Zeehan. Nicknamed Silver City, it was once Tasmania's third largest town. Walk the Spray Tunnel, a 100-metre long abandoned train tunnel that once led to the Spray Silver Mine.
  • Spend a few hours exploring the West Coast Heritage Centre for a fascinating insight into the area’s industrial and social heritage. This seven-hectare site incorporates the restored Gaiety Theatre-Grand Hotel, once considered one of Australia’s best theatres.

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