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.
- 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 west coast’s 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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