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On Walkabout In: Queenstown, Tasmania

Prior Posting: Tasmania’s Wilderness Highway

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As my wife and I drove across Tasmania’s Wilderness Highway we reached its western reaches where the highway ascends up the rugged peaks of the West Coast Range:

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Due to mining and forestry these mountains look very different for obvious reasons from other mountain ranges my wife and I saw in Tasmania:

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Highway A10 ascends up the side of this steep mountain range and into the heart of the mining operations.  The various mines that once operated on this range include include Barium, Copper, Gold, Pyrites, Silver, Zinc.  Some gold mines still operate in the West Coast Range to this day:

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Once the highway reached the crest of the range, my wife and I had a stunning view looking back towards the east and the twisting highway that we used to drive up into these mountains:

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All around us we were surrounded by the remains of old mining operations on the slopes of Mt. Lyell and Mt. Owen.  There is actually a few hardy souls that still live up here in these mountains in the small village of Gormanston:

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From Gormanston it is a short but steep down hill drive to the historic mining town of Queenstown:

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Queenstown is a small city with a population of 5,119, but this still makes it the largest city on Tasmania’s remote and sparsely populated West Coast.   The city has a stunning backdrop with the West Coast Range towering over the many historical Australian buildings that compose the town:

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However, all around the town is obvious evidence of the area’s mining activities, which only adds further historical charm to this city.  Here is the old Empire Hotel in the heart of downtown Queenstown:

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However, people don’t come to Queenstown now a days to look at old buildings, they come here to ride the West Coast Wilderness Railway:

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This railway was originally constructed back in 1897 to bring the minerals from the mines around Queenstown down to the port at Strahan.  Unfortunately we didn’t have time budgeted to ride this train, but would definitely like to do so on a return trip to Tasmania.  Instead we drove from Queenstown down to the small port city of Strahan where the rail line ends.

Next Posting: Strahan, Tasmania

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