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Queenstown is an an old mining town that has been recognised by the National Trust as a historic town. It is about a 3 1/2-hour drive from Hobart on the Lyell Highway.

Mining began here in the late 1800s, first with gold and later copper. It remains an important industry and the main employer. In 2005-06, Copper Mines of Tasmania produced 2.6 million tonnes of copper concentrate. Tourism is a growing industry.

Queenstown is also the home of the ABT Tourist Railway, which runs to Strahan and draws larger numbers of tourists each year. The original railway, used to transport ore from the mines to the port at Strahan, closed in the 1960s. It was restored and reopened in the early '90s.

Queenstown is an interesting town, nestled in the Queen River valley. Summers can be hot and can reach 30+ degrees, although it is not uncommon to have snow on Mt Owen into December. Winters are cool and wet, with snow falling regulary on the peaks around the town. It is not uncommon for the roads into Queenstown to be blocked and the town cut off for short periods during the winter. The best time to visit is between December and April.

Many of the early buildings remain and a stroll around town is a must if you want a sense of what the town was like during the mining booms of the past.

The drive in to Queenstown over Gormanston Hill is a startling introduction to the town. The barren landscape was brought about by years of destruction and pollution. Trees were logged to fuel the furnaces in the early years, large amounts of sulfur from the smelting process polluted the soils, killing much of the ground vegetation. Heavy rain washed away most of the topsoil. A fire that destroyed much of the original settlement took care of any remaining remnants of forest. If for no other reason, visitors to Tasmania should see this destruction to remind us of just what man is capable of, and not allow it to happen elsewhere.

Queenstown is a great stopover when visiting the West Coast, with many West Coast attractions only a short drive away. Strahan is just over 40km, Zeehan about 30km, Cradle Mountain and Lake St Clair just under 100km. The Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park is also nearby. The trout fishing at man-made Lake Burbury is world class.


Evans Old Corner Store & Market - restored 19th-century building, with monthly markets.

Spion Kopf Lookout - views over the town.

The Gallery Museum - corner Driffield Street and Sticht Street. Tel: +61-3-6471-1483. Displays and information on Queenstown and surrounding areas, including photographic and minerals collections plus local memorabilia. Housed in the original Imperial Hotel, built in 1897.


  • Bradshaw's Sawmill, Lynchford Road, Tel: +61-3-6471-1688. Visit a working sawmill. Exotic Huon pine, blackwood and aassafras timber.
  • Donaghy's Hill, located on the Lyell Highway about 40 minutes east from Queenstown, on the road back to Hobart. Easy walk to the top on a well-maintained track. Beautiful views of the Franklin River Valley.
  • Douggie's Mine Tours, corner of Driffield Street & Orr Street, Tel: +61-3-6471-1472. Visit a working underground copper mine. Travel 7 kilometers down the 'Main Decline' in a 4WD station wagon. One of only two such tours worldwide.
  • Lake Burbury, trout fishing just outside town.
  • Nelson River Falls, located near the Lyell Highway about 20 minutes east of Queenstown. A nice walking track through a rainforest.
All List of Queenstown Hotels


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