Tasmania’s western wilderness is famed for its natural attractions – mountains, wild rivers and epic hiking trails. But the region is also rich in cultural heritage, particularly that related to the history of mining and exploration dating back to the later part of the nineteenth and early to mid-twentieth centuries.
You may have heard the news that the West Coast Wilderness Railway will pause operation around the middle of the year for several months so that essential maintenance work can be undertaken. While the railway is one of the major visitor attractions in the region, this is no reason not to visit. From a comfortable base in Queenstown (the major town and service centre on Tasmania’s west coast), it is possible to explore the region’s heritage through a range of activities.
Enjoy short walks exploring nature and mining heritage such as Nelson Falls, Horsetail Falls and the Spray Tunnel. For a longer walk, try the Kelly Basin track to explore an area that was once home to over 1000 people, but now only offers faint glimpses of human settlement.
As ever, if you plan to go walking in Tasmania’s wilderness, do some research on where you’re going, be adequately prepared and let someone know where you are heading and when they should expect you back. And follow any other advice relevant to the specific area you are visiting.
Enjoy a cruise on the Gordan River with a stop at Sarah Island to discover our convict-era history. Two cruise companies operate from Strahan.
The Ship that Never Was, Australia’s longest running play, tells the dramatic and hilarious true story about the last Great Escape from Sarah Island.
The Galley Museum in Queenstown is housed in the 1897 Imperial Hotel, and offers a unique collection telling stories of West Coast survival, endurance, and sacrifice, as well as providing a very personal record of the people themselves and their daily lives.
The museum is managed by dedicated volunteers and features 30 rooms of historical items including personal effects, documents, cameras, theatre projectors, household items, gems and minerals, military, emergency services, and mining artifacts depicting the varied aspects of West Coast heritage.
The West Coast Heritage Centre in Zeehan tells the stories of the history and development of the West Coast and its rich pioneering past through comprehensive displays of photographs, mining memorabilia and machinery.Included in your entry is access to the historic Gaiety Theatre. Built in 1898, the Gaiety Theatre was considered one of the grandest buildings on the West Coast and one of the best theatres in Australia.
The museum’s attractions include the historic collection of the original Zeehan School of Mines and Metallurgy (unique in the world), photographic galleries dedicated to all the West Coast towns, classic locomotives, mining machinery displays, a blacksmith and wheelwright shop, marine display, a world-class mineral collection, freemasons display and a pioneer women’s gallery.
MORE TO SEE…
This brief listing barely scratches the surface of what is available. We are more than happy to share our knowledge of things to do in the area and to help you plan and enjoy the perfect stay – please give us a call to enquire about accommodation and what to do in the area.
Contact us to discover more via the numbers at the top of the page.