The first reaction to Queenstown as you approach it by road from Hobart is generally one of shock - what comes into view is like a nuclear landscape, the hillsides of its famous Mt. Lyell bare and carved into geometrical forms as a result of copper mining.

These days Queenstown is experiencing a revival. Whilst many of the surrounding hills are still bare, the vegetation of the town itself is quite pretty with a friendly atmosphere with a certain kind of charm that, combined with its unique setting, makes it a refreshing stopping point for the traveller.

Where Is it?

Strahan is 44km from Queenstown and 298 km west of Hobart via Lyell Highway.

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Mountain Walks

Donaghys Hill Walk

There are numerous great walks of varying lengths that allow access to the surrounding countryside, this is just one of them. The Donaghys Hill Walk has views to the Collingwood River, Franklin River Valley and Frenchmans Cap, which is one of the highest peaks in the area. The Bird River walk takes you deep into West Coast Wilderness rainforest, winding past streams and tree ferns. The walking track leads to the old port of Pillinger. The Franklin River walk begins 62km from Queenstown and provides access to the Franklin River via a level, well maintained path.

Frenchmans Cap

Frenchmans Cap offers a challenging walk to the summit (1,446 metres), and is exposed to harsh weather conditions at any time of the year. Access to the summit should not be attempted in adverse weather. The well marked track leading to the summit is considerably more arduous than many other Tasmanian walks, including the Overland Track. The walk to the peak typically takes two days. The first day of about 16 km will bring walkers to Lake Vera Hut. This part of the walk includes two steep and prolonged ascents separated by the boggy Loddon Plains. The so-called Sodden Loddons are almost always muddy and crossing them may take two hours or more. In wet weather the mud can be waist high. In summer it is only knee high. Water is plentiful (and drinkable) in all seasons. Walk time from Lyell Highway to Lake Vera is between six and eight hours.

Surrounding Area

Montezuma Falls

At 105 metres, Montezuma Falls is Tasmania's highest falls. To access the falls, follow the Montezuma Falls Trail traversing lush rainforest with leatherwood, myrtle and sassafras. This trail follows the former North East Dundas Tramway which ran from Zeehan to Williamsford, once a busy mining town but now slowly being reclaimed by the bush.


High on the slopes of Mount Owen, above the town of Queenstown is the remnants of the mining town of Gormanston. It was built as a mining company town in 1881. Normanston was at its peak in 1901, when it had a population of 1,760 and had a local government authority based in its town. Today there are only a handful of families still living in this historic mining town.

Kutikina Cave

The Kutikina Cave (formerly Fraser Cave) was discovered 30 years ago by Dr Kevin Kiernan. Until 1977 it had been assumed by most that the interior of southwest Tasmania was so rugged that Aborigines had not occupied it either at the time of European settlement or during the last Ice Age. But the Aborigines lived in the Kuti Kina 15-20,000 years ago and the limestone cave is a bank-vault of treasure.

Kutikina (Fraser) is one of the richest archaeoelogical sites ever found, not only in Tasmania but in Australia as a whole. A quarter of a million bone fragments together with 75,000 stone tools were found in the excavation area and are thought to represent only 1% of the artefact bearing deposit at this site.

Lake Burbury

On the way in from Hobart, you'll pass Lake Burbury, created in the early 1990s as part of Tasmania's Hydro Electric scheme. Lake Burbury is one of Tasmania's best trout fishing spots. The view of the lake from the top of Mt Owen is breathtaking.

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