Tasmania – the Remote West

by Steven Chater from Trip Plan Australia. Check out Trip Plan’s free Itinerary Planner that will help you make the most of your next road trip through regional and outback Australia.

Heading south out of Corinna (Fatman Barge across the Pieman River permitting!) gives you two choices – direct south to Zeehan and then Queenstown, or a round trip via the mining towns of Tullah and Roseberry.

Soon after turning left towards Tullah you arrive at the Reece Dam, which provides spectacular views:

Road trip planner Australia - View from the Reece Dam wall

View from the Reece Dam wall

Besides the drive through wonderful rainforests, one of the benefits of heading over to Tullah is to be able to take in the beautiful Meredith Range area.

Road trip planner Australia - Looking north across the Meredith Range

Looking north across the Meredith Range

Road trip planner Australia - Meredith Range

Meredith Range

And if you arrive on the right day in Tullah, you can see the fabulous Wee Georgie Wood engine in operation, and take a ride on it for a kilometre or so into the rainforest.

Road trip planner Australia - Steam engine Wee Georgie Wood in Tullah

Steam engine Wee Georgie Wood

Operating on a narrow gauge 2ft rail, Wee Georgie Wood (along with a sister engine) was the only way in to Tullah up until the Murchison Hwy opened in 1962. This is truly a beautiful remote area.

Queenstown is also spectacular, but in a different way. Much bigger than Tullah and Roseberry, it is the home of Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company which mined the area for copper (predominantly), silver and gold from the early 1890’s until recent closure. There are plenty of interesting stories from across this period – check out the Galley Museum. We spent a couple of hours there looking at their extensive array of memorabilia from the bygone era. The video of the company’s history is excellent.

It all started at what is known as the Iron Blow, located up and over the rise between Mount Owen and Mount Lyell.

Road trip planner Australia - Lyell Hwy heading out of Queenstown

Lyell Hwy heading out of Queenstown

Road trip planner Australia - Stark hillside next to the Lyell Hwy looking over to Mt Owen

Stark hillside on the drive up the Lyell Hwy, looking over to Mt Owen

Road trip planner Australia - Iron Blow pit

Iron Blow pit

Road trip planner Australia - The hillside above Iron Blow

The hillside above Iron Blow

The stark hillsides are a result of a combination of tree removal for use in the smelters, smelter fumes across around 4 decades, heavy annual rainfall, and the erosion of the shallow topsoil back to the harder rock. However there is evidence already of nature reclaiming its domain.

Road trip planner Australia - View from Iron Blow lookout down the Linda Valley

View from Iron Blow lookout down the Linda Valley

Queenstown has a population of just under two thousand and an uncertain future now that the mining operations are on maintenance only. It certainly has a future though, as a centre for remote tourism – it’s a place like nowhere else.

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Road trip planner Australia - West Tasmania trip to discover the Tarkine, Styx Valley and take in the Hamilton Show

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