The mysterious West Coast has always been associated with rough country, wilderness and mining. In Tasmania’s early history, it also served as the location of an early convict settlement.
Travelling here from the east, you’ll notice that the west has a much cooler and wetter climate. Frequent low-pressure systems are to thank for that, causing heavy rain, snow and ice.
Strahan is the West Coast’s largest coastal town, situated on Macquarie Harbour. The smaller towns like Queenstown, Zeehan, Tullah and Rosebery are also rich in mining history, and near natural attractions like lakes, rivers and historic sites.
Stroll the charming Strahan Waterfront, with its quirky shops, theatre and vibrant artisans’ studios.
In mining town Zeehan, visit the West Coast Heritage Centre and uncover its rich pioneering past through photographs and mining memorabilia.
At Queenstown, take a tour of Lake Margaret, or explore some nearby mines such as the Jukes Pty underground mine.
If panoramic views are your thing, head to Donaghy’s Lookout − accessible from Lyell Highway. An easy three-kilomotre walk will take you to the sheltered lookout point. There, you’re treated to wow-worthy views of mountain ranges and the Franklin and Collingwood Rivers.
In Strahan, our top pick is the historic Franklin Manor. Built in 1896, it boasts a cosy guest lounge and fireplace, as well as well-appointed rooms.
Less than 10 minutes from central Strahan, hotel Risby Cove features great waterfront views. And for those with tighter budgets, the Strahan Retreat Holiday Park offers affordable accommodation and is a short distance from West Strahan swimming beach.
In Queenstown, opt for the Gold Rush Inn, located near the Historic Stream Railway. Another popular option is Penghana Bed and Breakfast, a well-reviewed property that’s 2 minutes by car to the Wilderness Railway and Heritage Tour departures.
At Strahan, View 42° Restaurant and Bar features superb views overlooking the village and harbour. During summer, the restaurant’s seasonal buffet will certainly tempt foodies with its fresh and flavourful seafood.
And at the Esplanade’s Hamer’s Bar & Bistro, savour a diverse range of hearty grub like steaks, chicken, pasta and daily seasonal specials.
When visiting Queenstown, Smelters Restaurant and the Empire Hotel’s in-house restaurant are your go-tos for contemporary Australian fare. The Empire Hotel’s selection of beer, wine and scotch is impressive as well.
For comfort food like pizza, Delish Pizza near the West Coast Wilderness Railway never disappoints.