Wish we could stay at Cradle Mountain area a bit longer, but snow had melted, all winter beauty had disappeared and it was time to go further.
Our next destination point was Strahan were we booked the Gordon River cruise for the next day. As we had heaps of time, we went a little bit further, to Queenstown and then to the Nelson Falls, and back to Strahan on the same day.
Queenstown (-42.077796, 145.556630) is a town with a history of continuous mining dating back over a century. This mountainous area was first explored in 1862. It was long after that when alluvial gold was discovered at Mount Lyell, prompting the formation of the Mount Lyell Gold Mining Company in 1881. In 1892, the mine began searching for copper. The final name of the Mount Lyell company was the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company. The mining operation at the original Mount Lyell mine continues, with Copper Mines of Tasmania operating between 1995 and 1999 independently, after which it became part of an Indian company group - and its concentrates are shipped to India for processing.
The ravages of early mining took their toll on the surrounding hillsides leaving them devoid of vegetation and Queenstown became well known for its "moonscape". The early copper mining led to trees being chopped down to feed the smelter. The sulphur laden fumes killed off the remaining vegetation, with heavy rain removing the vulnerable topsoil, destroying any chance of natural regrowth. Work has been undertaken over the last two decades to reforest the bare hills and improve the quality of the nearby rivers where mine tailings were dumped for decades.
The copper stained slopes are best viewed from the Spion Kopf lookout (-42.079050, 145.564478), uphill off Hunter Street. The 20 minutes return walk is steep in places, but mainly is an easy walk.
The view from the road to Lake Burbury:
Queenstown is the terminus of the West Coast Wilderness Railway, which travels southwards alongside the Queen River, and then along the northern slopes of the King River to the port of Strahan in Macquarie Harbour. It is said that this trip is worth to travel, but we hadn’t had additional day to check it.
After a stop to stretch legs in Queenstown, we went further, to Nelson Falls (-42.104033, 145.736316). The falls are located not far away from Queenstown and can be reached after a very easy walk.
The falls are amazing and definitely worth to visit!
We still had more time to explore the area, so we went to one of the Lake Burbury lookouts towards Mount Jukes (-42.157375, 145.532790).
Lake Burbury was formed on the King River in the early 1990's as part of Tasmania's Hydro Electricity Network. It has been well stocked with trout and is now one of the best fishing spots about.
The view from one of the lookouts to the surrounding area:
The lake itself is beautiful and we really enjoyed with the views.
Later on we went back to Strahan to do Gordon River Cruise the next day.