Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Getting to Know Queenstown

Queenstown, the place I called home during 2017, is, to say the least, a very unique place. Late in the nineteenth century, mining saw this little place boom to life. In 1900, the population of the area was about 10,000. Today, it is between 1,000 and 2,000. When I first approached the town, from the western side, I thought someone had built a town inside a mine! There's a lot of unoccupied houses, and, unless you drive a couple of hours north to Burnie, the commercial side of things are quite limited. Definitely a weird first impression!

With all that said, I quickly fell in love with Queenstown. Being so remote and lush gives it a special charm. The residents are friendly, the shop-keepers helpful, and it has a top-notch library! So good, in fact, I ended up working there while writing my novels. A fantastic combination. Whether you're passing through, or staying long term, it is worth checking out the LINC in Tasmania. It's a floating library, and with a temporary membership, you can borrow audiobooks to enjoy on those winding drives.

The rich Australian Rules football culture is so intense their football field is gravel. Yep, Queenstown breeds them tough! There's a museum with all sorts of old-timey stuff, a couple of pubs to quench your thirst, and a nice cannon—with a story—sitting atop Spion Kopf Lookout.

Queenstown is also full of hidden gems. I think you'd need to live there for quite a while to know every nook and cranny. The mountains and caves of old mines hidden about the place can stir your inner explorer. You don't need to travel far from town to feel a world away.

A simple cruise along Cutten st will take you through the town and onto a gravel road that winds up into Mount Owen. Through here, you can search for old caves, or take a leisurely stroll along an old telegraph track.

Alternatively, once you take the turn into town (and go past the train station) just keep driving. You'll end up at an amazing lookout near some old caves. Go a little further, stunning views of islands pushing up out of the southern end of Lake Burbury. Go further again, and you'll find a walking track to the forgotten town of Pillinger!

If getting off the beaten track isn't quite your thing, on the eastern side of town a carpark is right beside the Iron Blow Lookout. Across the road, you can find a short board walk to observe the impressive Horsetail Falls.

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