All aboard for Tassie!

STEP BACK IN TIME AND GO FULL STEAM AHEAD ON A JOUR­NEY FULL OF HIS­TORY AND THRILLS WITH A VISIT TO STUN­NING Tas­ma­nia

Soap World - - STAR STYLE TRAVEL -

PORT ARTHUR

For his­tory buffs vis­it­ing the Ap­ple Isle, a rec­om­mended first stop is Port Arthur, which draws 330,000 vis­i­tors a year. A pri­vate tour by lo­cal guide Colin Knight opened our eyes to its of­ten grim past. Ad­mis­sion in­cludes a har­bour cruise and com­pli­men­tary group tour at Port Arthur, so plan to spend a day here. There are nightly ghost tours (364 days a year) to the Par­son­age house – just look out for ghosts! The Coal Mines

His­toric Site, with its ru­ins and un­der­ground cells, and the

Fe­male Fac­tory are also well worth a look. The Fe­male Fac­tory is in South Ho­bart and tells the story of the lives of con­vict women. Bush­walk­ing trails at the mines are a back-to­na­ture ex­pe­ri­ence – for free.

QUEEN­STOWN

The drive west was four hours through rolling hills, rain­forests and quaint vil­lages ahead of our ar­rival at the for­mer min­ing town of Queen­stown, which now has a thriv­ing art, cul­ture

and tourism scene. We stayed at handy Mt Lyell An­chor­age in a self-con­tained two-bed­room Waratah cot­tage. Re­cently named in the top 10 Tas­ma­nian ho­tels, Mt Lyell An­chor­age should be first on your list for ac­com­mo­da­tion in Queen­stown. Owner Joy Chap­pell and part­ner Anthony also own Roam Wild ad­ven­ture and min­ing

tours, and the Paragon The­atre, a ren­o­vated 1930s at­trac­tion.

Roam Wild has just added can­dle­light din­ing in a mine and an au­then­tic min­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. This is one of only three places in the world where you can prospect for your very own piece of cro­coite. The Paragon The­atre op­er­ates out­side the win­ter months as a cin­ema, restau­rant and event venue.

Af­ter a rest­ful sleep we set off on a big sur­prise for our boys: the Raft & Steam ex­pe­ri­ence.

King River Raft­ing is run by bub­bly hus­band-and-wife team Michele Cord­well-Steane and Paul Steane and was the high­light of our trip. On our half-day raft­ing ad­ven­ture we

took on grade-three rapids, and also rock-climbed and drank in the in­cred­i­ble views of the west coast wilder­ness, be­fore board­ing a steam train back to Queen­stown on the West Coast

Wilder­ness Rail­way. This Raft & Steam combo’s the only one of its type in the world.

Our raft­ing ex­pe­ri­ence on the King River was epic! It was cer­tainly a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort with eight peo­ple in our raft. The still­ness al­low­ing us to mar­vel at the beauty of the Tas­ma­nian wilder­ness was off­set by the rapids around ev­ery cor­ner to keep the adrenalin pump­ing! It was like some­thing out of an In­di­ana Jones movie!

Pad­dling into the Dub­bil Bar­ril train sta­tion, where Paul in­vited us to high-five our pad­dles, we were elated and wanted to come back and do it all again to­mor­row! A quick change back into our dry clothes and then it was all aboard the Her­itage car­riage to Queen­stown. Lunch was ac­com­pa­nied by Se­nior Stew­ard Tom Pavik re­gal­ing us about the lo­cal his­tory. The

won­der­ful the­atri­cal re-en­act­ment on board show­cas­ing the cor­po­rate min­ing ri­valry that ex­isted be­tween James Crotty, who dis­cov­ered the riches in the west, and Bowes Kelly was an ab­so­lute de­light!

The steam train fea­tures a unique rack-and-pin­ion sys­tem and boasts the steep­est grades of track any­where in the South­ern Hemi­sphere. It’s the per­fect way to ex­pe­ri­ence the cool tem­per­ate rain­forests and Huon Pines ex­clu­sive to Tas­ma­nia. Visit the mu­seum at Queen­stown sta­tion to learn more of the his­tory of the rail­way and the beau­ti­ful lo­co­mo­tives im­ported all the way from Glas­gow.

The rail­way was built was to bring cop­per from Queen­stown to Stra­han. Steam train driver Gra­ham Hind, for­mer head of Snowy Moun­tain Hy­dro and a foun­da­tion mem­ber of the Zig Zag rail­way in NSW’s Blue Moun­tains, was be­hind the wheel on the day. Rid­ing up front and watch­ing how the driver and fire­man work to­gether was fas­ci­nat­ing. No won­der the West Coast Wilder­ness Rail­way took out the 2017 Tas­ma­nian Tourism Award un­der the di­rec­tion of gen­eral man­ager Anthony Brown. Run­ning seven days a week from mid-Septem­ber un­til April, it’s ad­vis­able to book early for the sum­mer months. Such fun!

Visit the mu­seum at Queen­stown sta­tion

Take on the mighty King River! Ride the rapids on a raft!

The steam trains’s an ab­so­lute must

His­toric Port Arthur

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