It’s been more than two months since we went west to Queenstown, and we’re STILL talking about the experiences we enjoyed. Today, we reflect on a visit to the Empire Hotel for dinner.

Empire Hotel - West Coast Tasmania
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The Empire Hotel, dubbed “the grand old lady of the West Coast”

Queenstown Tasmania: The Empire Hotel

We unpacked our bags at Mt Lyell Anchorage as soon as we arrived in Queenstown. It had been a very early start from Hobart, hence a long day with lots of attractions to explore en route. We briefly toyed with the idea of a bottle of cider for dinner, accompanied by a luxurious soak in our ensuite’s deep bath.

Eventually, sense prevailed and we ventured out for a bite to eat. The Empire Hotel was only just around the corner from our bed and breakfast. Besides, we needed to refuel in readiness for the following day; another big one with a trio of Queenstown Heritage Tours lined up.

Empire Hotel - Motorbikes
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Motorbikes outside the Empire Hotel in Queenstown

So, the meals at the Empire Hotel… let’s just say there’s no leaving that place hungry! Gavin chose a steak, and wasn’t disappointed with his decision. It was cooked medium-rare to order and served with a vegetable “stack” that could’ve easily been coined a “mountain”. We’d eaten huge burgers at The Hungry Wombat in Derwent Bridge for lunch, so I decided a salad was in order for dinner. I couldn’t believe my eyes when it was delivered to the table. A light salad it was not. The plate was piled with enough crunchy vegetables to satisfy a whole family, with copious amounts of chicken all topped with a very tasty dressing. We’ll better prepare our appetites for our next jaunt to Queenstown.

Empire Hotel - Steak & Vegetables
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Well-cooked steak with a vegetable stack

Empire Hotel - Chicken Salad
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How about that for a chicken salad?

Dining in Queenstown

Joy Chappell, our Queenstown FAMIL host, gave us a list of restaurants and dining rooms she’d recommend. On that list was the Empire Hotel, but to be honest, we could’ve eaten at any number of places. We chose “the grand old lady of the West Coast” – as it’s touted online – because we wanted to see the famous staircase!

Empire Hotel - Queenstown Tasmania
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The main entrance to the Empire Hotel, Queenstown

Empire Hotel - Staircase
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Inside the main entrance, the staircase of the Empire Hotel

The National Trust-listed staircase was made from Tasmanian Blackwood; but not here in Tasmania. The raw timber was chosen and shipped back to England. It was then carved and returned to Queenstown where it has been much-admired ever since.

The Empire Hotel (circa 1901) could well be considered a Tasmanian icon. It reflects the history of the west coast, which includes a wealthy era of mining from the turn of the century. It certainly does have a prominent facade in the main street of Queenstown, and must be one of the most photographed buildings in the region.

Empire Hotel - National Trust Staircase
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National Trust staircase, carved in England then sent back to Queenstown

Empire Hotel - Tasmanian Blackwood Staircase
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Grand staircase made from Tasmanian Blackwood

Salad, Sunset and a Staircase!

We timed our exit from the Empire Hotel to perfection. Thinking we’d quickly snap a few more photos ourselves as the sun was setting, we instead just gazed in awe. Mt Owen was framed by the fretwork of the verandah; it was such an unexpected and pretty sight, and a wonderful end to our evening.

Empire Hotel - Orr Street, Queenstown
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Looking from the Empire Hotel along Orr Street, Queenstown

You’ll find the Empire Hotel at 2 Orr Street, Queenstown, directly opposite the West Coast Wilderness Railway station. For more information phone (03) 6471 1699 or visit the Empire Hotel website.

Empire Hotel - West Coast Wilderness Railway
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The Empire Hotel from the West Coast Wilderness Railway yard

During our Queenstown FAMIL, Think Tasmania was a guest of…

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Map: Empire Hotel, Queenstown Tasmania…

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