Do you want to take an awesome wilderness tour in Tasmania? Listen up then. You cannot get a more authentic experience than the Lost Mines Ancient Pines option with Anthony Coulson of Queenstown Heritage Tours. It’s epic!
Tasmanian Timber and Lost Mines
You can find Tasmanian Special Timbers close to the hub of Queenstown, but not everyone will have access to the sawmill as we did via the Lost Mines Ancient Pines tour. We thoroughly enjoyed chatting with our host; so much chatting in fact, Anthony had to eventually drag us away to continue the drive south.
The magnificent raw timbers we saw will one day be crafted to make stunning pieces of furniture and various other goods. We heard of the passion and affinity designers have for their preferred Tasmanian species of wood. Visitors to the sawmill can purchase their own souvenirs too, so if you’re at all handy with a lathe this might be the place for you!
The journey into Mt Jukes Proprietary Mine was a bit of a “spooky” experience, not least of all thanks to mention of cave spiders. In the 1890s, mining pioneers forged the horizontal tunnel by hand, but it was abandoned as the viability of the business waned. As we walked, our lights reflected what appeared to be gold, silver and copper on the tunnel walls. Anthony cautioned… only fools would plan a return visit with a pick and shovel to make their fortune.
While potential wealth from mineral extraction may not warrant a return visit, the views over Tasmania’s west coast region and World Heritage-listed wilderness were priceless. Fittingly, Anthony’s tour commentary covers the famous Franklin River Dam blockades of the early 1980s.
Ancient Pines: Explore the Wilderness
We travelled in comfort in Anthony’s eight-seater 4WD, south of Queenstown to the old gold mining precinct of Lynchford. There, we were guided through the ancient pines (Huon and King Billy trees) and saw old mining relics. Ferns, mosses, lichens and fungi in the forest would make this an ideal location for keen photographers. Beautiful creeks with pure, tannin-coloured water flow through this stunning landscape too.
At the end of our four-hour trip into the wilderness, seeking out lost mines and ancient pines, we were treated to hot sassafras-flavoured billy tea made with fresh water from the Bird River. It was the perfect accompaniment to a gourmet picnic of fruit, cake, salmon dip, cheese and biscuits, and fantastic chocolate-coated raspberries. Divine!
Thankfully we had Anthony at the wheel on the way back to Queenstown; he expertly negotiated the wallabies, pademelons, spotted quolls and possums while we sat back and enjoyed the magnificent drive.
In the interests of honesty and fairness, I really feel I haven’t sufficiently explained everything we experienced during our time with Queenstown Heritage Tours. Anthony packs the maximum into each tour and just has so much knowledge to share about each and every component. We even had a preview of a new wildlife/nature venture in the planning stage, but that’s a closely-guarded secret for now. Stay tuned for new additions to the tour menu though; there will be more exciting choices introduced eventually.
Queenstown Tasmania Heritage Tours
The business-headquarters of Queenstown Heritage Tours are located at 24 Sticht Street. If you’re staying at the lovely Mt Lyell Anchorage Bed and Breakfast, head from your accommodation past the Miners Siding on Driffield Street towards the Lyell Highway (within view of the Empire Hotel and West Coast Wilderness Railway station).
The office of Queenstown Heritage Tours is identified by a bright orange sign on the Evans Building near the Galley Museum. It’s always best to book a Lost Mines Ancient Pines tour in advance because there’s every chance Anthony will already be conducting a Mt Lyell Underground Mine Tour or a Lake Margaret Power Station Hydro Tour when you arrive in Queenstown.
Our FAMIL visit to Queenstown and Tasmania’s west coast region was made possible by…
- Mt Lyell Anchorage Bed and Breakfast: 17 Cutten Street, Queenstown TAS 7467 ~ phone (03) 6471 1900
- Queenstown Heritage Tours: 24 Sticht Street, Queenstown, TAS 7467 ~ phone 0407 049 612
- West Coast Wilderness Railway: 1 Driffield Street, Queenstown, TAS 7467 ~ phone (03) 6471 0100
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