Remote and pretty Queenstown on the West Coast Tasmania is on a serious comeback mission, number 64 on Australian Traveller’s ‘100 amazing places you haven’t been to yet‘. Nominated by: John Rooth, television presenter and 4WD expert.

For a long time, Queenstown, on Tasmania’s west coast, was a hard place to love: decades of pollution had killed off all the vegetation, leaving a barren lunaresque landscape that had, in its own strange way, a beguiling beauty.

But all that has changed, says John Rooth, who has spent the past 20 years seeking out the country’s wildest and most beautiful destinations for his 4WD adventure DVDs.

“This is the town that was ‘never going to grow back’ after the widespread mercury poisoning from gold mining 50 years ago, but it has,” Rooth explains.

“It’s got great pubs, wonderful people and is surrounded by some of the prettiest country on Earth. And the food, like most of Tassie, is as pure as the air and water itself.”

Getting to Queenstown is half the fun. Both roads in and out of the town are a series of exciting hairpin bends that wind down the mountainsides to the valley floor.

The West Coast Wilderness Railway ( to Strahan is even more exciting: it’s a restored steam train that trundles through the rainforest on some of the steepest tracks in the country.

Australian Traveller Issue 62

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