Rug up and chill out on the West Coast this winter

July 16, 2019
You'll find a warm welcome, cosy accommodation and plenty to see and do during winter on Tasmania's wild West Coast,

Tasmania’s West Coast is famed for its high rainfall and rugged scenery, but there’s no reason not to visit the area in winter. Good roads service the area and major attractions operate year round. You will find some great deals on cosy accommodation and activities, so there's no better time than winter to rug up and chill out on the West Coast.

West Coast Wilderness Railway Winter Timetable

Throughout winter from 1 June - 15 September, we operate half-day tours departing at 10am departing from Strahan (River and Rainforest tour) or Queenstown (Rack and Gorge tour) on alternate days Monday-Saturday. All tours operate using our Wilderness Carriages, except during school holidays when our Heritage Carriage is also available.

West Coast Wilderness Railway winter timetable

Meet our heritage diesel locomotives

Many of our services between Strahan and Dubbil Barril will be operated by one of our 1953 diesel locomotives during winter. They were acquired specifically for this line and are every bit as integral to the heritage of the railway and the region as our steam locomotives.

The Drewry Diesel engines are part of the story of the Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company since their purchase in 1953. The Regatta Point to Dubbil Barril section of the line (travelled on the River & Rainforest journey) is where they were operated. When guests travel on the River & Rainforest, they will discover more of the story of these engines significant contribution to the company’s operations.

One of the West Coast Wilderness Railway's heritage Drewry Diesel locomotives

Accommodation Deals

During winter, numerous leading West Coast accommodation operators in both Strahan and Queenstown are working with us to offer brilliant package deals that include a tour aboard the West Coast Wilderness Railway. Contact the accommodation operator directly to book and for more information.

During winter, numerous leading West Coast accommodation operators in both Strahan and Queenstown are working with us to offer brilliant package deals that include a tour aboard the West Coast Wilderness Railway. Contact the accommodation operator directly to book and for more information.

Strahan Village Rail and Stay Package - one night’s accommodation for two plus two tickets on the West Coast Wilderness Railway from $298 (even less for RACT Members) - Contact 03 6471 4200

Marsden Court, Strahan 2 nights in a studio apartment and West Coast Wilderness Railway journey for 2 adults for only $439.00 - Contact 03 6471 7224

Strahan Beach Tourist Park - Stay 2 nights in a deluxe cabin and enjoy a West Coast Wilderness Railway journey for 2 adults in the wilderness carriage for only $350 (or travel during the school holidays in the heritage carriage for only $280) - Contact 0364717468

Goldrush Motel, Queenstown - 2 nights double accommodation including breakfast plus 2 seats in Wilderness carriage $440.00 - Contact (03) 6471 1005

Penghana, Queenstown - One night stay in Owen Suite (views over Queenstown, ) with a cooked breakfast in formal dining room with 2 rail tickets $190 per person, or two night stay $290 per person in Owen Suite with a complimentary bottle of wine and Tasmanian cheese platter and rail tickets - Contact 03 6471 2560

Driftwood Villas, Strahan - Contact operator for details (03) 6471 7618

The Empire Hotel, Queenstown - Contact operator for details (03) 6471 1699

Risby Cove, Strahan - Contact operator for details (03) 6471 7572

Please note that these package deals already incorporate substantial savings on the West Coast Wilderness Railway and cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount offers.

Winter getaway- three brilliant days on Tasmania’s West Coast

The picturesque town of Strahan on Macquarie Harbour

Take your time as you travel west

Allow up to five hours to travel to and from the West Coast from Hobart or Launceston or around four hours from the North West Coast cities of Devonport and Burnie.

Check the details which days our tours operate (see timetable above) and use this to decide the daily order of activities, and whether you would be best to overnight in Strahan, Queenstown or one of the other townships of the West Coast.

On your way to or from the West Coast, consider breaking your journey. From Hobart, pause at Tarraleah for coffee at Teez Café and visit the amazing Huon pine sculptures at The Wall in the Wilderness at Derwent Bridge. Weather permitting, consider a short walk, such as Lake St Clair, the Franklin River Nature Trail, Donaghys Lookout or Nelson Falls.

If approaching from the north, short walk options include Montezuma Falls near Rosebery or the Spray Tunnel Loop at Zeehan, or explore the West Coast Heritage Centre in Zeehan.

Ride the mountain rails

The West Coast Wilderness Railway offers a special Winter timetable

On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the half day Rack and Gorge tour departs Queenstown Station at 10am, returning 2pm. Travel in comfort over the Rinadeena Saddle and down the King River Gorge and deep into the rainforest to Dubbil Barril. Morning tea and a light lunch is included in this all Wilderness Carriage service.

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the half day River and Rainforest tour departs Strahan’s Regatta Point Station at 10am, returning 2pm. Travel along the shores of Macquarie Harbour, up the King River past historic sites, sample wild honey at Lower Landing and see the locomotive being turned for the return journey at Dubbil Barril.

Please note that the West Coast Wilderness Railway does not operate on Sundays during winter, and there is no service on Monday 10 June (Queens Birthday Long Weekend).

In the afternoon, consider allowing time for another adventure. RoamWild Tasmania offer explorations of the region’s industrial heritage. Tours last 2.5 hours and include a tour of the art deco Paragon Theatre in Queenstown.

Explore Strahan and the Gordon River

Cruise on Macquarie Harbour and the Gordon River to experience the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Both Gordon River Cruises and World Heritage Cruises operate on the Gordon River into the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. Along the way, step back in time on Sarah Island, the infamous penal settlement that was once the colony’s largest shipbuilding centre (8.30am-3.30pm approx). Cruises are available daily throughout Winter.

During the afternoon, depending on the weather, explore Strahan’s waterfront, take the short walk to Hogarth Falls, visit a gallery, drive out to Ocean Beach or relax in a café. For the more adventurous, consider exploring the nearby coast with Strahan ATV Adventures (check availability in advance), or call in at the Strahan Visitor Centre (03) 6472 6800 for more information on activities.

The Ship That Never Was – The Movie is a recording of the live professional theatre production that is performed nightly in Strahan for nine months of the year. The show tells the dramatic and hilarious true story of the Great Escape from Sarah Island. From June to August, there are no live performances; instead a movie version of the show plays at the Risby Cove Theatrette, Strahan, at 5.30pm daily. See here for details, and book in for dinner after the show.

The Nelson Falls are situated approximately 27 kilometres to the east of Queenstown via the Lyell Highway. The falls descend approximately 30 metres.

Enjoy Christmas in July aboard the West Coast Wilderness Railway

What better way to celebrate the season than to join us aboard the West Coast Wilderness Railway. During July all our tours take on a festive flavour as we break out the mince pies, enjoy mulled wine and let the elves loose to decorate our carriages.

Operating on all services throughout the month, our Christmas in July service features a four-hour train journey, departing at 10am and returning at 2pm. You will experience the fascinating history and dramatic wilderness scenery from the warmth and comfort of our festive Wilderness carriage with a balcony. Piping hot mulled wine, a festive themed morning tea, light lunch and continuous steaming hot tea and coffee throughout the journey is all included.

Tuesday / Thursday / Saturday – Rack & Gorge tour departs Queenstown Station at 10am featuring one of the steam locomotives which is original to the line.

Monday / Wednesday / Friday – River & Rainforest tour departs Regatta Point, Strahan at 10am featuring one of two 1953 heritage diesel engines which are original to the line.

Enjoy Christmas in July with plenty of festive treats aboard the West Coast Wilderness Railway

More details on local activities

West Coast Wilderness Railway www.wcwr.com.au

Gordon River Cruises www.gordonrivercruises.com.au

World Heritage Cruises https://worldheritagecruises.com.au

Strahan ATV Adventures www.strahanatvadventures.com.au

The Ship that Never Was – The Movie www.roundearth.com.au/ship.htm

Risby Cove http://risbycove.com.au/

RoamWild Tasmania Tours www.roamwild.com.au/

West Coast Heritage Centre http://wchczeehan.com.au

The Wall in the Wilderness http://thewalltasmania.com.au

Tarraleah Village www.tarraleah.com

West Coast Walks https://westcoasttas.com.au/listings/walks

Tasmania’s North West (Regional Tourism) http://tasmaniasnorthwest.com.au

Tasmania’s Western Wilderness https://westcoasttas.com.au/


Dress for cool weather (think layers) and make the most of the seasonal beauty of the region.

Allow a little extra time and be prepared to be flexible. It is rare for roads to be closed, but occasionally, winter snow and ice do mean that roads are closed for the safety of travellers. It's rarely for more than a few hours or perhaps overnight. 

Take your time on our winding mountain roads, not only for bends, but also ice and, of course, wildlife. It is often swerving to avoid an animal that can cause an accident, so slow down and be prepared to stop. 

If you are relying on your mobile phone, check available coverage with your service provider. Mobile coverage is limited in the area, due to both topography and the sparse population. 

If you are going off road, walking or hiking, take appropriate equipment, make preparations. Always tell someone where you are going, try not to hike alone, sign the national park log books and have an emergency kit with you. As well as the obvious map, compass and plenty of water, carry plenty of clothing layers and waterproofs.

Terms and Conditions

Special Discount Offer applies to adult and child tickets travelling between 1 June and 30 September 2019. Use offer code published on promotional channel to book by phone or online. Not available in conjunction with any other offer.





Cradle Mountain to Queenstown

110km | 1hr 30 mins

(Queenstown to Strahan 41km | 45 mins)

Devonport to Queenstown

181km | 2hrs 35 mins

(Queenstown to Strahan 41km | 45 mins)

Hobart to Queenstown

260km | 3hrs 40 mins

(Queenstown to Strahan 41km | 45 mins)

Launceston to Queenstown

296km | 3hrs 30 mins

(Queenstown to Strahan 41km | 45 mins)