This full-day tour is perfect for anyone interested in local history. Blending the fascinating stories of the West Coast Wilderness Railway and the ambitious hydro-electric scheme at Lake Margaret, the Steam and Hydro tour reveals the tenacity and ingenuity of the west’s early pioneers and entrepreneurs who achieved amazing engineering feats in this remote and challenging environment.
Your experience begins at Queenstown Station, as you settle into your carriage for your four-hour Rack and Gorge steam train journey
You will travel through cool temperate rainforest and ascend steep wilderness mountains under the power of the revolutionary Abt rack and pinion system – technology that transformed the fortunes of the west coast during the late nineteenth century. You will stop at historic stations, traverse the King River Gorge, and see the places where early pioneers lived and worked to create this extraordinary railway.
Your guide will share stories of the determined and visionary people who carved out their fortunes here, and you will hear tales of scandals, extravagant railways, and two feuding Irishmen, whose rivalry and determination led to the creation of the richest copper mining company in the world.
On your return to Queenstown Station you will be met by your guides from RoamWild to begin your tour of the Lake Margaret Power Hydro Power Station. You will have exclusive access to the site during the afternoon as your guides share the story of this extraordinary place. Take an interpretive tour of the heritage village where hydro workers once lived, visit the powerhouse and learn the stories of the people who worked here in the photographic display room. You’ll also have the chance to view the lower weir and wood-stave pipeline, and enjoy afternoon tea at the Lake Margaret Power Station before returning to Queenstown Station at the conclusion of your tour.
Yes, advance bookings are essential for this tour.
Usually. On the rare occasions that our steam locomotives are not operable, heritage diesel locomotives will be used instead.
The West Coast Wilderness Railway is closed on Christmas Day and the Queen’s Birthday public holiday, but operates on other holidays.
Yes, we can accommodate vegetarians, vegans and other requirements, but please let us know your needs when you book so we can look after you.