We decided to go for a drive into Queenstown today to have a look at the town and the notorious road heading out. I have to admit we were quite surprised by Queenstown - not at all what we expected. there is one main street dominated by a mountain and it has a very tired feel about it - it is a mining town so maybe that was it. I remember Mt Isa in Qld having a very similar feel. We had a bit of a wander around and did discover a fabulous staircase in one of the hotels - a real work of art - especially given the era in which it was built. We then crossed the road to have a look at the railway station and to read up on the history here. There is a railway trip you can take from Strahan to Queenstown which we have heard is well worth doing but we had to give it a miss this time due to finances. Something to do if we make it back this way again.
We then drove and climbed up to a lookout which was pretty cool - gave great views over the town and the surrounding mountains. The mountains are very very sad as they are completely barren having been stripped firstly through the timber industry then the mining. A bit 'Mad Max' kind of environment. From the look out we could see the road leading up and out so we decieded we would go for a bit of a drive part way up to suss out whether the van could make it. It was very winding and steep but we thought it would be fine so have decided we will definitely go out this way. Back to the van and then off to the local fish and chip cafe to sample their seafood chowder. It was OK but not as good as Cicerello's in Mandurah.