The best things to see, do and eat on the West Coast of Tasmania

Gordon River Cruises

Nicola Dowse

Posted May 30, 2023

Tasmania’s wild and wonderful West Coast is one of Australia’s most underappreciated travel destinations. Here’s your guide to the best things to see and do. 

The world has well and truly woken up to the beauty of Tasmania, with domestic and international tourists flocking to the Apple Isle to visit attractions like MONA, Bruny Island, Cataract Gorge and Wineglass Bay

While the delights of the state’s east coast are well-known, Tasmania’s west coast has remained relatively underappreciated – until recently. 

"The West Coast of Tassie is unlike anywhere else in the world,” says Skye Thompson-James, Growth and Change Team Leader at West Coast Council. She notes the region is well worth visiting for its World Heritage Wilderness areas, adventure activities, arts scene and bars, with the west offering far more freedom and wide-open spaces than in the east. 

Thompson-James says the West Coast of Tasmania can be reached either by driving four hours northwest from Hobart or 3.5 hours southwest from Launceston, with SIXT car hire in both cities offering discounted daily rates to RACV Members.  
She also recommends allowing at least five to seven days for your holiday, factoring in stops along the way such as Cradle Mountain and The Wall in Derwent Bridge..

Before or after your West Coast Adventure take the time to check out the highlights of Tasmania’s eclectic capital, Hobart, and relax at RACV Hobart Hotel where RACV Members receive discounted rates. 

A person standing at the entrance to the Spray Tunnel which is dark but lit by glow worms

The Spray Tunnel is an abandoned railway tunnel now home to a colony of glow worms. Photo: Jess Bonde / Tourism Tasmania.

Things to see on Tasmania’s West Coast

Spray Tunnel, Zeehan 

The keyhole-shaped Spray Tunnel makes for a magical walk. Beware the tunnel is dark inside, which makes it all the easier to marvel at the resident glow worms. The 6km walk takes about an hour to complete and can be found by following Fowler Street, Zeehan, out past the golf club. 

Iron Blow Lookout, Gormanston 

Iron Blow Lookout is the site of an old open-cut copper mine that opened in the late 1800s and was overworked to the point of ravaging the surrounding environment. The result is a copper-stained moonscape that is a strangely beautiful but poignant reminder of the human impact on nature. 

Ocean Beach, Strahan 

Welcome to Tasmania’s longest beach and the last stop between the island and South America (over 10,000km away). Located outside of Strahan, the 40km-long beach is great for walking at sunset. Access is via an unsealed road. 

Montezuma Falls, Rosebery 

Montezuma Falls is Tasmania’s largest single-drop waterfall, clocking in at 104 metres. The falls are close to Rosebery and are accessed via a 8km round-trip hike along a well-formed, signposted track. Other waterfalls worth visiting in the West include Nelson Falls, Stitt Falls and Hogarth Falls. 

The Confluence, Queenstown 

The Confluence is another cautionary, yet otherworldly, example of human impact on nature. The site is the location of where the deep green waters of the King River meet the polluted, orange-stained waters of the Queen River – the legacy of roughly a century of copper mining. 


The Confluence, the meeting of the King and Queen rivers on Tasmania's west coast

A hike to The Confluence reveals Tasmania's contrast between industry and nature. Photo: We Are Explorers.

What to do on Tasmania’s West Coast

Gordon River Cruise, Strahan 

Venture deep into the heart of Tasmania’s pristine wilderness on a Gordon River Cruise. The purpose-built Spirit of the Wild vessel offers six-hour cruises departing daily from Strahan and includes walking tours of both Heritage Landing and Sarah Island. You won’t go hungry either, with a chef-prepared buffet lunch provided. 

West Coast Wilderness Railway, Strahan and Queenstown 

Hop aboard a beautifully restored heritage train with West Coast Wilderness Railway. The company conducts rail tours between Strahan and Queenstown that travel through 35km of ancient, cool-temperate rainforest. Keep in mind the track does close periodically during the off-season for maintenance, though some stationary experiences such as Christmas in July and Tour and Taste still run during this time – visit the website for availability. 

Henty Dunes, Strahan  

When you think of Tasmania, you probably don’t think of giant sand dunes. But the Henty Dunes are a spectacular natural attraction near Strahan that have been created by the notorious Roaring 40s winds that whip the coast. You can climb the 30-metre-tall dunes as well as surf down the dunes on a sandboard (available for hire from stores in Strahan).

King River Rafting, Queenstown 

If river cruising is too tame for you, try river rafting. King River Rafting offers full-day white water rafting experiences which are as exhilarating as they are scenic. Rapids are graded up to level three with the experience open to reasonably fit individuals aged 11 and over. The company also runs calmer flat water kayaking tours through King River Gorge.

Queenstown Community Market, Queenstown 

The Queenstown Community Market has been a regular fixture on Tassie’s West Coast for almost 40 years, featuring artisan products from makers across the region and beyond. Held at the Queenstown Memorial Hall, the markets stock everything from homemade food, fresh local produce and plants, to handcrafted timber items, textiles, new and used books and bric-a-brac. The market runs from 11am to 1pm on the second Sunday of every month. 


King River Rafting on the West Coast of Tasmania

If rafting is too intense, King River Rafting also offers gentle kayaking tours. Photo: Tourism Australia.

Where to eat and drink on Tasmania’s West Coast 

Moonscape Wine Bar, Queenstown 

This Queenstown bar and beer garden is all about showcasing the best Tasmanian wines and beers. Tasmanian spirits are also on offer either neat or in cocktails, plus the space is family friendly.  

Risby Cove Restaurant, Strahan 

Enjoy waterfront dining and fresh produce at Risby Cove. The restaurant focuses on local ingredients wherever possible, including on its drinks list where Tassie beers, wines and spirits reign supreme. 

Rusty Iron Thai Restaurant, Wynyard and Queenstown

If you’re travelling to the West from Launceston, make a detour for Rusty Iron in Wynyard. This restaurant serves fresh, authentic Thai and Asian dishes like panang curry, tom yum soup, pad see ew and larb gai with friendly service to boot.  If you're driving up from Hobart, you can also visit the Rusty Iron in Queenstown.

Tracks Café, Queenstown 

Tracks serves breakfast through to dinner most nights of the week out of the old Queenstown train station that they share with the West Coast Wilderness Railway. The café-style fare goes toe-to-toe with Melbourne’s inner city coffee shops, with a mix of classic brunch dishes, noodles, pasta, burgers and vegan options available. 

The Coffee Shack, Strahan 

Don’t be fooled by this unassuming blue shed. The Coffee Shack is one of the West’s top locations for coffee as well as for generous homestyle muffins, cakes and slices. A rotating selection of light meals are also available for lunch, including curries, frittatas, soups, pastas and toasties.  

The Empire Hotel, Queenstown 

Dining at the Empire Hotel means dining amongst history, with the grand old hotel dating back to the turn of the 20th century (its staircase is even listed on the National Trust). Expect hearty pub fare with vegetarian and vegan options available.   

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