There are two ways to experience a trip on Strahan’s West Coast Wilderness Railway.
You can travel in the standard heritage carriage or you can upgrade to the wilderness carriage. While there’s no difference in the commentary or the scenery there is one major difference – food!
Depending on the tour chosen that food can range from sweet and savoury snacks and fruit on short trips to a two course lunch on the full-day Queenstown Explorer Tour. All food is Tasmanian produced.
If our experience on The River and Rainforest half-day afternoon tour is typical then all the food offered is delicious!
We were welcomed on board with a complimentary glass of sparkling Tasmanian wine and then presented with a three tier ‘Tasmanian Tasting Tower’ full of sweet and savoury delights. Offerings included venison and local cheeses, chicken and cheese pie, smoked salmon and the very delicious chocolate fudge and lemon tart.
Throughout the trip our very attentive carriage attendant offered complimentary tea and coffee while alcoholic beverages were available for purchase. Passengers in the heritage carriage can purchase drinks together with a range of snacks.
An exclusive open balcony at the end of the carriage is another advantage of travelling `wilderness class’. This area proved particularly popular with the keen photographers in our group – especially at the beginning of the journey when the carriage was located at the back of the train. On the return leg of the trip the balcony was directly behind the train’s steam engine.
Judging by the padding, the seats in the wilderness carriage may also be a little more comfortable!
Despite three stops on the tour quite a bit of time is spent on the train, travelling from its base at Regatta Point to Dubbil Barril. The scenery along the way is spectacular thanks to great views of Macquarie Harbour, the King River and the rainforest.
An informative commentary explained the history of the area, the railway and those associated with its construction and the attractions we passed.
Two stops were made at Lower Landing- the first to allow for a stretch and toilet break (there are no toilets on the train) and the second to taste (and purchase) honey harvested from hives in the surrounding rainforest.
A longer stop was made at Dubbil Barril to allow for a short rainforest walk along a well-marked path. For serious train buffs the highlight of the journey also occurred here – watching the train’s engine being turned around by hand on a manual turntable.
The scenery and food were the highlights for my travelling companion and me. For this reason we concurred the extra $69 we paid to travel in the wilderness carriage was money well spent.
The Strahan’s West Coast Wilderness Railway offers a number tour options out of Queenstown and Strahan. For further information visit the company’s website
Visit travelswithjb.com.au-tasmania for more Tasmanian reviews.
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