Tasmania’s West Coast Wilderness Railway has a raft of new activities on offer for their 2016 Spring/Summer schedule.
The heritage railway has again teamed up with King River Rafting Company to create the King River Gorge Raft & Steam, an exciting experience that provides the best of both worlds for adventure and steam enthusiasts alike.
The half-day journey starts from Queenstown with a guided rafting tour through exhilarating rapids down King River Gorge, which boasts spectacular rainforest scenery. The adrenaline-charged part of the itinerary ends as rafters emerge at Sailor Jack Creek and Rhododendron Pool allowing the nostalgia and tranquillity to begin at Dubbil Barril station as guests board the historic West Coast Wilderness Railway. From the comfort of a Heritage carriage, passengers will enjoy incredible views of the gorge they just rafted through as the train climbs the rack and pinion before it gently steams its way into Queenstown, a town rich in history.
The tour runs every Thursday from November 2016 to April 2017, 8.15am – 1.00pm. It costs $300 per adult and $200 per child (min age 10yo).
The second highlight on the summer schedule is the new Footplate Experience – a unique opportunity for steam train devotees to immerse themselves into the life of a locomotive driver or fireman. The activity is exclusively available for one participant per journey offering them the opportunity to spend half a day in the steam loco cabin helping the crew on the day’s journey.
The package starts with a safety briefing as our “driver for a day” receives a set of loaner overalls and a cap, mug and flask which they get to take home from the journey as a keepsake. They then get involved with moving the loco from the workshop to Queenstown Station, greasing, water-checks, and working on all operations required throughout the journey. After taking the train back to the workshop our fortunate participants will receive a framed photo with the crew.
This experience is only available on the Rack and Gorge journey and will delight steam and rail enthusiasts as it uses the ABT rack and pinion drive system to climb the 1:16 gradient over the Rinadeena Saddle. It makes for an ideal Christmas, Father’s Day or birthday present for those who have it all.
The experience runs from 630am – 2pm Monday to Friday and costs $490 for adults 18 years and over. Morning tea and Lunch are included.
West Coast Wilderness Railway General Manager, Anthony Brown said “The Railway is one of Tasmania’s hidden gems and we are delighted that tourists to our state are discovering this incredible piece of history.
“In the last year passenger numbers have grown by 36 per cent exceeding our expectations and revenue is up by an outstanding 48 per cent. With these new experiences on offer, which will extend our appeal to an even broader market, we are confident that these numbers will continue to grow.”
To support the increased passengers, the West Coast Wilderness Railway has recently opened their new café at the Queenstown station, Tracks. Tracks boasts a larger space providing lots of natural light and offers expansive views over Mt Lyell. It also incorporates signature railroad pieces giving it an industrial but stylish feel. The menu is simple but fresh and offers both light and substantial options that include crisp salads, hearty winter soups, gourmet burgers and dishes featuring local ingredients such as Tasmanian smoked salmon.