What a lovely experience on this amazing steam train and track, it was like going back in time with the commentary on board. Our young man Sam was well experienced and his story was well presented. We had a lovely time.
We originally booked the Heritage coach, but advice from fellow enthusiasts thank you Peter led us to upgrade to the Wilderness carriage, Good call, as the UK booking agency had neglected to apply our pensioner discount so we got the upgrade for very little.
Our seat faced the exterior balcony, so I spent most of my time there. Food and drink kept arriving, but the lure of the forest, rivers and trestles kept me up on the way to Dubbil Barril sic and the operation of the engine on the way back to Queenstown kept me jumping up for photos and videos all the way.
The pauses for taking on water were well covered with opportunities for forest walks, whiskey tasting and gold-panning, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. The best bits, though were the videoing of the engine turning around on the turntable.
Unfortunately the day started with no steam train, as it was unavailable due to mechanical problems. So a diesel locomotive was used instead, our trip was from Strahan and travelled through the rain forest. Personally, it was boring and uninteresting.
This experience is well worthwhile. The scenery was amazing, the commentary was an interesting experience. Easy to book online. If you get to Queenstown early enough you can explore the town, look through the galley museum and have a meal at the Empire Hotel.
A worthwhile and interesting experience not to be missed, Stunning scenery and wonderful old time, comfortable carriages where you meet travellers from many parts of Australia and a number from overseas with which you can swap yarns about your adventures. Among the activities are gold panning where some fortunate people actually find some gold. Some enthusiasts are selected from those on board to act out the history of the railway and mining fortunes of the area to an appropriate script.
The host and staff were most cheerful and knowledgeable and well able to answer the most discerning questions.
Of great interest was the Abt method of track cogs that engage with the locomotive and enable the train to be able to climb the severe inclines encountered on the West Coast Wilderness Railway.
Altogether a most pleasurable and rewarding trip.