Tasmania’s historic railways showcase carefully restored stations and majestic locomotives spanning picturesque track networks. Visit a Tasmanian railway attraction and discover fascinating stories of our early rail pioneers.
Tasmania’s railway attractions represent a colourful and industrious era. History books tell of privately owned steam engines hauling exports to shipping ports. Mining empires grew and thrived on networks of custom-built tracks carved from mountains and forests. And a wide-reaching rail network boosted the state’s early economic engine by aiding industries like agriculture, papermaking, and logging. Nowadays, many of these rail networks exist as carefully restored attractions offering a glimpse into the life and times of Tasmania’s early years.
Ready to experience Tasmanian railway history?
West Coast Wilderness Railway
The West Coast Wilderness Railway is an award-winning railway, interactive museum and wilderness experience located on the picturesque west coast of Tasmania. The railway weaves through mountains and passes from the harbour town of Strahan to Queenstown, stopping at carefully restored stations along the way. At these stations, visitors can see the train being refuelled, can try their hand at panning for gold, or learn more about the environmental impact of mining across the years.
The railway uses a specially designed rack and pinion engineering system (named the ‘Abt’ system after its creator) to pull carriages up and down steep inclines. Locally prepared refreshments and lively commentary are provided for the duration of the rail journey.
Strahan is located on the west coast of Tasmania, and the distance to the town is similar from both Launceston and Hobart. The road into the area is slow and winding due to thick forest and occasional poor visibility.
See our feature Magazine article or learn more about the West Coast Wilderness Railway via their website. Please check the provider’s website for tour availability. Some tours are seasonal.
Address: Driffield St, Queenstown
Telephone: 03 6471 0100
For more information visit their website.
Don River Railway
The Don River Railway is located along the north west coast of Tasmania and offers a thirty-minute train ride past the picturesque banks of the Don River. The railway features fully operational heritage steam and diesel engines and carriages, and is supported by functional workshops containing engines in different stages of restoration.
The railway was first built in 1873 to carry timber from surrounding bushlands into the town, and also coal from a nearby mine. The railway ceased operation in the 1880s when the timber industry dried up, however was resurrected in 1904 upon discovery of a large nearby limestone quarry. The commercial railway closed in early 1963 and was left in a state of abandon. In 1976 the railway reopened to the public after being restored by hundreds of volunteers.
Visitors to the Don River Railway can ride in a retro diesel locomotive on the regular weekday service, or a Victorian steam train if they are in Don on a Sunday (depending on which are available due to maintenance schedules). Visitors can browse through a small railway museum or wander around surrounding grounds to get up close with many locomotives, also in different states of restoration.
The Don River Railway is located just ten minutes’ drive from Devonport, one of Tasmania’s major towns on the north coast. The railway is open every day (except Christmas Day and Good Friday) from 9am to 5pm and trains operate from Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
Learn more about the Don River Railway via their website. Please check the provider’s website for tour availability.
Visit Don River Railway
Address: Forth Main Road, Don
Telephone: 03 6424 6335
For more information visit their website.
Ida Bay Railway
The Ida Bay Railway is located in the south of the island, near the Hartz Mountains National Park. Ida Bay is the last operating bush tramway in Tasmania and, like the other railways around the state features a colourful, interesting history. The railway’s track network starts at Lune River station and terminates seven kilometres later at Deep Hole and Elliot’s beach.
The railway network was originally built in 1919 to transport limestone and remained operational until 1975. The revamped attraction we know today opened in 2004.
Visitors to Ida Bay enjoy a two-hour train journey through buttongrass bushland, taking in the scents of wild flowers and songs of native birds. The train makes way through the site of the original town of Ida Bay before stopping at Deep Hole. Here passengers can alight and enjoy beach time or simply get back on and head back to Lune River.
There are several bushwalking trails in the area, and plenty of spots to enjoy a picnic or barbecue, as well as camping facilities for those who wish to stay overnight. For slightly less adventurous travellers, there is a cosy café with food and drinks on offer.
Lune River is easy to get to from Hobart and takes about an hour and a half driving; visitors need to head south past Franklin and Hastings.
Learn more about the Ida Bay Railway via their website. Please check the provider’s website for tour availability.
Visit Ida Bay Railway
Address: 328 Lune River Rd, Ida Bay
Telephone: 03 6298 3110
Wee Georgie Wood Railway
The Wee Georgie Wood Railway is a narrow gauge tramway located in the north west town of Tullah. The railway is run by passionate volunteers and offers a twenty-five minute train ride providing a fascinating insight into the early industries and history of the region.
The railway was first opened in 1902 with timber tracks and trams pulled by horses, but was later upgraded to steel tracks to be used with miniature steam trains. The railway is named after the British actor and comedian Wee Georgie Wood, because it’s a narrow gauge railway and the actor himself was only 1.45m tall.
Visitors can enjoy the short but pleasant 25 minute scenic journey aboard the vintage Romeo locomotive on the first Sunday and the last Saturday and Sunday of each month, during the high season from October to June.
The Wee Georgie Wood Railway is most easily accessed from the north coast and is just over an hours’ drive from Burnie. Learn more about the Wee Georgie Wood Railway via their website. Please check the provider’s website for tour availability.
Visit Wee Georgie Wood Railway
Address: Murchison Highway, Tullah
Telephone: +61 417 142 724
Redwater Creek Steam and Heritage Society
The Redwater Creek Steam and Heritage Society is located in the bustling town of Sheffield in the north of the island. Visitors can take a scenic two-kilometre ride on a passionately restored steam train, followed by a drink or snack at the renovated Sheffield Station coffee shop. Trains run every half an hour on the first full weekend of every month but have more regular services during the summer months and special events. A model railway is open on Sundays.
The Heritage Society is also responsible for Steamfest, a major steam engine event. Steamfest is held annually in March. Learn more about Steamfest here.
The Redwater Creek Railway is located a short and convenient thirty minute drive away from Devonport, on the north coast of Tasmania. Learn more about the Redwater Creek Steam and Heritage Society via their website. Please check the provider’s website for tour availability.
Visit Redwater Creek
Address: Main St, Sheffield
Telephone: (03) 6428 3994
Tasmanian Transport Museum
The Tasmanian Transport Museum is a comprehensive rail museum located in the suburb of Glenorchy, about fifteen minutes from Hobart. The museum features steam and diesel locomotives, buses, trams, steamrollers, motorbikes, a jet engine, various trailers, carriages and wagons. Visitors can experience the thrill of riding on a fully operational steam locomotive on a small stretch of track alongside the museum, followed by a browse of exhibits and artefacts in surrounding railway sheds.
The museum is run by the Tasmanian Transport Museum Society, who aim to preserve the history of transport throughout the ages in Tasmania.
The museum is open on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays from 1 pm to 4 pm apart from on the third Sunday of every month when it opens from 11 am.
Learn more about the Tasmanian Transport Museum via their website. Please check the provider’s website for tour availability.
Visit the Tasmanian Transport Museum
Address: 2B Anfield St, Glenorchy
Telephone: 03 6272 7721