Distance from: Hobart - 256 km, Launceston - 249, Devonport - 201 km
The Iron Blow Lookout allows you to peer into Tasmania's tortured mining history. Gold was discovered in the hills of the Linda Valley of Tasmania's west coast back in 1883 at a site dubbed the Iron Blow. Miners descended on the site to discover much more profitable deposits of copper. They then wrought destruction on the land to strip it bare before deserting the nearby mining ghost towns of Gormanston and Linda. The Iron Blow Lookout gives you a bird's eye view of the open-cut mine with the stains of mineral deposits streaking the pit's walls. It makes for a hauntingly beautiful site, but to capture the brilliance of the unnatural colours, you'll need to get here on a sunny day.
The Iron Blow is just part of the devasted-yet-beautiful landscape that surrounds the west coast city of Queenstown. Over-mining and copper smelting has stripped the land bare and stained it with mineral deposits to create a haunting moonscape that is a stark reminder of man's greed. The Iron Blow Lookout is a great introduction to this bizarre landscape as you drive west on the Lyell Highway from Hobart. The road winds its way through the Linda Valley and then descends down steep switchbacks to the bottom of the moonscape at Queenstown. The Iron Blow is a geological laceration and it was the beginning of the mining boom for the Queenstown region back in the 1800's.
The lookout sits atop Gormonston Hill on the northern side of the Lyell Highway in the ghost town of Gormanston. Exit onto Iron Blow Road and take the paved road up the hill to the lookout. There's plenty of parking.
From Hobart, the drive will take you about 3.5 hours over 256 kilometres. The drive from Launceston takes just as much time over 249 kilometres. Devonport is a bit closer at 201 kilometres. That drive will take you 2.5 hours.
Gormanston is the last stop before a steep Lyell Highway descent down the barren hills to Queenstown. The Iron Blow makes for a great pit stop before the breathtaking and harrowing descent.