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The Lyell Highway (Route A10) is a highway in Tasmania, running from Hobartmarker to Queenstownmarker. The name is derived from Mount Lyellmarker, the mountain peak where copper was found in the late 1800s, and the site of the Mt Lyell copper mine, and the sole reason for the existence of Queenstown. The Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company was the predominant business in Queenstown for almost 100 years.

Hobart to Central Highlands section

Starting at Grantonmarker it winds along the southern side of the Derwent Rivermarker in a generally north westerly direction to New Norfolkmarker.At New Norfolk it crosses the Derwent River and winds its way through hilly terrain to Hamilton.Just prior to Hamilton is the turnoff to Bothwellmarker via a sealed route that passes Arthurs Lake and ultimately goes on to Launcestonmarker.

Central Highlands section

After Hamilton, the small town of Ousemarker is the only other population centre on the highway until the former Hydroelectricity town of Wayatinah.

When the highway was first constructed, it made use of existing tracks and roads in the Victoria Valley area, directly north of Ouse, leaving the Ouse and Derwent River valleys and climbing the hilly country through the towns of Osterley, Victoria Valley and Dee before rejoining the present highway near Brontë. This route closely skirts Dee Lagoon, and runs close to several other lakes, particularly Lake Echo. The road is narrow, and unsealed. When the hydro-electric system was expanding and their works were under construction at Tarraleah in the mid-1940s, the highway was re-aligned to follow the Derwent River until it passed Tarraleah to provide better access to the area for construction vehicles. After Tarraleah the road climbs steeply out of the Derwent River gorge until it re-joins the original route near Brontë.

At Brontë the Marlborough Highway turns off the main road and leads to the Great Lake, where it joins the Lakes Highway and eventually runs to Deloraine. This road is very exposed and must not be passed in wintry conditions.

A common short-cut is the '14-Mile Road' (C601), a gravel road which cuts across the Nive Plains just after Tarraleah, by-passing the steep Tarraleah Gorge section, re-joining the highway several kilometres past Brontë. It is not an agreeable short-cut as it is a narrow, unsealed road, and is frequented by log-trucks.

In wintry conditions the whole of the Central Highlands section is susceptible to black ice, and it can be exceptionally bad in the heavily forested section west of Ouse, but it can be encountered all the way to the west coast. Snow is usually encountered in the Derwent Bridgemarker area during most winters and may force closure of the road occasionally for several days. This applies to both the newer Tarraleah section and the older Osterley-Lake Echo-Dee section. Indeed, the likelihood of heavy snow falling is the reason for the tall reflector posts along stretches of the highway.

As the highway enters Derwent Bridge it strikes a mid-point between Lake St Clair to the north, and Lake King William to the south.

West Coast section

This section is usually known as that west of Derwent Bridgemarker or Mount King William.

It runs through the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Parkmarker, and through the West Coast Range before reaching Queenstownmarker.

Just west of Derwent Bridge the road climbs, with many sharp turns, over the flanks of Mt. Arrowsmith. This section is very dangerous and has been responsible for numerous fatalities.

The highway did not reach Queenstown until the 1930s and was not properly surfaced for some time after that. In post cards of the 1940s and 1950s it is called the West Coast Road. Great care must be taken on the final steep descent into Queenstown, as the road is not only susceptible to ice and snow, but is narrow and twists violently.

Due to its altitude, the section of the highway over the plateau between Derwent Bridge and Mount King William is often closed during winter due to ice and snow.

With the damming of the King River and the creation of Lake Burburymarker, the highway was re-routed to a narrow point where the Bradshaw bridge could be constructed across the lake.


2003 edition - Queenstown: Municipality of Queenstown.
1949 edition - Hobart: Davies Brothers. ; ASIN B000FMPZ80
1924 edition - Queenstown: Mount Lyell Tourist Association. ; ASIN B0008BM4XC

See also

External links

  • Map of World Heritage Area

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