Iron Blow Lookout is an attraction that sits atop Gormanston Hill on the Lyell Highway, offering a birds-eye view of a strange landscape. The Iron Blow is the site of the earliest major mining venture at Mount Lyell in 1883 and remains a stark reminder of the West Coast’s mining history.
The spectacular, cantilevered lookout provides visitors with surreal, 180-degree views over the former open-cut copper mine and further out to the Linda Valley. The decommissioned mine is a geological wonder. It’s now filled with emerald-coloured water, providing a contrast to the multi-layered hues of the mine pit.
Iron Blow has a fascinating, yet destructive history. Interpretive signs at the Iron Blow Lookout give visitors a glimpse into how this gigantic mine came into being.
In 1883, gold was discovered in the hills of the Linda Valley. The site was named Iron Blow, and the promise of gold created a burst of mining activity. It didn’t take long for miners to realise that deposits of copper at the site would be more profitable and an open-cut copper mine was established in 1886.
The mine was cleared of as much copper as possible, causing a massive gouge in the earth, and a substantial effect on the surrounding environment. Trees were removed to fuel nearby furnaces and sulphur fumes emanating from the copper smelters resulted in the death of plants and wildlife.
The Mount Lyall Mine ceased operation in 1994, making it, at the time, one of the oldest major mines in Australia.
Once you’ve witnessed the view from Iron Blow Lookout, the haunting, yet beautiful landscape will stay with you forever. When you step out onto the cantilevered platform of the lookout, you’re virtually peering directly down into a massive man-made pit.
The steep, carved sides of the mine pit shine different colours in the sun, depending on what time of day you visit. The contrast between the rock of the mine and the water filling it, tinged an almost iridescent aqua by years of copper exposure, is eerily stunning.
From Iron Blow Lookout, you can see out to the barren hills surrounding Queenstown. The locals call it ‘The Moonscape’ and it's easy to see why. Devoid of life due to early mining practices and low rainfall in the area, the landscape is like nowhere else on Earth. It’s a place you’ll long remember from your tour through Tasmania’s rugged West Coast.
Gormanston sits between Mount Lyell and Mount Owen, above Queenstown on Tasmania's West Coast. Gormanston was built as the headquarters and major settlement for employees of the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company who operated the Iron Blow open-cut copper mine. Today Gormanston is a ghost town with a population of under 20 people.
Iron Blow Lookout is on the northern side of the Lyell Highway in the mostly abandoned town of Gormanston. Exit the highway onto Iron Blow Road and follow the sealed road to the lookout.
Our team is always happy to help if you have any questions about us or our tours. Fill out our form and we will get back to you soon.