We travelled up to Queenstown from Strahan by rail, following the King River for much of the way. For most of the trip we were in amongst the ancient myrtle beech trees, blackwoods, ferns and pines and because it was raining we really got an understanding of what a wet forest really means. I'm not a train buff but it was exciting to see the steam from our little engine drifting up through the canopy and hear the train's whistle echo along the track.
But the trip is an eye-opener for another reason. Pollution. The King River is dead. Pollution from the copper mining operations at Queenstown not only denuded the hills around the town itself but poisoned the Queen River and the lower reaches of the King River. The hills (behind the turning engine in the photo below) are slowly being revegetated but it's going to take centuries to get a spread of species - at the moment it seems to be mainly wattles and some sort of rush. The heavy metals in the river beds are a real problem. It won't be solved in my lifetime.