WCWR Achieves EcoStar Accreditation

In the mid-19th century, the west coast of Tasmania was a pristine wilderness known for its dense bushland and wet weather. By the end of the 20th century, mankind had carved an almost permanent mark on the landscape. Today, the Queen and King Rivers continue to suffer the impacts of a decade of historical mining practices and Mother Nature has years of recovery ahead of her.

It’s fair to say that our backyard has the capacity to teach us of the damage we can do unwittingly and, at times, even with the best intentions.

Side by side image of the King River Gorge. The image on the left is from the late 1800 and shows a flowing river at the bottom of a steep gorge. On the right bank is a denuded hill with a railway line cut into it. The right hand image shows a shallow river and steep hills covered by rainforest.

The King River Gorge in the 20th and 21st centuries

Sustainability and recovery are important to us and to our team. We recently embarked on a journey to catalogue and understand our sustainability practices and to improve our processes wherever possible. Recently, months of hard work paid off, and West Coast Wilderness Railway was awarded with an EcoStar accreditation.

Throughout this process, we worked throughout our entire business to understand what we were already doing and what we can do in the future to further improve. We documented these and, eventually, condensed the information to create a new Responsible Tourism Policy. Some of the areas we covered included how WCWR:

  • Manages the biodiversity of the railway corridor and remote stations, including waste removal and safely removing declared weeds and introduced species from the areas we manage
  • Train our onboard staff to be knowledgeable about the region, including its mining history, and educates passengers through interpretation along the line
  • Sources locally, including salvaged timber for our carriages, the food in our cafes and the gifts in our gift shop, many of which are crafted locally
  • Maintain the heritage of the railway with the knowledge that this heritage is hugely important to the local community
  • Partner with and ensure a strong economic outcome for local businesses across the region
  • Works with local business groups and maintains a leadership role on the local tourism committee to help drive social, economic and environmental sustainability outcomes

We are proud of this work and will continue to drive this policy to ensure that we continue to improve our economic, environmental and social responsibilities. We are looking forward to implementing new interpretation for our passengers to communicate more of the region’s story, partnering with local businesses to generate a greater economic impact across our region and establishing improved environmental practices across our two cafes.


Historical image credit: John Beattie Collection

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