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A town carved out of the stark mountains that tower over it, Queenstown was established as a result of the discovery of gold and other minerals at Mount Lyell last century.
Queenstown is surrounded by mountains which were once covered in vegetation but which are now strangely bare and stained purple, grey and pink by sulphur fumes from mining processes. Bushfires and logging, combined with heavy rain which washed the soil away, have stripped the hills of vegetation and created Queenstown's famous 'moonscape'. A fine view of the town can be found from the top of Spion Kop Lookout, named by soldiers returning from the Boer War.