Paul Fleming
Tasmania
StrahanOn the edge of one of the greatest wilderness areas in Australia, and full of fascinating convict history, Strahan is both a naturally and culturally significant destination, topped by a charming and boutique township.
Strahan is a picturesque fishing village on beautiful Macquarie Harbour and sits on the doorstep of Tasmania's World Heritage Wilderness Area. Strahan has a unique pioneering heritage and a dark convict past that is at odds with the beauty of the surrounding forests and wilderness. The town has many stories to tell of the convicts and pioneers who tamed Tasmania's West. Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour was once the most cruel convict prison in Australia and is a reminder of the brutal treatment handed out to Tasmania's convicts. An ideal starting point for any visit to Strahan is the Strahan Visitor Centre with its excellent display recounting the story of Tasmania's West Coast. From Strahan, you can take a cruise along the Gordon River into the World Heritage Wilderness Area of the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, passing through one of the last pristine temperate rainforest in the world. At the northern end of Strahan Harbour are the People's Park, a combination of natural forest and botanical gardens with picnic and camping facilities. From here, visitors can take a 60-min return walk to Hogarth Falls through the rainforest with the trees identified for those interested in botany. An essential experience in Strahan is a visit to Ocean Beach. Standing on this hard, flat beach with huge waves breaking on its shore, visitors are further south than the Cape of Good Hope and on the same latitude as the southern reaches of Patagonia. Ocean Beach, just out of town, is 40 km long and the dunes behind the beach are huge. On a fine day, the sunsets over the beach are particularly beautiful. Strahan is a 4.5-hr drive (300 km) from Hobart and a 3-hr drive (226 km) from Devonport.
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Things to do
Take a cruise on the Gordon River
The award-winning Gordon River Cruise departs from Strahan and takes guests into the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Cruising the Gordon River on the purpose-built Spirit of the Wild, you experience quiet cruising under the power of the vessel's electric motors. Cross Macquarie Harbour to Hell's Gates, the narrow entrance into the Southern Ocean. You then cruise to the Gordon River, where you give yourself the best chance of seeing the famous reflections while on board Spirit of the Wild, the first cruise boat on the river each day. Step ashore at Heritage Landing and walk through the rainforest to see ancient Huon Pines. Step ashore again at Sarah Island, a 19th-century penal colony, hearing stories of the convicts who laboured there. Local guides enhance the tour with interpretation of the region's history. Seating is allocated to each guest. The main deck offers two seating styles - Main Deck Central and Main Deck Window. All are spacious and comfortable and include a delicious lunch that showcases Tasmanian produce. The third option is the Premier Upper Deck, including complimentary lunch, morning and afternoon tea, an open bar and an exclusive viewing deck. Audio tours are available in German, French, Cantonese and Mandarin.
View world-heritage wilderness from the sky
Strahan Helicopters specialises in Scenic Tours and transfers, from short Strahan Village flights to one and two-hour tours. Select from one of our planned tours or customise your own tour to suit your interests. Heli-Steam tours also available and operated in conjunction with the West Coast Wilderness Railway. Touch base with their friendly staff to learn more about these helicopter tours.
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