Tourism Industry Coincil Tasmania

Sitting on the edge of the world, a short trip just outside your comfort zone, lies the remote fishing village of Strahan. Strahan isn’t like other towns. Things are different on lutruwita/Tasmania’s west coast. It’s wild, rugged and damned beautiful out here.

We won't lie, it takes a while to get this far west. The journey through World Heritage Wilderness Area isn’t for the fainthearted but it’s 100 percent worth it. Break up the drive with one of the many walks along the way and get a taste of what’s to come. This is a place you’ll never forget – untouched and untamed.

Paths are made here, not followed. Around every corner lurks mystery and intrigue. Located on the banks of Macquarie Harbour, our shores tell tales of treacherous expeditions, convict escapes, piners, and protestors. And it’s all just waiting to be found.

Strahan is the gateway to over 1.5 million hectares of ancient, cool-climate rainforest. Here, the tannin-stained waters of the Gordon River run deep, Huon pines grow older and mirror-like reflections go undisturbed. We embrace the seasons and celebrate the rain that keeps the rainforest alive. It’s unlike anywhere else on the planet and protected until the end of time.

Not far from the quiet wilderness, the brutal Southern Ocean crashes through Hells Gates, a notorious passage at the mouth of Macquarie Harbour. Feared by sailors and convicts alike, Hells Gates marked the start of an isolated, punishing and hellish sentence on Sarah Island, Australia’s first penal settlement. Today, convict ruins hint at their harrowing stories.

Daily cruise vessels journey across Macquarie Harbour, through Hells Gates, and deep into the UNESCO Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, bearing witness to the west’s rugged beauty. You can even dig a little deeper on Sarah Island with one of Round Earth’s local guides.

Our remoteness isn’t an obstacle. It’s a challenge that we embrace. Take a walk along Ocean Beach’s 40km stretch of sand and sea, or tackle the 30m high Henty Dunes. You’ll see what we mean. It’s just you, the Southern Ocean, and winds gusting all the way from South America.

It’s a little quieter here and things don’t change a lot. But that’s the way we like it. Just like our land, our history is rich. Our people, our stories and our sense of community are the beating heart of our town, and are what makes us so special.

You can always count on us. A fresh brew from the local Coffee Shack. A lone cruise boat departing for the Gordon River, its horn echoing across the harbour. Australia’s longest-running play. The historic Wilderness Railway pulling out of Regatta Point, bound for the rainforest. That well-earned cold beer at the local pub. The freshest seafood you can find. And the scent of Huon pine and waterfalls that lingers in the air. Of course, there’s nothing quite like a west coast sunset – we take them pretty seriously out here. Ocean Beach is the place to be to watch the sky turn red, or head to the hilltop overlooking Macquarie Harbour with a glass of wine in hand. Take a breath – you truly are at the edge of the world.

We have seen boom and bust – celebrating the good and enduring the hard. Still to this day, only the hardy survive here. We’re resourceful – we fish, we build, we find a way or make a way. This is part of our spirit – what people call west coast spirit.

If you’re ready to venture beyond what you know, we’ll be here. As we always have been. Holidays are a little bit different out west but you’ll be glad you did it. All it takes is a short trip just outside your comfort zone.

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STRAHAN ITINERARY

The drive to lutruwita/Tasmania’s West Coast will take you through the stunning World Heritage Wilderness Area. Make it a real road trip and take a day to really appreciate the beauty, stopping off at one or two of the numerous walks available, chatting with locals and discovering the stories of the region. Arrive in Strahan in the late afternoon, check into stunning accommodation, such as Strahan Aloft Boutique Accommodation or Harrison House Bed and Breakfast, and spend a couple of days exploring this sleepy fishing village inside the gates to hell.

Day 1

Wake up bright and early and head to the town’s waterfront. Stop into the Coffee Shack, a tiny blue boatshed overlooking the wharf and serving arguably Strahan’s best coffee. Stop in and chat with a couple of locals before they start their day and sample one of the team’s famous brews.

Opposite the Coffee Shack, jump aboard a day cruise and take in the majestic waters of Macquarie Harbour and marvel at Hell’s Gates, the brutal entrance to Macquarie Harbour from the Southern Ocean and once the scene of many a shipwreck. Glide the pristine waters of the Gordon River and stop at Heritage Landing to stretch your legs and experience the magic of the Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness Area. This place is truly untouched and untamed.

Climb back on board your cruise vessel and head for Sarah Island, Australia’s first penal settlement. Here, Round Earth’s guides will share their stories of the island’s history and take you on a fascinating tour of a forgotten island.

Head back to Strahan and drop into the woodwork precinct. As you watch the traditional milling demonstration, take in the earthy scent of the salvaged Huon Pine; its distinct aroma will remain imprinted in your memory forever. Stroll through the woodwork precinct, which showcases several local businesses, and have a yarn about the West Coast sourced timer you see in front of you. Before you head off for the Visitor Centre, sample a little of the Tasmanian Distillers' products at Wilderness Whisky and Spirits and warm up a little.

Wander back along the waterfront and drop into the Visitor’s Centre to book tickets for tonight’s entertainment, The Ship That Never Was. While here, visit the West Coast Reflections Exhibition and take in a mix of devastating Indigenous history, fascinating Huon Pine stories, and the story of the plight to save the Gordon River from the proposed Franklin/Gordon Dam project.

Head to one of the numerous local eateries for a quick bite to eat before heading to the play at 5:30 pm. The Ship That Never Was is Australia’s longest-running play, humourously telling the fascinating tale of ten convicts who stole a ship from Sarah Island and sailed to Chile.

After the play, take in a stunning west coast sunset with your favourite tipple in hand before retiring for the evening and getting a great night's sleep before your next day of adventures begin.

Day 2

Work up an appetite with a stroll around the water’s edge of Strahan to Regatta Point where you will come across a delicious breakfast at Tracks on Point Café. Once you have satisfied your morning hunger, jump on board the meticulously maintained train and journey into the lush western wilderness with West Coast Wilderness Railway.

Journey aboard comfortable, heated carriages along Macquarie Harbour before turning inland and following the train line along the King River. Hear tales of rogues and rivals and marvel at the tenacity and resilience of the determined men and women that once called the small communities along this old mining railway their home. Stop off at remote wilderness stations and take a short walk by the river at Lower Landing Station or through the rainforest at Dubbil Barril Station. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting in the rain, take in the sounds and smells of the rainforest at its best.

As you wander back around the waterfront on your return to Strahan, stop into People’s Park to spot platypus on the short walk to Hogarth Falls. This easy, accessible walk is fantastic with kids and a great way to engage in the natural flora and fauna.

Spend the late afternoon tobogganing down Henty Dunes, where you can carve your own path or take a walk along the vast expanse of rugged coastline that is Ocean Beach. Known as lutruwita/Tasmania’s longest beach, breathe in some of the freshest air in the world and contemplate the miracle of life as you contemplate that the next landfall over the horizon is South America!

End the day with a traditional pub meal, no doubt planning your next Tasmanian adventure before you depart Strahan and head back to uncivilised civilisation.

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