Strahan was once a bustling port during Tasmania’s mining mecca of the 1800s. It is now a historic harbour-side village, famous throughout Australia for its river cruises which attract visitors to Strahan’s magnificent heritage wilderness.
Being the remotest village on the west coast of Tasmania and, the last piece of land separated by the southern ocean before South America, made me instantly want to explore the area. So, after an incredible 2-nights in Cradle Mountain, we continued our adventure by adding a 2-night stay in Strahan onto our Tasmania road trip itinerary.
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My First Impressions
Lots of the towns in Tasmania are small, and Strahan was no exception. The main reason we travelled here was to go on a Gordon River wilderness cruise, listed as one of Tasmania’s best points of interest and one of Australia’s best cruises.
We were excited to sail the tranquil waterways and take in the exceptional views of the Unesco-listed wilderness.
Sadly our cruise never materialised due to torrential rain and wind. Instead, we spent one of our days in Strahan listening to heavy rain hitting the tin roof of our bungalow. The plus point was that I got a suitcase load of washing done; the perks of booking accommodation with a washer/dryer!
Best Time to go to Tasmania
The best time to visit Tasmania is Australia’s summer season, between December and February. The weather in Tasmania should be at a comfortable temperature to allow full enjoyment of all the outdoor activities you may want to do.
Strahan has an oceanic weather front with wild mild damp summers, so be prepared for inclement weather, such as the unexpected downpour we encountered in February.
Remember that the island is covered by dense rainforest, meaning that a significant amount of rain falls throughout the year!
How to Get to Strahan
However you get to Strahan, you will experience the most incredible scenery ranging from mountains to lakes and from rainforests to the sea. I felt that Tasmania was extremely special and very different from mainland Australia.
You can fly into Launceston and Hobart or take the ferry from Melbourne to Devonport. An overnight sailing on The Spirit of Tasmania was my choice to get to Tasmania from Melbourne.
Once you arrive in Tasmania, you can hire a car to explore the island at your own pace. If driving isn’t for you, then guided tours are bookable to show you the diverse nature of this incredible island.
To Strahan From Devonport will take three hours with no stops. We chose to stop in Cradle Mountain for 2-nights, which perfectly suited our road trip itinerary.
To Strahan From Launceston is a little under four hours and will once again take you through Cradle Mountain National Park.
To Strahan From Hobart is a five-hour drive and will take you from south-east Tasmania to west Tasmania. The drive covers some fantastic sights, including Lake St Clair National Park – Australia’s deepest lake.
Accommodation in Strahan
I booked an Airbnb called the Red Door. It had great views across the bay and was perfect for a 2-night stay during my lap of Tasmania.
Strahan has varied accommodation from apartments to camping grounds. I have listed several places that will suit all budgets and lifestyles.
Aloft Boutique Apartments – these contemporary, self-contained apartments are less than 5 minutes drive from Ocean Beach. They have private patios, free wifi, and on-site parking.
Check availability and pricing for Aloft Boutique Apartments
Salt Box Hideaway – this one-bedroom apartment offers mountain and sea views and free wifi. It is a cosy retreat after a day of exploring the hidden gems in Strahan.
Check availability and pricing for Salt Box Hideaway
Strahan Village – favourite holiday accommodation for visitors to the Tassie town of Strahan, offering several options for dining. Fantastic views of Macquarie Bay from most of the rooms.
Check availability and pricing for Strahan Village
Strahan Backpackers – features quirky, budget accommodation, a shared lounge, a garden, barbecue facilities and a terrace.
Check availability and pricing for Strahan Backpackers.
Macquarie Head Campsite – situated at the entrance to the harbour, this campsite might have one of the best views in Strahan!
Check availability and pricing for Macquarie Head campsite.
The Best Things to Do in Strahan
Gordon River Cruises #1
Gordon River cruises are the number one experience in Strahan Village. Sail to Hells Gate, the meeting point of the harbour and the Southern ocean, out into vast Macquarie Harbour, a waterway six times larger than Sydney Harbour and along the Gordon River.
Cruise packages through Tasmania’s wilderness world heritage site include a visit to the convict ruins on Sarah Island and a walk through the temperate rainforest at Heritage Landing.
West Coast Tasmania Wilderness Railway #2
A must-do Tasmania activity is the fabulous 4-hour return journey aboard the Wild Coast Wilderness Railway that will appeal to all ages.
Leave the shores of Macquarie Harbour and head into the ancient rainforest and mountains of the rugged Tasmania west coast. Stopping at remote train stations, you will visit Lower Landing, Dubbil Barril and Queenstown before returning to Strahan.
Hogarth Falls #3
A short stroll from Strahan Esplanade is Peoples Park. A 50-minute return route will take you to Hogarth Falls, classed as one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks. Another great walk that I did from this list was the Dove Lake Walk in Cradle Mountain.
Wander alongside Botanical Creek and through the beautiful rainforest until you reach the waterfall. Take a moment to enjoy the serene atmosphere before making your way back along the same route.
Ocean Beach #4
If you are itching to spend some time on a beach, then 6 km from Strahan is Ocean Beach. This 40km sandy beach is the last landmass before South America and a great place to come and watch the stunning sunsets for which Australia is famous. I don’t think you will be swimming in the ocean, though; this is one of the wildest beaches on the planet!
Activities for Thrill Seekers
Henty Dunes #5
For adventure seekers to Tasmanian’s wild west coast, this is a chance to do a spot of sand tobogganing at Henty Dunes. Book with Gordon River cruises which can also set you up with hire bikes to explore the roads around Strahan waterfront.
Activities Along Strahan Waterfront
The Ship That Never Was #6
This top-rated theatre show has been running for the last 25 years and tells a hilarious story of convicts escaping from Sarah Island. We didn’t have time to see it; however, it appears to be very funny from local reviews, and as it is Australia’s longest-running play, I guess it must be.
Morrisons Huon Pine #7
You can smell this shop before entering it, but that’s a good thing as the scent is of earthy pine timber. We stumbled upon this working pine mill/ gallery/ shop, which makes furniture and trinkets from the Huon pine trees all around the area. It is located just along the seafront by Gordon River cruises.
Watch a Tasmanian sunset #8
I have witnessed some of the most stunning and dramatic sunsets in Australia, and one of the free things to do in Strahan is to watch the evening light show setting over Macquarie Bay.
I am glad that we headed to Strahan, as even though it is isolated, it still has plenty to do if you have good weather or don’t mind getting wet!
If you aren’t particularly interested in doing the Gordon River cruise, leave Strahan off your itinerary and add on a different town, such as Stanley – famous for its fairy penguins – or Launceston – Australia’s third oldest city, and the location of some of Tasmania’s best outdoor adventure pursuits.
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