West Coast regal. Your handy guide to striking Strahan
Following the news that BIG4 Strahan Holiday Retreat has become a fully-fledged member of the BIG4 cooperative, we thought it was a great excuse to explore this thoroughly fascinating Tasmanian village.
It’s undeniable. Strahan oozes blistering beauty.
Planted within Tasmania’s rugged west coast, this charming and history-rich village bursts with appeal.
It’s a place that immediately evokes feelings of being a world away from everyday life, delivering a series of unforgettable experiences.
And we’re about to introduce you to the best of them.
Roughly halfway along Tassie’s west coast on the shores of beautiful Macquarie Harbour, which protects Strahan from the wild Southern Ocean. Strahan is on the fringes of mammoth Franklin–Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, part of the World Heritage-listed Tasmanian Wilderness area. It can be reached via a 3.5hr drive from Launceston or just over a 4hr journey from Hobart.
If you were to experience just one thing while in Strahan, it would have to be a boat cruise, which is filled with spectacular scenery and evocative, emotive stories from the area’s fascinating past.
Regular departures from Strahan take in the likes of majestic Macquarie Harbour, notorious Hells Gates at the mouth of the harbour, and a stop at the former penal colony on Sarah Island.
Arguably the highlight is cruising along the Gordon River, which snakes its way within Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. Here, sprawling temperate rainforest of this World Heritage area abounds. While it makes for a spectacular sight, it also offers a stark reminder of the ruggedness and isolation of Tasmania’s west coast.
The 1.2km one-way trek to Hogarth Falls is rewarding (50-60 mins return) and is listed as one of Tasmania's 60 Great Short Walks. The path starts in the town centre and passes rainforest-clad surrounds and towering trees and includes informative signage. As well as offering up-close views of the cascading falls, there’s also the chance to glimpse platypus in these surrounds…but temper your expectations!
Bring your camera and hop aboard the spectacular West Coast Wilderness Railway as it journeys between Strahan and Queenstown. The 35km route takes in a huge array of breathtaking scenery that includes huge gorges, harbour views, and more of that expansive rainforest.
Various tours are available, some with meal inclusions. While at Queenstown Station, wander through the railway museum to better gauge the significance and history of these tracks.
Note: Advanced bookings are strongly encouraged.
The following options won’t blow a hole in your wallet:
Recount more of the area’s convict heritage by witnessing a performance of The Ship That Never Was. This live theatre production is highly rated, evidenced by the fact it’s been performed in Strahan for almost 25 years. The show runs daily at 5.30pm and is presented in movie form from June to August.
Or visit Tutt's Whittle Wonders (yes, it’s a real attraction) and admire a private collection of wood-carved creations.
Cruises to remote Bonnet Island offer another excellent experience in Strahan. The island is home to a little penguin colony, includes a historical lighthouse, and gifts excellent bird-watching opportunities.
Day-tripping from Strahan has its benefits. Take the windy 45min drive northeast to Queenstown to soak up the town’s extensive mining heritage. Copper mining and mass logging has created an interesting moonscape backdrop to this cute town, with Eric Thomas Galley Museum among its most notable attractions.
A half-hour drive north of Strahan is Zeehan, another old mining town that’s lined with striking buildings, led by the iconic Gaiety Theatre. A stop at the West Coast Heritage Centre is the best way to retrace footsteps from the past, and it details a vast range of themes.
Near Zeehan is the Spray Tunnel, a 100m-long abandoned train tunnel that makes for a fascinating – and eerie! – walk. It leads to mining relics that make for compelling exploration.
Have you been to Strahan? What do you recall most about your visit? We’d love to read your thoughts, so please leave a comment.
Book your stay at BIG4 Strahan Holiday Retreat now. Details below.