STRAHAN is the lovely, old port on the west coast of Tasmania. It is truly the gateway town to the western wilderness. Strahan is in the centre of the west coast and sits on the wild Southern Ocean. It is a very tourist oriented town with many facilities and much accommodation. There is even a theatre. From Strahan you can tour the sights of Macquarie Harbour and Sarah Island and even cruise up the mysterious Gordon River. You can also enter the pristine wilderness of the South West National Park.
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FACILITIES at Strahan include a full shopping precinct, plus petrol stations and cafes. There is some accommodation at STRAHAN.
TOURIST information is located on the Strahan Esplanade. The telephone number is (03) 64717622 or the internet contact is www.tasmaniaswestcoast.com.au
For PRIVATE GUIDED TOURS telephone (03) 6472 6800
SIGHTS: Strahan is a pretty, historic port that is very tourist oriented. From the tourist information centre in the Esplanade, you can find out about access options to the Gordon River and the SOUTH WEST National Park. Strahan has a variety of accommodation styles and is relatively close to ZEEHAN and QUEENSTOWN.
I was really impressed by what I saw on both the Gordon River and on the Wilderness Railway. This railway begins at QUEENSTOWN and ends at Strahan. The attractions of Strahan include the:
BONNET ISLAND is a tiny island in Macquarie Harbour. To stay there telephone (03) 1800 084 620 There is also a cruise to see the penguins called the "Bonnet Island Experience".
BOTANICAL GARDENS are east of the Esplanade area of Strahan and include Hogarth Falls, (03) 6472 6800
CUSTOMS HOUSE is on the Esplanade of Strahan Harbour,
GORDON RIVER CRUISE from Strahan into the world heritage Gordon River is a photographer's paradise. The Bonnet Island Cruise is of the same high standard. The telephone for is 1800 420 155 or contact www.puretasmania.com.au
MUSEUM is also on the Esplanade of Strahan Harbour,
SARAH ISLAND was a convict hell. The Gordon River cruise from Strahan will take you there, (03) 6288 1149
SEA PLANES & HELICOPTER tours telephone (03) 6471 7718 or contact www.adventureflights.com.au
SHIP THAT NEVER WAS is a historic drama performed in Strahan, (03) 6471 7700 or www.roundearth.com.au
STRAHAN OCEAN BEACH is a beautiful beach on the Southern Ocean about 4 kilometres west of Strahan,
TEEPOOKANA PLATEAU tours and walks (03) 6472 6000
WATER TOWER HILL LOOKOUT is in Tamar Street east of the Esplanade,
WILDERNESS RAILWAY is on a special rack and pinion ABT steam train that takes you on an exciting journey on the old restored railway. It begins its journey at QUEENSTOWN and ends at Strahan. The telephone number is (03) 6471 4200 or 1800 236 970 or contact www.puretasmania.com.au
WILD RIVERS JET offers fast rides on the wild King River: (03) 6471 7396
WORLD HERITAGE CRUISES also cruises the Gordon River. The telephone number is (03) 6471 7174 or the contact is www.worldheritagecruises.com.au
Mt SORELL is a rugged peak south east of Queenstown. It can be accessed from Kelly Basin Road, which exits south from the A10 Lyell Highway east of Queenstown. However, there is no defined route to this wind swept mountain, so it is only recommended for experience bush walkers.
- Macquarie H.
- Sarah Island
- Gordon R.
- Mt Sorell
1/ Strahan is the only port on the west coast of Tasmania. Today it is the centre of a major tourist industry that accesses the Gordon River, Macquarie Harbour and the South West National Park. The photo above shows the Strahan waterfront with its shops, cafes and accommodation venues. The two large boats take visitors to Macquarie Harbour and the Gordon River
2/ There is a lot of accommodation at Strahan. This photo of the Strahan Esplanade shows heritage houses that have been converted into holiday houses.
3/ At the end of the Esplanade is this sign directing you to the Tower Hill Lookout, where you can get a panoramic view of Strahan.
4/ In this photo you can see two of the many styles of accommodation at Strahan. On the hill above is a luxury complex, while below is a Victorian era hotel.
5/ The Strahan Esplanade has a strip of cafes, where you can look out across Strahan Harbour, as you relax.
6/ Adjacent to the Strahan Esplanade is the picturesque Strahan Harbour. It is the mooring place for many fishing boats and larger pleasure boats.
7/ Harold Street leads North from the Strahan Esplanade to become the B24 Lyell Highway to Queenstown and Hobart.
8/ This building on the Esplanade is where you can book cruises of Macquarie Harbour and the Gordon River.
9/ This is a view from the Strahan Lookout towards the entrance to Macquarie Harbour. On the left you can see the Regatta Point Railway Station, where you exit the West Coast Wilderness Railway. Unfortunately the track repairs to Regatta Point were not completed, when I visited Strahan in January 2014.
10/ From Strahan you can also hire float planes to visit many exotic locations in the South West of Tasmania. The contact is www.adventureflights.com.au
11/ Strahan was once the main harbour of the west coast of Tasmania. It has retained many of the substantial, Victorian, buildings of this era.
12/ This is the Strahan Customs House. It remembers a time when Strahan was once a busy, sea port serving a large, mining industry.
13/ This is little house is the cute, Victorian era, police station of old Strahan.
14/ Just 4 km west of Strahan is Strahan Ocean Beach. Here you can wander for many kilometres on lovely, white sand, as you listen to the surf of the Southern Ocean.
1/ Macquarie Harbour is one of the largest and most beautiful, undeveloped harbours in the World. This is the Eagle, which is one of two luxury tour boats that cruise Macquarie Harbour and the Gordon River. The boats provide a lovely lunch, plus excursions to Sarah Island and a landing on the Gordon River.
2/ This modern luxury catamaran is the Lady Franklin. It is the other boat that does cruises of Macquarie Harbour and the Gordon River.
3/ This old video still shows Mount Strahan and Mount Sorell, as seen from near the mouth of the Gordon River. The reflections and colors that I saw on my first visit where truly awesome. Unfortunately, they are not reflected in this poor quality, video still.
4/ This recent photo also shows Mount Strahan and Mount Sorell. Unfortunately, as you can see, the cloud and light conditions were very poor that day.
5/ The pure waters of Macquarie Harbour are now used by a large aquaculture industry. This photo shows one of the many fish pen complexes on the southern shore of Macquarie Harbour.
6/ This photo shows the desolate southern shore of Macquarie Harbour.
7/ This old house near Devils Gate is now used by Eco tourist, who want to go to a very isolated place. The only way to access it is by boat.
8/ This photo shows the narrow entrance to Macquarie Harbour at Devils Gate. Many ships perished here before it was made safer by dredging and the installation of two lighthouses.
9/ This photo of the outer lighthouse at Devils Gate shows the atmosphere of the scene. You can even see a dull reflection of the lighthouse.
10/ This photo shows the inner lighthouse at Devils' Gate.
11/ A few kilometres beyond Devils' Gate is the large lighthouse at Cape Sorell. Its welcoming light showed the way to ships approaching Tasmania from across the violent waves of the Southern Ocean.
12/ This photo shows the approach to the Gordon River. The mountains on the horizon are the Cracoft Hills and the Elliot Range.
1/ Sarah Island is within Macquarie Harbour. It was once an infamous convict prison. It is the place referred to in Marcus Clarke's, ''For the Term of his Natural Life''. It is also referred to in the 2012 film ''Van Diemen's Land''. Here from 1823 to 1834 convicts built ships from the local Huon Pine trees. In 1834 the prison was closed and the surviving prisoners were moved to the new prison at Port Arthur. The photo above shows the wharf. On the right is the ruins of the infamous Penitentiary. This was the only stone building on Sarah Island.
2/ This old drawing will give you some idea as to how busy Sarah Island was during the short 11 years that it was a convict prison.
3/ This is the Penitentiary, the only all brick building on Sarah Island. Unfortunately, it was blown up by an old convict in revenge many years after Sarah Island was abandoned.
4/ This drawing shows that the Penitentiary was once a substantial structure.
5/ This is the ruins of the bakery. A pathway with explanatory panels has been implaced to allow you to easily tour and understand the ruins of Sarah Island.
6/ This pit was once used to mix mortar. The old barracks stood on this spot. As you can see, much of the original vegetation has returned to heal the scars of Sarah Island.
7/ The commandants house once stood here. Over the past 180 years the wind has blown the chimneys down. Behind them you can see the pathway that visitors follow.
8/ This is the older wharf of Sarah Island.
9/ Women convicts were once held on this lonely rock near Sarah Island.
1/ The Gordon River is one of the most beautiful in Tasmania. It is accessed from Macquarie Harbour by the cruise boats. The Huon Pines trees of the Gordon were once used for ship building. On my first visit I saw really awesome reflections, however on my 2014 trip, the sky was too dark and the wind was too strong. This photo shows the plethora of greens that greets you as you enter the Gordon River.
2/ The Gordon is a river with many bends. Around each bend lovely, new sights await you. Note how in this photo you can see dull reflections. The strong wind prevented good reflections like you can see in the video stills below.
3/ This photo shows one of the many hills that greet you, as you wend your way down the Gordon River.
4/ This photo shows the dull reflections that I saw on my recent 2014 trip.
5/ This 2008 video still photo shows the same hill reflecting beautifully in the still waters.
6/ On this bend in 2008 I saw ethereal whiffs of clouds, plus beautiful reflections. It was a truly awesome sight.
7/ At Heritage Landing visitors can walk on a pathway into the forest. This is the rich plethora of greens and yellows that greets you in every direction.
8/ This photo shows the view skyward. Many of the trees in the area are now quite large. However, it will taken 600 years for this forest to mature back to its former glory.
9/ In the forest you regularly see giant fungus. The fungi shown here are about the size of diner plates.
10/ This slice of a Huon Pine shows how it takes 700 years to grow to a mature size. Unfortunately, most of the large trees were taken by the piners in the 19th Century and the Huon pines we see today are quite young in comparison.
1/ Mt Sorell is a twin peaked mountain in western Tasmania south east of Queenstown. This gallery shows photos made on a trip in the summer of 2014. Accessing Mt Sorell is from Kelly Basin Road, which diverges south from the A10 Lyell Highway east of Queenstown.
2/ Our trip began at the beautiful Lake Burbury, where we had camped the night. We then bussed south down Kelly Basin Road to our departure point. This photo show Mt Madge, east of Lake Burbury, reflecting back the first light of the dawn. Lakes are usually misty at dawn in Tasmania.
3/ We then followed a rough vehicle track to the west and crossed the Darwin Plateau. There are many such tracks in this area, so you need to know which one to take. Note that there is no defined route to Mt Sorell, so this trip is for groups of experienced trekkers only.
4/ This was our first close up view of Mt Sorell. The next part of the journey involved a bush bash through forest to the open areas before Mt Sorell. This image shows Mt Sorell and the direction we were taking. Note the very different zones of vegetation in these mountains.
5/ We then wended our way up the mountain. The steep slopes in this photo should give some idea, as to how difficult this was.
6/ We then ascended the first peak. This photo shows us at the trig point. This image looks towards the many rugged mountains to our east.
7/ This image shows the panoramic view to the north. On the left is Mt Darwin, while to the right is Lake Burbury.
8/ This image looks to the east. The next range is the Darwin Plateau and beyond it are the many mountains of the Central Highlands.
9/ This image looks to the west. In the distance is the southern end of Macquarie Harbour.
10/ We then trekked along the spur line towards the highest point of Mt Sorell. Most of the route was on open, but rocky terrain. We had to cross the deep gully that you can see ahead of the trekkers.
11/ To our north west we could see the massive peak of Mt Strahan. This is 852 metres high. The early afternoon sun was behind it creating this strange shadow effect.
12/ To our east we could see the many peaks of the Darwin Plateau. Mt Sorell was casting a vast shadow to the east at that time of the afternoon.
13/ The gully we crossed was so dense that if even included a lovely mountain stream.
14/ This image shows the steep north western face of Mt Sorell that we were approaching.
15/ This image shows the rugged mountain side that we had to bush bash our way through.
14/ This image shows the now close peak of Mt Sorell.
15/ This image looks to the north east towards Mt Darwin. It is 1033 metres high. To its right is the Darwin Range, which we had crossed in the morning.
16/ This image looks to the west towards Macquarie Harbour. You can see how the landscape can vary between being open and being bush covered.
17/ This image looks back across the spur line of Mt Sorell that we had just walked.
18/ This image looks towards the summit of Mt Sorell. It is 1144 metres high. To the right is Mt Darwin. This summit would be the end of our journey.
19/ This image looks to the north west of the summit of Mt Sorell. You can see a slither of Macquarie Harbour on the horizon.
20/ This image looks west towards the vast expanse of Macquarie Harbour.
21/ Here you see our trekkers enjoying the vast panoramic vier before them from the summit of Mt Sorell.
22/ This image shows the rocky area near the summit. It is treeless, because it is swept by violent winds. Even in summer you must have cold weather clothing with you.
23/ This image shows Mt Darwin. This was as close as we would approach it. Beyond it is Lake Burbury.
24/ This image shows Mt Darwin reflecting back a burst of subdued light. Note the lovely yellow green colours of the late afternoon.
25/ It is the end of a long but rewarding day and our tired trekkers exit the area. Behind them are the rugged peaks of the Darwin Range.