Three hours from Devonport, on the secluded west coast of Tasmania, the fishing village of Strahan is a unique holiday destination. A small community built along the banks of the King River, Strahan is an authentic and nostalgic place to indulge in river cruise and fishing trips, and experience the Tasmanian wilderness.
Founded in 1877, there is little to remind visitors of the village’s more sinister past - Strahan is the closest town to the infamous Sarah Island, regarded as the worst convict prison in Australia. The 200 metre opening to the nearby Macquarie Harbour was dubbed ‘Hell’s Gates’ by convicts who had survived the tumultuous journey.
The smell of salty sea air and fresh fish mingles with the earthy scent of pine on pleasant harbour breezes. The calls of sea birds and the lapping of water provide a relaxing ambience. Fishing is, obviously, a popular local past time and a relatively easy skill to learn. Simply wandering around the edge of the bay can be an exercise in meditative, slow paced tourism.
Today, Strahan is a relatively untapped mecca for tourists wishing to take in the local area. Small shops and businesses dot the town’s harbour. Locals are friendly and unpretentious. Seafood is cheap and fresh, and activities of all sorts are available, including kayaking, jet boating, and all-terrain sand dune driving. Boat cruises along the Gordon River give travellers access to World Heritage Area wilderness, allowing them to travel through one of the last pristine temperate rainforests in the world, and showing off this truly unique part of Australia.