Strahan (pronounced "straw-n") is on Tasmania's west coast at Long Bay at the northern end of Macquarie Harbour.
Strahan is about 300 km west of the state capital of Hobart, in one of the most isolated (and beautiful) parts of Australia. It is also an excellent base where the West Coast Wilderness Railway can be accessed, Gordon River cruises can be taken, and other adventurous ways of negotiating the western edges of the South West World Heritage area.
It began as a staging place for explorers into the South West, and mining areas in the Western areas of the state. It later became a mining port and was the main timber industry and general shipping centre for the area.
For most of the 20th century Strahan was smaller than Queenstown and Zeehan – and served as a port for both locations. Now Queenstown and Zeehan are ghosts of their former glory, and Strahan is now promoted as the main tourist centre for Tasmania's west coast region.
It is considered to be the 'gateway' for boats, planes and helicopters taking visitors to the world heritage southwest wilderness area.
There is also an oceangoing small fishing industry that still operates out of Strahan. In the harbour to the south of Strahan there are a number salmon farming ventures, which can be seen from the boats that travel to Sarah Island or the Gordon River.
Visitor information centre edit
Get in edit
By car edit
From the south east, take the A10 highway from Hobart, the Lyell Highway via Queenstown. This is about a 300-km drive and usually takes about 5 hours. From the north coast, take the A10 which passes through Tullah, there are two ways to Strahan from just south of Tullah:
- Rosebery, Zeehan and via B27 down to Strahan
- Take B28 that runs just west of the spectacular West Coast Range, down to Queenstown, and then the B24 which runs to Strahan
By train edit
The West Coast Wilderness railway has re-commenced operations following a time of changing ownership and maintenance on the line.
There are services that use Strahan as a base for a trip to Dubbil Barril and to Queenstown.
The ordinary railway connection between Strahan, Zeehan, and the rest of Tasmania closed in 1960. The old railway line became a road that provides access to views of Ocean Beach and the West Coast Range.
Other old railway lines on the west coast have become walking and driving trails.
By plane edit
Strahan Airport - Although helicopter and fixed-wing flights operate from here for charter flights into the south-west wilderness area, or over locations in western Tasmania, there are no regular passenger flights to Strahan from other airports in Tasmania or the mainland. Regional Express (Rex) fly to Burnie daily and Jetstar and Qantas fly to Launceston Airport.
By boat edit
Not implausible - commercial yachts or launches are not known as regular visitors - Hells Gates (the head of Macquarie Harbour) is the main restriction due to shallow draught and difficult maneuvering. Private larger sized sea-going boats have been seen at the wharf in Strahan and Regatta Point over time, although regular shipping services relative to the mining industry in Zeehan or Queenstown had mainly ceased in the mid-1970s. The possibility of arranging a passage from mainland Australia, the north coast of Tasmania or Hobart by private boat in the summer time is very low, but possible, and would require patience to track down whether anyone was venturing into the west coast waters. It would be very ill-advised to hitch a ride with anyone who did not have local knowledge (or access to it) of the negotiation of Hells Gates and West Coast conditions - Captain Fathom  is a very good indicator of the height of the swells that would be encountered. A visit to Ocean Beach for a view during a storm is also a salient and sobering experience for anyone considering access from the ocean.
By bus edit
TassieLink runs a service from Hobart to Strahan a couple of days a week. It's a big trip (5 hr plus a wait at Lake St Clair), but will get you in.
Get around edit
Strahan is connected to other parts of the west coast by a bus service. There is no local service within the Strahan/Regatta Point area, and a significant number of features of the two locations can be walked.
By bike edit
Strahan and Regatta Point are bike friendly, despite the immediate hill up to the level at which part of Regatta Point and Strahan are on.
By car edit
Most of the roads on the west coast are sealed and easily usable by cars of any capacity. The roads further off the mainroads can be both unsealed, and not suitable for domestic vehicles. The more out of the way locations on the map which appear to be accessible
Watch out for logging trucks on the Strahan to Zeehan road.
By foot edit
A number of the local attractions like Peoples Park require walking into.
By tours edit
Strahan is the base for some of the tours in the area, others start in Queenstown.
By boat edit
Boating in Macquarie Harbour is safe, but all weather warnings and boating regulations are well worth taking note of. Travelling out to sea through Hells Gates is not recommended. (See above in 'Get In' section about boating out to sea, or arriving by boat.)
- 1 Cape Sorell Lighthouse. Constructed in 1899, 40 m high and 2.5 m in diameter.
- Macquarie Harbour Cruises, toll-free: 1800 420 155. Cruises travel across Macquarie Harbour and up the lower reaches of the Gordon River. River cruises encompass the World Heritage Area, Hells Gates, the local aquaculture industry and Sarah Island.
- 2 Ocean Beach. Desolate and beautiful. 40 km long with large dunes. Waves hitting here have travelled all the way from Patagonia in South America.
- People's Park and Hogarth Falls. At the northernmost end of Strahan Harbour, the Park is a mix of natural forest and botanical gardens, with picnic and camping facilities. From here it's a 30-minute walk to the Hogarth Falls through rainforest.
- 3 Sarah Island. Former convict station, dating from 1822. Ruins of buildings still visible.
- Strahan Wharf Centre, toll-free: 1800 420 555. Comprehensive display recounting the story of West Coast Tasmania.
- 4 The Ship That Never Was, Strahan Visitors Centre, at The Esplanade, ☏ . Longest-running theatre production in Tasmania; the true story of the escape from Sarah Island, by the Round Earth Theatre Company. Adults $25.00, concession $20.00, student (13 yr & over) $12.50, children (4-12 yr) $2.50.
- 5 Water Tower Hill Lookout, Tamar St. Excellent view of town and Macquarie Harbour.
- West Coast Yacht Charters, ☏ . "Stormbreakers" at The Esplanade. Sailing tours to the Gordon River, etc.
- Gordon River Cruises, toll-free: 1800 420 555. Six-hour cruise with professional guides, includes Hell's Gates, Macquarie Harbour, Sarah Island and The Gordon River World Heritage Area.
- There are a range of adventure tours available in Strahan, including Wilderness Air, Wild Rivers Jet Rides, Hell's Gates Wilderness Tours, Seair Adventure Charters, in addition to the various trips around the Gordon River, operated by World Heritage Cruises and Gordon River Cruises. Details and bookings are available at the Strahan Visitors Centre.
- Wilderness Woodworks Strahan, 12 The Esplanade, ☏ . Crafts people using only salvaged and reclaimed Huon Pine to produce original and functional wooden articles.
Several of the small shops in town offer fresh crayfish by request, see the signs posted outside for availability.
- Franklin Manor Restaurant, The Esplanade, ☏ . Also a boutique guest house.
- Ormiston House, The Esplanade, ☏ .
- The Strahan Village, The Esplanade, ☏ .
- View 42, Jolly Street, ☏ . Seafood buffet restaurant and wine cellar. Open for breakfast and dinner.
- Hamers Bar and Grill, The Esplande, ☏ . Up market counter meal featuring a variety of Australian dishes. Has a public bar and bottle shop attached.
- Fish Cafe on the Wharf, The Esplanade, ☏ . Fresh cooked seafood for eat in or take away. Open for lunch or dinner.
- Wild River Pizza and Pasta Bar, The Esplanade, ☏ . Local twist on old favourites, pizza made to order and fresh pasta dishes.
- Hamers Hotel, The Esplanade, ☏ . Public bar featuring cosy log fires and beautifully decorated to showcase the region's maritime history.
Strahan has a lot more accommodation than most towns of its size, mainly because it's the tourist centre of Western Tasmania.
- 1 Aldermere Estate Luxury Accommodation, 27 Harvey Street, firstname.lastname@example.org. 8 self-contained apartments.
- 2 All Inn Strahan, 22 Meredith St, email@example.com. Self-contained condominiums.
- 3 Aloft Boutique Accommodation, 15 Reid Street, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Self-contained apartments and studios.
- Bushman's Bar, Cafe, & Accommodation, 1 Harold Street, ☏ , email@example.com. Lodge.
- Cape Horn Accommodation, Frazer Street, ☏ . Bed and breakfast.
- Castaway Holiday Apartments, 12 Harvey Street, firstname.lastname@example.org. 2 bedroom self-contained apartments
- Driftwood Strahan Villas in Strahan, 34 Harvey Street, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. Family-owned accommodation with 8 fully self-contained holiday apartments. With kitchens and separate bedrooms. One villa has disabled access facilities.
- Franklin Manor Bed & Breakfast, 75 Esplanade, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Boutique guest house (14 rooms plus 4 apartments) with restaurant. No smoking.
- Glenaire Apartments, Meredith St, email@example.com. condominiums
- Gordon Gateway Chalet, 4 Grining Street, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Self-contained cottage. Studio units sleeping four persons.
- Greengate Cottages, 9 Merideth Street, ☏ , email@example.com. Self-contained cottages.
- Gull Cottage, The Esplanade, ☏ .
- Harbour Views Apartments, 1 Charles Street, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Kerrellie Cottages, 6 Reid Street, email@example.com. cottages
- Kitty's Place, 5-7 Innes Street West. specialty inn
- Macquarie Heads Camping Ground, ☏ . At Macquarie Heads.
- Marsden Court, 23 Andrew Street, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. 8 spacious studio and 4 x 2 bedroom self-contained apartments set in landscaped gardens in a secure gated community. $125–200.
- McIntosh Cottages, 18 Harvey Street, ☏ .
- Motel Strahan, 3 Andrew St, email@example.com. motel
- Ormiston House Bed & Breakfast, 1 Esplanade, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 5 well-sized, antique-filled rooms in five-star accommodation in historic building.
- Regatta Point Tavern & Holiday Villas, 125-129 Esplanade, ☏ . condominiums
- Risby Cove, Esplanade, email@example.com. studios and suites
- Risby House, Lot 1, Lodder Street, ☏ . Holiday units.
- Sailors Rest Apartment, Harvey Street, ☏ .
- Sharonlee Strahan Villas, 23 Andrew Street, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Sharonlee villas offer spacious 2-bedroom self-contained apartments set in a garden setting. All villas are ground floor with carports and are close to all the attractions of Strahan.
- Shoalhaven Chalet Bed & Breakfast, 1 Gaffney Street, ☏ .
- Strahan Beach Tourist Park, 1 Beach Street, email@example.com.
- Strahan Bungalows, cnr Andrew & Harvey Sts, firstname.lastname@example.org. Queen Deluxe Suite and two-bedroom bungalows
- Strahan Holiday Park, 10 Jones Street, ☏ . Accommodation ranges from large cottages sleeping 6-10 people to deluxe cabins, standard cabins and budget on-site units, all self-contained. Powered & unpowered camping/caravan sites also available. 4-acre site about 150 m from West Strahan Beach.
- Strahan Holiday Retreat (BIG4 Strahan Holiday Retreat), 8-10 Innes St West, email@example.com. self-contained cabin
- Strahan Lodge Bayview Cottages, Ocean Beach Road, ☏ . Self-contained cottages.
- Strahan Motor Inn, Jolly Street, ☏ . Also has restaurant.
- Strahan Village Cottages Motel, The Esplanade, building A, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Also has restaurant.
- Strahan Youth Hostel (Strahan Backpackers), 43 Harvey Street, ☏ , email@example.com.
- The Crays Accommodation, 59 Esplanade, firstname.lastname@example.org. six simple studios and cottages
- The Piners Loft Apartment, The Esplanade, ☏ .
- West Strahan Caravan Park, The Esplanade, ☏ .
- Wheelhouse Apartments, 4 Frazer St, email@example.com. two-bedroom town houses
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- It is possible to charter aeroplanes or helicopters (in season) to travel over parts of the Southwest Wilderness.