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port and town in Western Tasmania, Australia

Strahan (pronounced "straw-n") is on Tasmania's west coast at Long Bay at the northern end of Macquarie Harbour.

UnderstandEdit

Strahan is about 300 km west of the state capital of Hobart, on 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.

Get inEdit

 
West Coast Wilderness Railway at Regatta Point terminus

By carEdit

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 trainEdit

The West Coast Wilderness railway has re-commenced operations following a time of changing ownership and maintenance on the line.

The West Coast Wilderness Railway operates a railway line between Queenstown and Strahan, a distance of 34 km.

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 planeEdit

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 Virgin Blue, Jetstar and Qantas flying to Launceston Airport.

By boatEdit

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 the mining industry in Zeehan or Queenstown had mainly ceased in the mid-1970s. The possibility of being able to arrange a passage from the 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 [1] 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 busEdit

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 aroundEdit

 
Foreshore walk from Strahan to Regatta Point

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 bikeEdit

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 carEdit

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 footEdit

A number of the local attractions like Peoples Park require walking into.

By toursEdit

Strahan is the base for some of the tours in the area, others start in Queenstown.

By boatEdit

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.)

SeeEdit

 
Cape Sorell and Ocean Beach from a high point on the road to Zeehan
  • 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 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 the Tasmanian west coast.
 
The Ship That Never Was performance
  • 4 The Ship That Never Was, Strahan Visitors Centre, at The Esplanade, +61 3 6471 7700. 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.
  • Visitors Information Centre, The Esplanade, +61 3-6472-6800. Good place to check first. The Government of Tasmania sponsors a web site just for the town of Strahan.
  • Water Tower Hill Lookout, Esk Street.. Excellent view of town and Macquarie Harbour.

DoEdit

  • West Coast Yacht Charters, +61 3-6471-7422. "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.

BuyEdit

EatEdit

Several of the small shops in town offer fresh crayfish by request, see the signs posted outside for availability.

  • Franklin Manor Restaurant, The Esplanade, +61 3-6471-7247. Also a boutique guest house.
  • Ormiston House, The Esplanade, +61 3-6471-7077.
  • The Strahan Village, The Esplanade, +61 3-6471-4200.
  • View 42, Jolly Street, +61 3-6471-4200. Seafood buffet restaurant and wine cellar. Open for breakfast and dinner.
  • Hamers Bar and Grill, The Esplande, +61 3-6471-4200. 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, +61 3-6471-4200. Fresh cooked seafood for eat in or take away. Open for lunch or dinner.
  • Wild River Pizza and Pasta Bar, The Esplanade, +61 3-6471-4200. Local twist on old favourites, pizza made to order and fresh pasta dishes.
  • Banjos, The Esplanade. Great bakery, fantastic meals.

DrinkEdit

  • Hamers Hotel, The Esplanade, +61 3-6471-4200. Public bar featuring cosy log fires and beautifully decorated to showcase the region's maritime history.

SleepEdit

Go nextEdit

SouthEdit

  • It is possible to charter aeroplanes or helicopters (in season) to travel over parts of the south west wilderness.

NorthEdit

EastEdit

This city travel guide to Strahan is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.