Strahan

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

Understand[edit]

Strahan is about 300 km west of the state capital of Hobart, and known as one of the most isolated (and beautiful) parts of Australia. Originally a staging place for explorers into the South West, and 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 twentieth 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 a small fishing industry that still operates out of Strahan.

Get in[edit]

West Coast Wilderness Railway

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 takes usually 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.

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

The ordinary railway connection between Strahan and Zeehan (and the rest of Tasmania closed in 1960) the old railway line becoming a road that provides access to views of Ocean Beach and the West Coast Range. A similar number of the old railway lines on the west coast have become walking and driving trails [1]

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 currently 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 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 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 [2] 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.

Get around[edit]

Foreshore walk

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

In recent times logging trucks on the Strahan to Zeehan road are something to watch out for.

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)

See[edit]

Cape Sorell and Ocean Beach
  •    Cape Sorell Lighthouse. Constructed in 1899, 40 metres high and 2.5 metres in diameter.
  • Macquarie Harbour Cruises +61 1800 420 155. There are a number of cruises which 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.
  •    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.
  •    Sarah Island. Former convict station, dating from 1822. Ruins of buildings still visible.
  • Strahan Wharf Centre +61 1800 420 555. Comprehensive display recounting the story of the Tasmanian west coast.
The Ship That Never Was Play
  •    The Ship That Never Was +61-3-6471-7700. 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.
  • Water Tower Hill LookoutEsk Street.. Excellent view of town and Macquarie Harbour.

Do[edit]

  • West Coast Yacht Charters +61-3-6471-7422. "Stormbreakers" at The Esplanade. Sailing tours to the Gordon River, etc.
  • Gordon River Cruises +61 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.

Buy[edit]

Eat[edit]

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

  • View 42 +61-3-6471-4200. Jolly Street. Seafood buffet restaurant and wine cellar. Open for breakfast and dinner.
  • Hamers Bar and Grill +61-3-6471-4200. 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 +61-3-6471-4200. The Esplanade. Fresh cooked seafood for eat in or take away. Open for lunch or dinner.
  • Wild River Pizza and Pasta Bar +61-3-6471-4200. The Esplande. Local twist on old favourites, pizza made to order and fresh pasta dishes.

Drink[edit]

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

Sleep[edit]

  • Cape Horn Accommodation +61-3-6471-7469. Frazer Street. Bed and breakfast.
  • Driftwood Strahan Villas in Strahan34 Harvey Street +61 3 6471 7618fax: +61 3 6471 7619. Family owned accommodation with 8 fully self-contained holiday apartments. With kitchens and separate bedrooms - ideal for families, couples and business travellers. One villas has Disabled Access facilities.
  • Gordon Gateway Chalet +61-3-6471-7165. Grining Street. Self-contained cottage.
  • Greengate Cottages21 Merideth Street +61-3-6471-7456. Self-contained cottages.
  • Macquarie Heads Camping Ground +61-3-6471-7261. At Macquarie Heads.
  • Sharonlee Strahan Villas +61-3-6471-7224. Andrew Street. Sharonlee villas offer spacious 2 bedroom self contained apartments set in a garden setting. All villas are ground floor with carports and located close to all the attractions of Strahan.
  • Shoalhaven Chalet Bed & Breakfast1 Gaffney Street +61-3-6471-7400.
  • Strahan Colonial Cottage - Reid Street. Tel: +61-3-6471-7612 or +61-3-6471-7019.
  • Strahan Holiday Park10 Jones Street +61-3-6471-7442. 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 Lodge Bayview Cottages +61-3-6471-7142. Ocean Beach Road. Self-contained cottages.
  • Strahan Motor Inn +61-3-6471-7160. Jolly Street. Also has restaurant.
  • Strahan Village Cottages Motel +61-3-6471-7191. The Esplanade. Also has restaurant.
  • West Strahan Caravan Park +61-3-6471-7239. The Esplanade.
  • Marsden CourtAndrew Street (Strahan),  +61-3-6471-7724. Check-in: 14.00, check-out: 10.00. 8 spacious studio and 4 x 2 bedroom self contained apartments set in landscaped gardens in a secure gated community close to all the attractions of Strahan and this World Heritage area. 125-200.

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