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Strahan - Raw Beauty On The Tassy West Coast
strahan tasmaniaTasmania is made primarily of World Heritage listed area as it covers around 20 per cent of the state. This beautiful scenery is at its most wild and beautiful on the island's West Coast. Here the crashing waves of the Southern Ocean and the uninhabited rocky shores collide, and are as unpredictable as the rapidly changing weather of the region. The area is largely uninhabited, so a journey down the West Coast will take you through age-old landscapes, ancient rainforest andmajestic gorges and cliff faces.

This practically deserted coastline is home to just one town, but what a town it is! The historical village of Strahan holds the keys to the World Heritage Area, and a visit here will unlock for you sights, sounds and experiences that will surpass even your wildest imaginations.

Just a three hour drive from Devonport (where the 'Spirit of Tasmania' docks), and four and a half hours from Hobart, Strahan enjoys an isolated position on the northern edge of the Macquaire Harbour. This is where the Gordon River and the King River empty into, making this the town's top destination for water recreational activity. The harbour is idyllic on a still day and you can enjoy the calm waters and watch the boats cruise by in style!

The town of Strahan boasts a rich history that is largely owed to the fact that the town was initially a base for businessmen seeking the Huon Pine that proliferates in the region. Just off shore on Sarah Island a penal colony was established, and it is now regarded as the worst colony in the country. Convicts used to row to shore through the notoriously dangerous entrance to the harbour, Hells Gate, and then harvest the Huon Pine before rowing back. A convict past and rich port heritage give Strahan a sense of character and charm, creating a unique atmosphere that many other Australian towns can't boast. Simply by walking down the main street, the Esplanade, you will be introduced to a whole new world of history.

The Esplanade is also home to numerous gift shops, and many of the products in these are crafted from Huon Pine harvested from the region. This wood is in high demand because it creates its own protective oil that makes it very durable, so you will be able to treasure these items forever. A tour of Morrisons Huon Pine Mill will enlight you even further on this subject and give you an idea of its importance to the area. The mill is located next to the visitors centre in Strahan, and is renowned for being one of the few of its kind to still cut with a reciprocating saw mill.

For another example of the area's pure natural beauty, be sure to pay a visit to the Huon forests. The drive here alone will take your breath away. However, if you want a to gain a completely different perspective on the area, jump on the West Coast Wilderness Railway, a steam-operated train that runs between Strahan and the inland town of Queenstown. This 35 kilometre guided tour takes you along a railway that boasts a 100 year-old history. Journey through rainforests that date back over 2000 years old and over a mountain range that is, well, as old as the hills! Its an adventure past some amazing sights and a journey into the history of the area too.

For views of the town from the water, embark on a river cruise up the mighty Gordon River. Its dense banks are habituated by vast amounts of bird and wild life, who all seem to come to life when the sun goes down and the moon is shining brightly in the night sky. The smooth flowing waters are also perfect for canoeing and kayaking, with hiring an easy solution if you don't have your own.

If serenity and isolation is what you are searching for, you can stop your looking at Ocean Beach. This 40 kilometre stretch of coastline is made up of hard sand, the crashing waves of the Southern Ocean and majestic sand dunes. A walk on the beach really does make you feel as if you are on the edge of the world, especially when you consider the waves here have not seen land for many thousands of kilometres. The stunning sunsets will enchant you and offer the perfect end to an eventful day of exploring the wild Strahan Coast.

A visit to Strahan will reward you with rich scenery, a cultural diversity like no other and some truly amazing Kodak moments. This is the perfect place to take a step back and live life outside the ordinary.

Christine Barton

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