Strahan Tourism & Travel
Strahan, population 701, is the only coastal town on the unprotected western side of Tasmania. The British invented this place as the ultimate penal colony. Named after Governor Lachlan Macquarie this 50 kilometres long harbour opens to the sea through the narrow, eddying waters of Hell's Gates and receives the waters of the King and Gordon Rivers.
On a clear day Macquarie Harbour is like a mirror. Its water is brown from the button grass, which grows on the riverbanks and its shores are heavily wooded. When the convicts lived and worked here, it was common for them to row from Sarah Island to the Gordon River, spend the day cutting down huon pines, and then row back. The harbour may look beautiful but it has seen great hardship and suffering.
There are a number of cruises, which leave Strahan and travel across Macquarie Harbour and up the lower reaches of the Gordon River.
Hells Gate was named by the convicts who came to Macquarie Harbour. It captures the dangers of the narrow entrance as well as the idea that it was the entrance to one of the most isolated places on earth.
A convict station was established on Sarah Island. This was an act of craziness as the island had neither a regular water supply water had to be shipped 6 km from Phillips Island each day nor good soil.
The convicts lived in cold and harsh conditions. As early as 1826 the governor was realising that Sarah Island was unsatisfactory. By 1834 the settlement had been abandoned and a new penal settlement had been established at Port Arthur.
Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park
Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park has one of Australias great wild river systems that attract white water rafters from all over the world. Near the junction of the Gordon and the Franklin rivers, the Franklin carves through a belt of limestone where water-eroded caves harbour a rich history of Aboriginal life.
Several lookouts and nature walks branch out in the northern area with views over glacier-sculpted valleys and mountains.
Easy walk trails at Franklin River, Collingwood River and Nelson Falls lead through the rainforest. High rainfall and melting snow feed these cold climate forests of Antartic beech, sassafras, leatherwood and native pines.
Located 83 kilometres south from Devonport is Cradle Mountain. Cradle Mountain is the central feature of the World Heritage Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. The park covers an area of 124 942 hectares, which is characterised by a rugged, glaciated landscape with over 25 major peaks and a wide range of glacial formations, glacial lakes, valleys and waterfalls.
The area was glaciated during the last ice age about 10 000 years ago when a huge 6 km ice cap formed and glaciers flowed from its edges carving the landscape into dramatic shapes with their inexorable erosive powers.
See Cradle Mountain mirrored in pine-fringed Dove Lake. Take one of the short walks from the lake, or enjoy a scenic flight or trail ride from Cradle Valley.