Quietly nestled on the southwest coast of Tasmania lies the sleepy village of Strahan. The historic harbour-side town draws an avid crowd of history buffs thanks to its fascinating heritage and wilderness.
And while Strahan doesn’t have the white sandy beaches of the east or the wine regions of the north, it offers travellers a unique experience, far away from the scores of tourists arriving in Tasmania every day.
This guide covers all the best things to do in Strahan, from adventure to culture, budget activities to luxury experiences and includes my honest thoughts of whether it’s worth including a Strahan itinerary to your Tasmania bucket list.
Introduction to Strahan
Back in the day, Strahan was a major port that played a critical role in the business operations of the mining settlements that operated nearby. Its location was also important to the growing timber industry around Macquarie Harbour.
Today, Strahan attracts historians and travellers looking to experience the famous Gordon River cruises. It’s a small village with lots of character and what it lacks in nightlife, is made up for by its unique charm.
The best things to do in Strahan
There are plenty of things to do in Strahan and it’s the perfect location for families or friends exploring the west coast of Tasmania.
You only need two days to explore the region before heading off to your next destination.
Visit Hogarth Falls
- Hiking distance: 2.1km
- Time needed: 45 minutes
Conveniently located in Strahan village lies Hogarth Falls. The 2.1km return trail follows a gorgeous, rugged path through a rainforest that leads to the falls.
With lush green trees, overgrown ferns and a peaceful, tranquil atmosphere, it’s easy to see why this is one of the best things to do in Strahan.
Listed as one of Tasmania’s top 60 walks, the track is mostly flat and suitable for children.
The get to Hogarth Falls in Strahan, simply go to People’s Park which marks the starting point of the trail.
Enjoy the scenic Gordon River Cruise
- Time needed: 6 hours
- Tours run from 8:30am – 2:30pm
The famous Gordon River Cruise takes you on an epic adventure into the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. It’s one of the best things to do in Strahan and attracts travellers far and wide.
Departing from the waterfront in Strahan, you’ll head to Macquarie Harbour and Hells Gates. From there, the tour goes upstream to Gordon River to explore more of Strahan’s dark history.
The tour then takes you to Sarah Island, a 19th-century penal colony that was a settlement established for prisoners. Here, convicts were forced into exile and made to do manual labour as punishment.
You’ll also explore Heritage Landing, a rainforest filled with Huon Pines.
The 6-hour tour starts at 08:30 and includes lunch. There are various tickets to choose from but the upper deck options are by far the best (and they sell out fast).
Explore Strahan Village
Strahan is an interesting place – with its dark history and quiet streets, it has an eerie feel to it. While many travellers may be quick to book group tours, be sure to save some time to explore the town itself.
And it’s small so it won’t take too much time out of your busy schedule.
I recommend starting at the departure point of the Gordon River cruises (near the circle in Strahan Village) and following the path to Macquarie Harbour Sailing Club. If you’re looking for a longer walk, start at Piners Punt, Risbys Cove or even Regatta Point.
Budget travellers will love this as it’s one of the best free things to do in Strahan, Tasmania!
Coffee at The Coffee Shack
The Coffee Shack is an institution in Strahan!
If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat, a yummy muffin or a caffeine boost, be sure to stop here. But try get in early as their food sells out fast.
Go adventuring on the West Coast Wilderness Railway
- Time needed: 5 hours
- Tour runs from 10am – 2:15pm
The West Coast Wilderness Railway is one of the biggest Strahan attractions. The historic railway route from Queenstown to Strahan was once used to transport copper ore between the two areas.
There are various railway tours to take but I recommend the “Rack and Gorge”. This 4-hour journey departs from Queenstown and runs through the scenic King River Gorge before arriving in Dubbil Barril (and returns to Queenstown).
The “River and Rainforest” tour is another popular option as it starts in Strahan and also ventures to Dubbil Barril before returning to Strahan.
When purchasing your ticket, consider paying a bit more for the Wilderness Carriage. This option includes a glass of sparkling wine, a light lunch and hot beverages. The best part? You’ll have access to the open balcony where you can get up close to the forest and enjoy the epic views.
Visit Macquarie Heads
- Time needed: 2 hours
- Distance: 20-minute drive | 14km
Macquarie Heads are the headlands that meet at Hell’s Gates, the narrow, shallow entrance of Macquarie Harbour.
It’s a 20-minute drive from Strahan to the heads and the road is mostly dirt (but our small rental car made it – just drive slowly.) If you’re in an off-road vehicle, you’ll love it here! Several tracks lead from the main road and offer a thrilling 4×4 experience.
As you get closer to Macquarie Heads, you’ll pass a picnic area and a campsite from where you can access the beach.
A trip to Macquarie Heads is one of the best (free) things to do in Strahan. But if your itinerary is full with river cruises, railway trips and waterfall hikes, you can give this a miss.
Check out Ocean Beach
- Time needed: 1 hour
6km west of Strahan, close to Macquarie Heads, lies Ocean Beach. At 40km long, it’s Tasmania’s longest beach.
It’s wild and rugged, and not a great swimming beach, but definitely worth visiting if you have time for a beach walk.
Pair Ocean Beach with a trip to Macquarie Heads as it’s in the same direction.
Watch the performance “The Ship that Never Was”
- Time needed: 1.5 hours
- Schedule: Daily at 5:30 pm
Famed for being Australia’s longest-running theatre show, there’s no denying that The Ship that Never Was is an awesome activity to add to your Strahan itinerary.
The story describes how a group of convicts escaped Sarah Island.
Set is a small outdoor amphitheatre, just a short walk from the West Coast Visitor Information Centre, its a fun, interactive play for the whole family.
Drive the 99 bends to Queenstown
It’s about the journey – not only the destination!
One of my favourite things to do at Strahan is to take in the incredible scenery along the way.
The section of the Lyell Highway between Queenstown and Strahan is made up of rolling hills, sharp turns, and steep sections – but it’s a well-maintained road that all travellers will love!
Explore Tassie’s highest waterfall – Montezuma Falls
- Time needed: 3 hours
If you’re driving from Cradle Mountain to Strahan, be sure to stop at Montezuma Falls which can be found northeast of Zeehan. The walk through the lush forest to the 104m high waterfall is one of the most impressive trails I’ve ever explored.
While it’s a relatively flat trail, it is a lot further than Hogarth Falls in Strahan. The route isn’t a boardwalk or paved track so it often gets muddy and may not be suitable for younger kids as it’s an 11km return walk.
Indulge in a seafood buffet
42 Degrees Restaurant and Bar offers the best views of Strahan. Overlooking the harbour, it’s a great place to end the day of exploring.
Their seafood buffet is a must – I’m talking fresh prawns, oysters, salmon, mussels and more. And the price point is also affordable.
Visit the Iron Blow Lookout
Iron Blow is the site of one of the oldest mining ventures between Strahan and Queenstown.
The viewing deck is easily accessible from the parking area which is just off the 99 Bends drive.
Where to stay in Strahan
Strahan has several accommodation options to suit all budgets. It’s best to stay somewhere near the middle of town so that you’re close enough to walk to the attractions.
But if you’re looking for a quiet escape and something more remote, you’ll be spoiled for choice!
Salt Box Hideaway
For romance and remoteness, Salt Box Hideaway is the perfect place to stay in Strahan. With gorgeous views from your doorstep, friendly ducks walking around, and even a fire pit to roast marshmallows, the quiet cabin offers a magical experience best suited for couples.
You can check the reviews and prices here.
Aloft Boutique Accommodation
Just 5 minutes walk from Macquarie Harbour, you’ll find Aloft Boutique Accommodation in Strahan. The large private studios come fitted with a kitchenette and comfy bed, ideal for a good night’s rest after visiting all the Strahan attractions.
You can check the review and prices here.
How to get to Strahan
The drive from Hobart to Strahan is reason enough to visit the west coast of Tassie.
With the famous 99 Bends and gorgeous forests throughout, it’s a scenic 4-hour drive route that’s best done in a private vehicle. Depending on where you’re coming from, you can either head to Cradle Mountain after your visit or back to Hobart.
Is Strahan worth visiting?
Most people don’t have the luxury of time when travelling – I sure didn’t on my recent trip to Tasmania.
I was torn between exploring the beaches on the east or the historic landscapes of the west.
I chose the west! Did I love it as much as Cradle Mountain or Hobart? Not really!
It depends on how you prefer to travel. Do you want a beach holiday with a relaxed vibe? Are you a backpacker looking to meet people? Then perhaps give Strahan a miss.
But the town itself is so unique and beautiful. The beaches are cold and eerie and I felt as if I was on a different planet!
And that’s what made it so worth it.
Are you planning your trip to Strahan? Hit me up with any questions in the comments section below.
Looking to explore Tasmania? Check out my other posts
- 8 Best Cradle Mountain Walks
- How to get from Hobart to Cradle Mountain: What’s the best route to take?
- Hiking Hansons Peak in Cradle Mountain: A Detailed Guide on What to Expect
- The King Billy Walk in Cradle Mountain: Why This is The Best Short Walk in The Area
- The Enchanted Walk, Cradle Mountain: All You Need to Know
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