If you’re headed to Tasmania, don’t miss Strahan (pronounced “straw-n,” not “stray-han”). This small fishing town and former port located on the west coast of the region has been said to exemplify everything that Tasmanian tourism represents. Plus, it’s an ideal place to go if you’ve got a hankering for some truly enormous crab.
Located on the edge of striking Macquarie Harbor, Strahan was originally developed as a port access for the mining settlements in the area and was a pivotal point for the local timber industry at the time. It was also used for regular passenger and cargo shipping up until the early twentieth century, when it became increasingly considered too isolated to keep up with the progress of the times. As a result of being “left behind,” Strahan has retained a pristine, virginal quality that can be seen in its clean water and fresh air, as well as in the seemingly untouched rainforests that surround it.
With a population of less than 1000 people, Strahan has subsisted as the home to a small fishing community that braves the conditions of Hell’s Gate, a notoriously shallow and dangerous channel entrance to Macquarie Harbor. But in recent years it has been gaining momentum as a tourism hotspot, with people flocking to Strahan to take advantage of the scenic railway (the West Coast Wilderness railway that runs out of Regatta Point), countless cruises, and excursion flights it has begun to offer. With the only all-weather commercial airport in Western Tasmania, Strahan Airport, the remote town has become a sort of gateway to the southwest wilderness, as planes and helicopters use Strahan as their base when navigating the region. Strahan is also the base for boat trips to Sarah Island and the lower Gordon River.
Visitors to Strahan can feast on delectable seafood, peruse artisan shops, and check out the local Round Earth Theatre Company, which conducts explanatory tours of Sarah Island and shows daily performances of the play about Sarah Island, The Ship That Never Was, which, with over 5000 performances to-date, has become Australia’s longest running play.
Located about four hours west of Hobar, it’s recommended that conscientious visitors access Strahan via Queenstown to see the damage that relentless mining can do to a fragile environment.
There are a lot of options when it comes to Strahan accommodation. Visitors can choose from many hotels, bed and breakfasts, guesthouses, apartments, cottages and cabins, lodges and chalets, hostels, and camping.