Strahan is located on Tasmania's west coast, by road approximately 290 km north-west of Hobart and 270 km south-west of Launceston, on the western shore of Macquarie Harbour. The average temperatures in summer vary between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius, while in winter the range is 4 to 12 degrees.
In its early years Strahan was a timber and fishing town, and was a major port in the region's mining boom of the late 1800s. On Macquarie Harbour, south-east of the town, is Sarah Island, which was one of Tasmania's most brutal penal colonies, as depicted in Marcus Clarke's "For the Term of His Natural Life".
Until 1982 it remained a quiet fishing village - it was in this year the town was the centre stage for the 'Fight for the Franklin', an Australia-wide fight to prevent the Franklin River from being dammed for a proposed hydro-electric development. The fight to stop the development was successful, and since 1982 tourism has become Strahan's major industry, the town acting as the gateway to several wilderness wonders, including the Gordon-Franklin Wild Rivers National Park. Visitors can explore these wilderness areas in a variety of ways - half and full day cruises, yacht charters, jet boats, helicopter and seaplane scenic flights, 4WD tours, rafting and kayaking tours, trout fishing tours and more.
Ocean Beach, 6 km west of Strahan, is Tasmania's longest beach, 33 km in length. Keep an eye out here for the platypuses inhabiting the small creeks that run to the beach. There is also a muttonbird (shearwater) rookery here in season (October to March). Along this stretch of beach are the Henty Sand Dunes, the largest moving dune system in Tasmania, with guided 4 wheel motor bike tours available. If you decide to explore the beach on your own in a 4WD vehicle, beware of quicksand in some locations, particularly in the winter.
In addition to its tourism industry Strahan remains a fishing town, serving as an anchorage for crayfish, abalone and shark fishing fleets. The main street, The Esplanade, curves around Strahan Harbour, and is lined with accommodation
, restaurants, cafes, galleries and craft stores. It is also on The Esplanade that you'll find the Strahan Visitor Centre, where you can find out more of the history of the town, through multimedia displays and theatre. Next door is Morrison's Sawmill, one of the oldest working mills in the state, where you can watch the joinery producing furniture and other goods, or purchase small offcuts of the rare Huon pine.
Good sources of information for travellers exploring the wilderness areas are the offices of Forestry Tasmania and the National Parks and Wildlife, both situated in the centre of town.
There are some pleasant diversions close to the town. These include the Peoples Park Rainforest Walk to Hogarth Falls, Strahan Historic Foreshore Walkway, Swan Bay picnic area and lookout and West Strahan beach, where there is safe swimming and a barbeque and picnic area. The lookout at Water Tower Hill has fine views over the town and harbour.
Piners Festival (November) celebrates the pine-getters' culture including storytelling, boat races and wood chopping competitions
Things to do:
Walks - Peoples Park Rainforest Walk to Hogarth Falls, Strahan Historic Foreshore Walkway
Picnics - West Strahan beach for safe swimming, Swan Bay
Lookouts - Swan Bay, Water Tower Hill
Strahan Visitor Centre - The Esplanade
In the area:
Gordon-Franklin Wild Rivers National Park - cruises, jet boats, scenic flights and more
Ocean Beach - platypuses, muttonbirds
Henty Sand Dunes