Strahan dock, Ricky Eaves / Explore Australia Publishing

Population 635

This pretty little port on Macquarie Harbour, on Tasmania's west coast, is the last stop before a long stretch of ocean to Patagonia. Sometimes considered the loneliest place on earth, it was dubbed 'The Best Little Town in the World' by the Chicago Tribune and continues to attract visitors. Strahan (pronounced 'strawn') came into being as a penal colony operating from the isolated station of Sarah Island. Known as a particularly cruel environment, the station was shut down in 1833, but not before convict Alexander Pearce had managed to escape. Pearce and seven others set off for Hobart but found the terrain too tough an adversary to overcome. Pearce, alone when discovered, was suspected of cannibalism. The following year he again escaped and again killed and ate his cohort. Pearce finally made it to Hobart, where he was executed.

Visitor Information

The Esplanade; 1800 352 200.

Nearby national parks

Nearby towns

  • Queenstown

    The discovery of gold and other mineral resources in the Mount Lyell field in the 1880s led to the rapid emergence of Queenstown. Continuous...more

  • Zeehan

    After silver-lead deposits were discovered here in 1882, Zeehan boomed and between 1893 and 1908, the mine yielded ore worth $8 million,...more

  • Rosebery

    Like the nearby towns of Queenstown, Strahan and Zeehan, Rosebery found its economic niche in mining. The region is also known for its...more

In Town

Visitor centre The centre has an impressive historical display on Tasmania's south-west, including Aboriginal history, European settlement, and more recent events such as the fight to save the Franklin River from being dammed in the early 1980s. In the amphitheatre there is an audiovisual slideshow and a nightly performance of 'The Ship That Never Was', about convict escapes. The Esplanade.

Morrison's Mill: one of 4 remaining Huon pine sawmills in Tasmania; tours available; The Esplanade.

Tuts Whittle Wonders: carvings from forest wood; Reid St.

Ormiston House: built in 1899 and a fine example of Federation architecture surrounded by magnolia trees and expansive gardens. Morning and afternoon teas are served; Bay St.

Water Tower Hill Lookout: views of township and harbour; Esk St. 

West Coast Wilderness Railway: see Queenstown.


Franklin–Gordon Wild Rivers National Park This park now has World Heritage listing after an earlier state government tried to dam the Franklin River. Protests were so heated and widespread that the federal government and High Court stepped in and vetoed the proposal, saving the dense temperate rainforest and wild rivers that make up the park. Visitors can go canoeing and whitewater rafting, and there are many bush trails for experienced walkers. A 4-day walk to Frenchmans Cap takes in magnificent alpine scenery. The 40 min return walk to Donaghys Hill is easier and overlooks the Franklin and Collingwood rivers. Contact Parks & Wildlife Service on 1300 135 513. Gordon River cruises depart from Strahan. Read More Cruises run up river to Heritage Landing, where there is a short walk to a 2000-year-old Huon pine; bookings on 1800 420 500 and (03) 6471 7174. 36 km SE.

Peoples Park: popular picnic spot in botanical gardens setting with a 45 min return walk to Hogarth Falls through marked rainforest; 2 km E.

Ocean Beach: Tasmania’s longest beach (36 km) offers horseriding, beach fishing and the opportunity to see short-tailed shearwaters in their burrows Oct–Mar; 6 km W.

Henty Sand Dunes: vast sand dunes with sandboards and toboggans for hire; 12 km N.

Cape Sorell Lighthouse: 40 m high lighthouse built in 1899; 23 km SW.

Sarah Island: ruins of convict station with tours available; check with visitor centre; 29 km SE.

Scenic flights: bird's-eye views of Gordon River, Sir John Falls and Franklin River valley; bookings (03) 6461 7718.

Strathgordon: the place to see Tasmania’s massive hydro-electricity industry at work. Along Gordon River Road are lakes Pedder and Gordon, the Gordon Dam and the underground Gordon Power Station. Bushwalkers can enter Southwest National Park via the Creepy Crawly Nature Trail; 90 km SE.

South Coast Track: 6-to-9-day walk along the entirely uninhabited south coast for experienced trekkers. Starts at Cockle Creek and ends at Melaleuca, where you can continue walking north or take a prearranged flight out; 138 km SE.

Fishing spots near town

Bronte System 96 km

Trout anglers probably already know that Tasmania’s Central Highland lakes are among the best in the world. Many offer fly- fishers an opportunity to sight-fish for tailing trout around the lake margins.... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

The Overland Track 77 km

Deservedly the most well-known, multiday walking route in Australia, this 65- to 80-kilometre route through Cradle Mountain– Lake St Clair National Park is a classic (for national park information, see park entry... Find out more

Tarkine Trails 84 km

Delve deeply into the temperate rainforest of the Tarkine Wilderness on a multi-day bushwalk with Tarkine Trails. Unashamedly made up of conservation activists, the company is keen to show you why the Tarkine area should... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town

Franklin Manor

On the outskirts of Strahan, this gorgeous boutique hotel’s distinguished restaurant offers big but familiar flavours, such as the baked pork fillet with a warm apple and mango pudding, Calvados brandy jus and Thai... Find out more

Hamers Hotel

With a stylishly revamped interior, this unpretentious 1936 pub is one of those places where you feel instantly welcome. It’s often packed but you can always find a spot at the bar to swap stories with locals over... Find out more

Risby Cove

In this relaxed and beautiful restaurant diners can enjoy much of what Strahan has to offer: fresh cold-water seafood from Tasmania’s wild west coast, a stunningly picturesque waterfront location and a building... Find out more

Schwoch Seafoods

Tasmania is replete with great seafood eateries and this is one of the best. Owner Torsten Schwoch is a rock lobster and giant crab fisher, so he knows his seafood and his little cafe and takeaway has earned itself an... Find out more

Campsites around town

Macquarie Heads camping area 11 km

Strahan is a must-see destination in Tasmania, and the starting point for cruises along the iconic Gordon River. This grassed, shady camping area is 15 km west of town; follow Ocean Beach Rd, then head left along a rough... Find out more

Queenstown Cabin and Tourist Park 19 km

This cabin park in Queenstown’s south has a full list of facilities and is a good central site from which to explore the region’s mining history and extraordinary natural features. There is everything you... Find out more

Darwin Dam camping area 25 km

This remote camping area at the southern tip of Lake Burbury is located deep within the forest, 25 km south of Queenstown along the unsealed Mt Jukes Rd. There is free camping beside the dam and in clearings bedside the... Find out more

Thureau Hills camping area 27 km

This remote spot on the edge of pretty Lake Burbury is used by campervans, motorhomes and caravans, but there are no facilities so you need to bring your own everything. The lake offers fishing and boating, with a... Find out more

Lake Burbury Camping Ground 29 km

This vast scenic lake is the west coast’s aquatic playground, with watersports and excellent seasonal trout fishing (licences are required). Lake levels vary, reducing boat access in some years. Grassed picnic and... Find out more

Lake Tahune hut camping area (walk-in camping) 44 km

This hut, 9 km (4 hr) from Lake Vera, is heated with methylated spirit, which you will need to bring as supplies are limited. The hut sleeps 12 and there are tent sites just past the helipad. From here it is a 2 hr climb... Find out more

Lake Vera hut camping area (walk-in camping) 48 km

This coal-heated bushwalker hut sleeps 20 and is 16 km (6 hr) from the trailhead on the Lyell Hwy. There are tent sites across the bridge just past the hut. No fire allowed: gas/fuel stove-only area.... Find out more

Collingwood River camping area 50 km

This small camping area with no facilities is in the ferny rainforest on the eastern side of the Lyell Hwy (A10), where it crosses the Collingwood River, 40 km west of Derwent Bridge. This is where seasoned adventurers... Find out more

Loddon River camping area (walk-in camping) 52 km

This camping site is on the first leg of the track to Frenchmans Cap. There are no facilities here and it is a gas/fuel stove-only area.... Find out more

Philps Creek camping area (walk-in camping) 52 km

This walk-in bush campsite between the Frenchmans Cap trailhead and Lake Vera has no facilities. No fires: use a gas/fuel stove only.... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Discovery Holiday Parks – Strahan 1 km

Explore the impressive western coastal region from this resort-style park, only 1.5 km west of the centre of Strahan. It has good facilities and we stay here when we visit the town. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Queenstown Cabin and Tourist Park 19 km

This is a basic park with a range of facilities. It is the only park in the immediate area. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Treasure Island Caravan Park 30 km

This park is in a lovely rural setting with lots of trees. Facilities will suit travellers passing through. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Rosebery Cabin and Tourist Park 45 km

This is a small park with basic facilities, but good for an overnight stop or longer stay. Cash only is accepted.... Find out more

Lake St Clair Lodge 70 km

This park, on the southern shores of Lake St Clair, is 5 km from Derwent Bridge. It has basic national park-style amenities and is located next to the interpretive centre within the park boundary. A national park permit... Find out more

Discovery Holiday Parks – Cradle Mountain 81 km

Set in bushland just outside the World Heritage-listed Tasmanian wilderness area, this quality park has good facilities including a large recreation building with open fireplaces. It is a popular camping site for walkers... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Aloft Boutique 

After the long and winding drive to Strahan, this delightful apartment complex is a great spot to plan your next day’s travel. Settle in to the cosy loft with its sundeck views or spread yourself out in a... Find out more

Gordon Gateway

Catching the sun for most of the day and with unobscured views over Macquarie Harbour, these award-winning self-contained units and chalets are just a ten-minute walk around the shoreline from Strahan’s wharfside hub of... Find out more

Ormiston House

A hundred years ago Strahan’s fortunes were in mining, fishing and felling ancient Huon pines, desired for their fragrant workable timber. The grandeur of Ormiston House reflects those prosperous times, and today... Find out more

Risby Cove

Macquarie Harbour’s dark tannin-stained water comes from ancient rainforest soils, a process that has been happening for millennia, long before anyone was here to admire the perfect reflections it creates. The dusk... Find out more

Wheelhouse Luxury Apartments

This pair of glass-fronted luxury apartments hangs above Macquarie Harbour, affording cliff-top views of the harbour out to Hells Gates and the occasional storm front roaring in from the south-west. Inside, the feeling... Find out more

Eco-friendly places to stay around town

Waldheim Cabins 76 km

You can steal a march on everyone else in the morning by staying in historic cabins at a beautiful spot within Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park, operated by the Parks and Wildlife Service. The cabins are... Find out more

Cradle Mountain Lodge 79 km

Live in the lap of luxury – old style – with a warm and welcoming central lodge, surrounded by individual cabins. Like nearly any large lodge, it does not have a perfect environmental record, but this... Find out more

Mountain Valley, Loongana 98 km

Mountain Valley is off the beaten tourist track, situated around 64 kilometres south-west of Devonport (due south of Burnie). Visitors here stay in rustic cabins with open fireplaces on a private and remote 60-hectare... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Lake Burbury rest area 27 km

T/O 15km E of Queenstown (R) or 70km W of Derwent Bridge (L)

At the boat ramp 4km south of the highway.

Lake Burbury camping area 29 km

T/O 20km E of Queenstown (L) or 65km W of Derwent Bridge (R)

Near the lake, 1km west of the highway.

Rosebery park area 45 km

At Rosebery

On the banks of the river at Stitt Park on the south side of town.

Tullah park area 52 km

At Tullah

Off the main street into town on the shores of Lake Rosebery.

Franklin River park area 58 km

60km SE of Queenstown (R) or 25km NW of Derwent Bridge (L)

Parking area adjacent to the highway and above the picnic area.

Tullabardine Dam rest area 59 km

T/O 105km S of Somerset (L) or 1km N of Tullah (R)

At the dam 6km east of the highway.

Fossey River rest area 82 km

67km S of Somerset (L) or 39km N of Tullah (R)

Just off the highway among some trees.

Nive River rest area 95 km

44km SE of Derwent Bridge (R) or 5km N of Tarraleah (L)

Adjacent to the highway and on the riverbank.

Bronte Lagoon rest area 97 km

28km SE of Derwent Bridge (R) or 21km N of Tarraleah (L)

Adjacent to the highway on the shores of the lagoon.

Bradys Lake camping area 97 km

36km SE of Derwent Bridge (L) or 13km N of Tarraleah (R)

On the shores of the lake, 1km (unsealed) off the highway.

What's on around town

Mount Lyell Picnic: Australia Day, Jan; West Strahan Beach.

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