The small town of Strahan sits right in the middle of the rugged west coast of Tasmania. The town was formerly a busy port, servicing the mining and logging industries in the area.
Today the town is the perfect gateway for exploring the south-west wilderness. There are plenty of amazing things to do in Strahan Tasmania to keep you occupied.
In the 1980s, activists fought a successful campaign to protect the Gordon and Franklin Rivers. The area is now under the UNESCO umbrella, ensuring a pristine wilderness experience for visitors.
Strahan has plenty of options to help you get into nature, with tours departing from sea, land and air. In the evening you will find Strahan to be the perfect place to relax with it’s charming small town vibes.
Table of Contents
Best Things to do in Strahan Tasmania
West Coast Wilderness Railway
This is hands-down the most scenic steam railway experience in Australia. The stunning railway line cuts through the south-western wilderness, following the course of the King River. It easily makes it to the top spot of best things to do in Strahan Tasmania.
Due to the difficulty of the line, a rack and pinion system was used for the steepest sections. This is the only such system still operating in the southern hemisphere.
The best part is that the journey is still undertaken in the original locomotives. The beautiful carriages have been built using original designs operated on the railway.
Unfortunately the full day tour is not currently operating due to Covid related difficulties. The half-day tour from Strahan is by diesel locomotive and turns around at Dubbil Barril. This takes you deep into the rainforest however stops short of the rack and pinion section.
At this point in time, you will have to depart Queenstown on the half-day tour if you wish to experience the rack and pinion section. Check the website for further details and bookings.
Just 800m from the main strip in Strahan you will find the parking lot and trailhead for this waterfall. The walking trail is listed as one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks and passes through a beautiful mix of forest and rainforest.
The dense forest gives way to the pretty Hogarth Falls after 1.2km. This waterfall is best seen after rains and the flow can be a little weak in the drier seasons.
If you are lucky you might see platypus in the pool and river beneath the falls. The track is one way so you will return on the same path back to the start point for a total length of 2.4km.
Gordon River Cruise
Waterways have always been used to access the most remote of wilderness areas. Taking a cruise on the Gordon River is the best and most spectacular way to experience the inaccessible wilderness of the south-west.
This pristine river is one of the most famous natural landmarks of Tasmania and a must-see on anyone’s visit to the west coast.
There are two companies operating cruises from Strahan. Both are highly rated and offer much the same itinerary. Your trip will include a visit to Sarah Island (the subject of the play in a later section) and passes by the ‘Hell’s Gates’ rock formation.
Lunch is served on board and drinks are available for an extra fee. There is also a premium option available which includes drinks and access to the upper deck.
You can choose from either a morning cruise or an evening dinner cruise. This will offer you the chance of catching a beautiful sunset on your way back to Strahan.
Morrisons Huon Pine Sawmill
This mostly original sawmill from the 1940s in no longer operational but offers historical talks and demonstrations. It was and still is a family owned enterprise but they now specialise in beautiful hand-crafted wooden items.
Visiting is free, as it the talk and demonstration at 3pm each day. Huon Pine grows only in Tasmania and was prized for it’s properties of resisting rot.
The wood looks and smells beautiful so makes the perfect base for crafting unique items. This is a great spot to pick up a functional souvenir or gift while checking out all the things to do in Strahan Tasmania.
The Ship That Never Was
This play lays claim to being Australia’s longest continually operating performance. In production for over 25 years, each night the performers re-create the story of a convict escape from Sarah Island.
This island was used as a penal colony and had a reputation for being one of the worst places to be for a convict. The play tells the tale of convict shipwrights who managed a daring escape on a vessel they had just completed.
The small, open air theatre is right on the waterfront in town. The play runs every day at 5:30pm over high season but has reduced performances over winter. See their website for times and bookings.
This huge dune system covers an area of 15km by 7km along the coast to the north of Strahan. They are formed by the super strong westerly winds that hammer the coastline here.
You can climb to the top for a view of Ocean Beach. If you want some excitement then hire a toboggan and slide down the biggest one you can find! They can be rented from the BIG4 caravan park reception.
Some of the dunes are as high as 30m and provide a great vantage point for sunset. The sun goes down over the ocean here and on a clear day will cast beautiful golden light onto the dunes.
Strahan Foreshore Walk
A walk along the Esplanade is where you’ll find almost all of the things to do in Strahan Tasmania. This is a really pleasant walk at any time of day and provides the best view of the small strip of historical buildings on the waterfront.
The small harbour has some interesting old boats and provides great photography opportunities around sunset. You can follow the walking trail all the way to the train station at one end and the sawmill at the other.
West Coast Reflections Exhibition
This exhibit is housed within the West Coast Visitor Information Centre. A wide variety of local people helped to construct this artistic and informative exhibition.
This unique glimpse of history borrowed talents as diverse as gardeners and woodturners to writers and architects. The result is an immersive and fun story of the history of the west coast.
Sunset Dinner at View 42°
This restaurant is perched up above the historical waterfront strip and provides the perfect view to accompany your meal. They offer a fixed price menu with two or three courses.
Their deck is the perfect spot for a late afternoon drink, with views of the harbour and old buildings bathed in golden light. The food is focussed on fresh, seasonal Tasmanian produce, with plenty of delicious seafood.
See the website here for bookings and an example menu.
How to get to Strahan
You will need a car to reach Strahan. If flying into Tasmania then click here to find the cheapest car rental for your trip.
The ferry terminal in Devonport: 227km / 2hr 50min
Launceston Domestic Airport: 274km / 3.5hr
Hobart International Airport: 302km / 4hr 20min
Best Time to Visit Strahan
The best time to visit Strahan is from September to April. These months generally have reasonable weather and temperatures. For the best chance of dry and sunny weather then you should visit in the summer months.
Winter is a cold and grey in Tasmania and many tourism providers decrease or suspend operations.
How Long to Spend in Strahan
Strahan is a small place and it is possible to do everything on this list in 2 days/1 night if you plan it right. For a more relaxed and pleasant experience then 2 nights will be plenty.
Our Awesome 10 Day Tasmania Itinerary includes a night in Strahan and the chance to see and do everything on this list.
The Best Tours That Include Strahan
Most longer tours in Tasmania include a stop here due to all the great things to do in Strahan and surrounds. Check out the top picks below so you don’t miss out on this great little town.
Tasmania 7 Day Tour in Circle – This highly rated small-group tour covers many of Tasmania’s best attractions. Note that the first day is an arrival day in Hobart so you are technically on tour for 6 days.
You’ll get to see Port Arthur, Bicheno, Launceston, Cradle Mountain, and Queenstown. Visit UNESCO World Heritage sites, discover the convict history of Tasmania and explore some of the beautiful wilderness.
6-Day Tasmanian Explorer Adventure Tour – This tour packs a lot of great sights and experiences into 6 days. They spend a good amount of time in Strahan allowing you to explore pretty much everything on this list.
Accommodation, park-passes and transportation are all covered so you can focus on the experience. Being an adventure tour there are some great walks and the super knowledgeable guides will show you some really special spots.
5-Day Best of Tasmania Tour from Hobart – If you want to get the most out of 5 days in Tasmania then check out this tour. It is adventure oriented and active so great for backpackers. It is also the best priced tour but the groups are larger than above.
They follow much the same itinerary as above however there are a couple less stops at each destination. You will still get to experience some of the top sights in Tasmania.
Where to Stay in Strahan
Strahan Backpackers – Cute little private cabins as well as dorm rooms. Amazing value and right near the centre of town.
Castaway Holiday Apartments – This property is right near the centre of town and walking distance to all the attractions. The best part is the kitchen so you can save money cooking your own meals (Strahan has limited restaurant options and they can book out).
Risby Cove – Located right on the waterfront and with their own restaurant and bar. Very nice décor and timber features.
Read More on Tasmania
- 10 Day Tasmania Itinerary – A Bucket List Tasmanian Road Trip
- The 10 Best Things to do in Stanley, Tasmania
- The Perfect Maria Island Day Trip Itinerary
- Hiking Cradle Mountain – The Ultimate Guide
- 11 Awesome Day Trips from Hobart
- 9 Great Things to do in Richmond, Tasmania
- 15 Incredible Natural Landmarks of Tasmania
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