Unforgettable Gordon River Cruise
at Strahan

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I will never forget visiting Strahan and taking a Gordon River Cruise.

For a town with a population of around 700, I was surprised to find that the town centre was very touristy. The upside is that you do not need to search too far for information on attractions. It's readily available right along the main street.

We boarded the Gordon River cruise boat around 9am. From Strahan, the boat travelled at high speed to the harbour entrance, known as Hells Gates. Where did this name come from? Well convicts heading for the Sarah Island penal settlement had to pass this way. And this was the name they came up with, in anticipation of what life was going to be like for them. Sounded pretty grim all right...

At Hells Gates our cruise boat left the safety of the harbour and travelled out into open sea for a little while. This allowed us a brief taste of the Roaring Forties, the notoriously powerful westerly winds found between 40 and 50 degrees latitude. And this is exactly where Tasmania is located.

Not certain how well my sea legs would hold up, I was thankful we did not stay out there too long! But yes I definitely got a feel for what it must have been like for mariners and convicts alike who found themselves at the mercy of these winds. It gave new meaning to the expression "caught between the devil and the deep blue sea"!

Bonnet Island Lighthouse

As the boat travelled back into the harbour, I noticed a few lighthouses. This is a picture of the Bonnet Island lighthouse. I wonder what it would be like to live there...

Macquarie Harbour salmon farm

Soon after, we passed a salmon farm. It was a case of great timing, as we were passing just when the fish were being fed. We did not miss that photo opportunity either!

The boat stopped at Sarah Island where we viewed the historic remains of one of the first penal settlements in Tasmania. The guide told us about life on Sarah Island during the time of the convicts. We were astounded at what we learnt about the attempted escapes, floggings and brutal conditions.

Huon pine

From Sarah Island, the boat travelled up the Gordon River to Heritage Landing. We had a stop there, allowing us to take a nature walk and admire the beauty of an ancient Huon Pine forest (picture on right).

Back on the boat, we tucked into a delicious buffet lunch. I had never been interested in salmon before, but decided to give it a try. I was surprised to discover that I very much liked the taste of it.

To our great delight, we were invited to hang out for a little while on the captain's bridge. The captain was happy to answer our questions. Most of the time though, we kept silent, just grateful for the chance to be there.

We were feeling very content as the boat headed back to Strahan. The 6 hour cruise was thoroughly enjoyable. We'd had an extremely tasty lunch and learned even more of Tasmania's remarkable history. Best of all, we had been able to feast our eyes on some of the amazing wonders nature had to offer in this part of Tasmania.

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