Jan – April, 2017
Macquarie Harbor isn’t held with quite the same reverence as Port Davey, but it should be. It, too, is on the dreaded west coast of Tasmania, but more towards the northern end. Unlike Port Davey, it’s an area lush with rainforests.
Macquarie Harbour is large, nearly 20-miles long and 5-miles wide. On the west side is the pretty town of Strahan (pronounced “Straun”), and at the southeast end is the entrance to the Gordon River. In between are several nice anchorages and big fish farms. While this harbor has lots of good reasons to visit, the main tourist attractions are Hell’s Gates and the Gordon River. Below is an interactive map showing where the key points are, including some popular anchorage areas.
Hell’s Gates is the entrance to this harbor, mostly very shallow, with only one narrow entrance having sufficient depth for vessels to pass through. All that water coming and going from the ocean can make for a pretty wild current. Since we could only enter and exit at slack tide, we never witnessed this big tidal show and wondered what all the fuss was about. Friends who’ve seen it have since assured us it’s really impressive when it’s flowing. Below, a few photos from our ride through Hell’s Gates. As you can see, it wasn’t all that hellish.
Once through the entrance, the first stop for a yacht is generally the town of Strahan. It’s quite small and lies along the waterfront at the base of a hill. It has a few historic buildings, a nice pub, fishing boats, a couple of restaurants, and it used to be a center for logging the Huon pine used to build wooden ships. The pines are no longer cut down but instead old logs are dug up, the wood still good because it pretty much lasts forever in any conditions. In spite of the peaceful and quiet feeling of this little town, it has a fair amount of tourists passing through because it’s the hub for the Gordon River tour boats.
Below, a few photos of Strahan. (Click to enlarge and scroll through any of the photo galleries in this post.)
We rode out a weather system in Strahan, both on a mooring and tied up to the dock, before setting off to do more exploring. What a lovely, pleasant place! One of our favorite things here was the heavily forested walk to Hogarth Falls, not nearly as well publicized as it should be, but I guess the Gordon River overshadows it. Alas, we didn’t spot any of the local platypuses who live in the river, but we did enjoy the beautiful walk and the waterfall. Below, a few photos from the walk.
After a few days, the weather cleared, and we set out explore the Gordon River, which will be the subject of the next Tasmania post. –Cyndi