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Strahan In Any Weather, With Kids.

Nov 1, 2018
Article by Kate Leach

“It may be clear blue skies one minute and moody clouds the next – a feature that adds to the magic, wild, unpredictable and spectacular qualities of this border between civilisation and nature.” Gordon River Cruises

As a visitor to Tasmania I was familiar with the main cities. I’d heard of the Bay of Fires, Cradle Mountain, Freycinet and Wineglass Bay, but I had no real idea of what lay on the West Coast.

Strahan had started creeping into my awareness over the last year through the picturesque Airbnb waterside cabin of ‘Captains Rest’. If you follow its Instagram account you’ll find idyllic images of gorgeous folk gazing out of the vintage paned window, glass of wine in hand, at the ever-changing hues of Lettes Bay.

Unfortunately for me, it’s a romantic (or solitary) retreat, not a family-sized venue. It’s somewhere to savour the peace and quiet of your surroundings without the constant chatter and questioning of children. So beyond wishing it had been available BC (before children), my dream had been shelved.

But you know what? It turns out you can experience the West Coast, and even stay in Strahan, and – most importantly – have a good time … even with children.

We set off Friday after school on the long and winding road from Launceston to the West Coast. Being winter, it was soon dark and as we crested the peak, much of it was in the rain. When we were close to Strahan we pointed out what we thought must be the sea from the greyed out area on our GPS screen. However nothing prepared us for the beautiful view we woke to on the Saturday morning at Strahan Village.

First impressions

I’m originally from Cornwall in the UK and, consequently, have a thing for fishing boats. Seeing the glassy water and tangle of boats with their lobster pots and luminous buoys moored in the harbour, was a lovely and homely sight to see.

Strahan Village hotel is in a perfect position for view-gazing. The restaurant, View 42, as its name suggests, has windows all down one side looking over Strahan and the Macquarie Harbour beyond. If it hadn’t been for the constant ‘can I have more cereal?’ question (it turns out a breakfast buffet tops beautiful views if you’re a child), I could have stayed and gazed for hours.

 

That first morning we drove around stopping at various places to take in more fishing boats and to paddle in the waves at Ocean Beach. Yes, it was cold, but well worth it. It’s not often you get such an expanse (30kms) to yourself. It’s Tasmania’s longest and most remote beach. Make sure you wear something to protect you from the wind though. With nothing between you and the tip of South Africa there is quite a breeze. A local fisherman told us the beach used to be called Great Roaring Beach, which seems fitting, both for the wind and the sea.

In my sweet-toothed manner of declaring it too late for lunch but just the right time for tea, we stopped at the Coffee Shack in Strahan for tea, cake and milkshakes. It is literally a shack, with limited seating, but I’m in awe of how one person can make drinks and lunches for all the tables and seem so relaxed and friendly. It’s the perfect place to refuel and plan for the next adventure.

Our plan saw us venturing to People’s Park and walking off the cake on one of Tasmania’s 60 great short walks to Hogarth Falls, which was thunderous from the recent rain. The walk took us through some beautiful rainforest and meandered between some of the tallest and most magnificent gum trees I’ve seen. And moss, I must mention the moss. Due to the rain and the clean air (said to be the cleanest in the world) it was everywhere, in various hues of vibrant green. We walked in silence, pausing to jump puddles, soaking in the nature.

It was then board games by the fire and pizza for dinner back at View 42, watching the sea turn black as dark clouds swept in … while keeping an eye on Connect 4.

Photos by Edie Leach

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