The pit stop: Strahan

Once billed by the Chicago Tribune as the “best little town in the world”, Strahan revels in its isolation – with the ferocity of the Southern Ocean at its back and the peace of the rainforest wrapped like the grandest of gardens around Macquarie Harbour.


Dine on the waterfront at Risby Cove, where local ingredients are transformed into global flavours – South American curries, Portuguese salads, cheese fondues and the like. Or head uphill for the buffet and a loftier outlook at View 42°.


Strahan’s compulsory morning stop is The Coffee Shack, inside a cute corrugated-iron shed across the road from the Gordon River cruise boats. The coffee rivals anything from an inner-city barista, and the cakes are as sweet as the west-coast air.

Spirit of the Wild docked at Sarah Island
Docking at Sarah Island
Spirit of the Wild cruising on the Gordon River
Quiet cruising on the Gordon River
Inside The Coffee Shack at Strahan
A great start to the day at The Coffee Shack
Strahan waterfront at sunrise
Sunrise over the Strahan waterfront


In the calm of the morning, the Gordon River is typically a mirror on nature as Gordon River Cruises’ Spirit of the Wild drifts through perfect rainforest reflections on the river’s dark surface. Wilder stops along the way include Sarah Island and Hells Gates.


Huon pine has long been part of Strahan’s raison d’etre, and the working Morrison’s Huon Pine Sawmill on the wharf has a mill shop selling small pieces. Adjoining Wilderness Woodworks offers larger timber pieces.


Shack style hits the shores of Macquarie Harbour at Captain’s Rest. Once part of a shack village built at Lettes Bay for mine workers in the 1920s, this inviting waterfront cottage is now fitted out with luxe furnishings, a clawfoot bath and your own private jetty.

View of jetty from window at Captain's Rest
Views of the jetty
Image: Marnie Hawson
Flags and rope on wall of Captain's Rest
Nautical details
Image: Marnie Hawson
Paintings on the wall at the Captain's Rest
Soaking up the west coast sun
Image: Marnie Hawson


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