West Coast Wilderness Railway, wedding, Strahan

EVERY so often we pull out our wedding video from the beautiful fishing town of Strahan on Tasmania’s West Coast. Each time Princess Ella asks: “Can we go to the wedding, Mum?’’ We’ve long promised her we’d take her to Strahan Village to see the View 42 Restaurant with the big balcony where we said “I do’’, the West Coast Wilderness Railway where we had photos taken and the harbour, featuring Gordon River Cruises, that was our spectacular backdrop.

Last week, we finally had the chance to do that, thanks to the kind people at Pure Tasmania. This is the first in three posts – this post on Strahan Village, the second on the West Coast Wilderness Railway and the third on Gordon River Cruises.

Strahan Village, view

Here’s our three-day itinerary:


Heading from Devonport for the 2.5-hour drive, we decided to stop off at Rosebery to allow the princesses a chance to stretch their legs, get a bite to eat at the bakery and ward off any car sickness that might approach later. Yes, this is one windy road.

Strahan Village, Tasmania, road, West Coast,

While we didn’t get the honeymoon suite above reception, which we shared with a rather large Santa Claus, we were put up in a quaint two-bedroom cottage with plenty of space, gorgeous Tasmanian products and a stunning view of the harbour. To be honest, there was less romance this time anyway. There are plenty of different accommodation options under the Strahan Village banner, so it’s hard not to find something to suit on the hilltop or down near the wharf where we were.

Strahan Village accommodation, Tasmania

Once the car was unloaded, we walked along the wharf, chatting to the fishermen, watching people come in off the cruises and taking in Morrison’s Huon Pine Sawmill and Strahan Woodworks. The smell of Huon pine is sublime.

Strahan Woodworks, Tasmania, Morrisons

We saw this little beauty:

Strahan Woodworks, Tasmania, rockimg horse

Then saw the price.

It’s fair to say Ella won’t be getting one of those for Christmas. Not unless we run into quite a bit of this.

Strahan Woodworks, Tasmania, Morrison,

Yes, that’s made of wood too. At 3pm each day, you can then watch a breaking down saw in action.

On the way back to the cottage, we ducked into the fudge shop and stocked up on handmade fudge – Rocky Road and Honey and Macadamia. Nom nom.

Strahan, handmade fudge,

We finished the day eating at the popular Hamers Hotel, which offers up plenty of what Strahan is famous for – seafood.


We started the day with a full buffet breakfast – I’m talking eggs, bacon and hash browns – at View 42 Restaurant. I’m not afraid to admit there was a slight tear shed, thinking back to the moment we got married there and now, nine years later, sitting with two little girls in the same spot.

Strahan View Restaurant

To shake the soppiness out of me, we took a bumpy drive to Ocean Beach, where you can not only see shearwater, but is notorious for whale strandings. I witnessed two during my journalism career and can tell you, standing over a massive helpless whale pouring water over it in the hope it might just stay alive is a pretty chilling experience.

Ocean Beach, Strahan

By mid morning we were ready to board the now legendary West Coast Wilderness Railway – the trip Ella had been so keen to take.

Strahan, West Coast Wilderness Railway, train,

Admittedly, The Bloke in The Shed was dubious about taking two small children on a five-hour trip on a train to the mining town of Queenstown. However, his worries were soon eased. A pram was provided to allow one-year-old Li’l Holly to sleep and there was plenty of interesting stops along the way to entertain four-year-old Princess Ella. The honey stop was probably her favourite – she went back for seconds.

Strahan, West Coast Wilderness Railway,

We ended the day with a picnic dinner in front of our cottage, with food from the next door bakery. It was also a nice chance for the girls to experience the friendliness of the locals, who each had a comment as they walked past.

Strahan, Tasmania

That night, I sent the Bloke in the Shed out to capture this shot.

Strahan, sunset



We woke on our final day, ready for our Gordon River Cruise on the Lady Jane Franklin II, to a heavy mist.

Strahan mist

It was pretty eerie, especially knowing the cruise is based around former penal settlement Sarah Island. One of the most famous stories is about cannibal convict Alexander Pearce. It’s actually recently been made into a movie called Van Diemen’s Land. Some who have watched it are said to have vomited. Yes, gruesome stuff.

The cruise itself was pretty spectacular and we were well looked after with prime seating at the front and a big toy box for the girls. This was class all the way and we were in the cattle class section – not the premium.

Gordon River Cruises, Strahan

We viewed working fish farms, where Ella’s main question was whether they had pigs at the farm. Hmm, not that sort of farm, darling.

Finally, we hit the road for home. Our only regret was not stopping at Rosebery for a break, with Ella showing us the contents of her stomach at about Highclere.

We made it to Burnie and stopped off at Hellyer Road Whiskey Distillery for something to eat. Julian and I shared a platter.

Hellyer Road Whiskey Distillery, Burnie, Tasmania

Eyes off, Holly. But I’ll share more about that another day – the story, not the food.

In the meantime, we’re all in need of a bit of a holiday after that adventure.  Yes, hard to imagine you can do all this in one small fishing village. The whole experience isn’t cheap, but well worth every penny. If you’re looking for a spectacular setting with an “adventure’’ edge for your next holiday, I highly recommend this history-rich, stunning fishing village.

What do you look for in a holiday? Are you a train buff or boat fanatic? Is history your thing?

This is part of the My Tasmanian Backyard series.

DISCLAIMER: We were provided with accommodation, meals, a trip on the West Coast Wilderness Railway and Gordon River Cruises as part of the Pure Tasmanian Visiting Journalists Program. All opinions expressed are our own.


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27 Responses to My Tasmanian Backyard: Strahan Village

  1. Wow – great ad for Tasmania Tourism!

    • Kel says:

      Hehe! Yes, I may possibly have gone a little overboard on the photos! And I still have more to show. Might have to hold back a little on the next posts!
      And yes, may just have to send this one through to Tourism Tas! 😉

  2. Trish says:

    I want to go back to Tassie one day, looks divine.
    Trish recently posted..Pinterest Make Me ~ Christmas CraftMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      You have to put Strahan on your places to visit list, Trish. It is such heaven. I guess that’s why we got married there. Was so nice to go back there. 🙂

  3. Caz says:

    Kellie – that looks totally awesome. Such beautiful scenery. Lucky you :O)
    Caz recently posted..LIVING HEALTHY: Millie, calories & waterMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      It’s such a gorgeous spot, Caz. Would have been nice to be child free so we could relax a little more, but still, we all had plenty of fun! I really want to try and get down there more regularly. The girls loved it! 🙂

  4. Oh looks amazing~ I would love to go to Tasmania.. have yet to cross the Tasman! it looks beautiful!
    mums the word recently posted..The Secret Life of This Desperate HousewifeMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      You’ll have to look out for the next special on airfares or Spirit of Tasmania fares, Sarah. You and the family would so enjoy it. And I’d be happy to show you around!! 😉

  5. What a great way to show of Tasmania. I haven’t been to Tassie, but definitely on my to do list, although would have to be in Summer, don’t think I could handle the cold (wuss!)
    Jodi @ Lipgloss Mumma recently posted..You know you are old when…My Profile

    • Kel says:

      LOL! Yes, summer is a pretty nice time to be here, Jodi. I always think February and March are the best months. We seem to have the best weather then.
      Unless you want to do Cradle Mountain in the snow, of course! 🙂

  6. I have never been to Tassie, but the Irishman has and he says it’s beautiful!
    Maybe we’ll have to plan a trip one day 🙂
    Kellie – Good, Bad & Unnecessary recently posted..meal plan – cheap and easyMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      The Irishman is spot on. At the moment it’s very green, thanks so plenty of sunshine and rain!
      If you ever do come down here Kellie, you have to let me know! 🙂

  7. Stunning photographs – love Tasmania where we visited last year. The Gordon Cruise was on our itinerary too – beautiful! Hoping to return one day and visit the ‘bits’ we missed.
    PS Thanks for popping by x

  8. Veronica says:

    This is great! And thanks to Pure Tasmania for sending you. I’ve done the Gordon River cruise before and loved it. Strahan is just lovely.
    Veronica recently posted..Individual pavlovas with strawberry pear champagne sauceMy Profile

  9. Margaret says:

    Kellie this is one of my favourites, as I’m sure you knew it would be. Growing up on the West Coast Strahan was always the place to go to at weekends. We were back a couple of weeks ago just for the weekend and stayed at Franklin Manor (first time) and just loved it the gardens are glorious. I’ve often wondered what the cottages on the main road were like so thanks for the pics. And never too many photos in your article, keep them coming, I have saved a lot from this story as you are a better photographer than me. My Tasmanian backyard storys are fabulous and I’m loving them all.

    • Kel says:

      I thought you might like this one, Maggie. I’ve never stayed at Franklin Manor, but I did go through it a couple of times to do stories on it over the years. The inside is incredible.
      You would love the cottages down the bottom there. I remember Julian’s parents stayed in one of them when we got married and Julian was quite taken with them. Mind you, the honeymoon suite above reception was pretty good too!! 🙂
      Thanks for the feedback too. That’s much appreciated. Have some great train shots for next week.

  10. Lisa Wood says:

    That sounds like the most amazing trip – going back to where you were married, and showing your daughters. Magical! Love the photos 🙂

    Lisa Wood recently posted..Saying One Word For All That I Am Passionate AboutMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      Thanks Lisa. It was such a nice few days. Ella loved being able to match everything she saw with what was in our wedding video. It all means a little bit more to her now. x

  11. Seana Smith says:

    Hi Kel, I really enjoy your Tassie stories and keep adding your ideas to my list of things to do. Your photos are terrific, and the montages work really well – inspiration!

    Love the colourful wee houses and the gorgeous choccies etc Keep these stories coming! Well done Pure Tasmania for seeing you and the gang and well done you for enjoying the trip with two little lasses.
    Seana Smith recently posted..Sydney’s Best Beaches – Tamarama Beach PhotosMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      Thanks Seana. I must admit, three of the photos aren’t actually mine. I have to thank Pure Tasmania for those! 😉
      So glad to hear you’re enjoying the series. As I said on your post, I love discovering new places and so I hope this is doing that for readers.

  12. Sheralee says:

    It’s been far too long since I have been down there after seeing your pics it’s reminded me how beautiful it is and is now on our summer to do list:)

  13. […] Kel on December 6, 2011 · No Comments /* */ AS MOST of you know by now, we spent three heavenly days at Strahan last month and had the chance to ride the now famous West Coast Wilderness Railway. This one is […]

  14. […] after two days in Strahan and riding the West Coast Wilderness Railway, our final day was discovering all this aboard Gordon […]

  15. […] month we took the girls to Strahan, on Tassie’s West Coast, to show them the place where we exchanged vows. Long before the wedding day, I cottoned on to the […]

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