IT’S hard to believe Strahan’s Macquarie Harbour is six times larger than Sydney Harbour. In Sydney you don’t get to experience the narrow and treacherous Hell’s Gates, see the salmon farms which supply to some of the world’s top restaurants or be entertained by real life stories of cannibalism while on notorious Sarah Island.  Oh yes, believe it.

However, after two days in Strahan and riding the West Coast Wilderness Railway, our final day was discovering all this aboard Gordon River Cruises.

Gordon River Cruises, Strahan,

It’s been a while since I’ve done the cruise. It all takes place onboard the Lady Jane Franklin II, which is nothing short of pure class. And this is the cattle class,

Gordon River Cruises, Strahan

not the premium section.

Gordon River Cruises, Strahan

If she was a real lady, she’d be wearing Prada and having her hair set weekly (do ladies still have their hair set?).

Strahan, Hell's Gates, Gordon River Cruises

Hell's Gates

We scored comfy seats at the front of the vessel – near the toy box. Make a note: take children.

Gordon River Cruises, Strahan

I don’t know how many people with purple rinses told Princess Ella to: “look out, you have a snake around your neck’’. They thought it was funny. Ella thought it was funny. Really, what else matters?

Gordon River Cruises, Strahan

Without exaggeration, the pristine World Heritage area on the world-famous Gordon River is breathtaking and was even more so on the stunning day we headed out (it’s world famous because a fight to save the river in the ‘80s attracted national attention).

Although, a dead whale wasn’t so pleasant. Poor fella.

Gordon River Cruises, Salmon Farms, Strahan,

When we reached the salmon farms, Ella’s main point of question was whether they had pigs at the farm. Hmm, not that sort of farm, darling.

Gordon River Cruises, Sarah Island, Strahan

We then came in to moor at the feared penal colony Sarah Island – the highlight of the trip. However, it’s also where we chose to end our trip, because of mechanical problems with the boat. Of all the days.

We decided not to continue on with the other boat that was offered for a few reasons: the Bloke in The Shed and I had done it before (actually, I’ve done it twice – that’s how much I enjoyed it) and the boat we were being transferred to already had a full load (we weren’t keen on battling the girls on a crowed boat).

But please, don’t be put off by our decision. I highly recommend doing the entire tour. You would not want to miss witnessing the ruins from the old penal buildings. Nor hearing about how the convicts built incredible boats from Huon pine. And don’t miss the gory tale of cannibalism by one very desperate convict. This is not your average history tour. To top it all off, there’s a chef prepared buffet lunch.

The kids will love wandering around the island and it’s a good way to get them to be good – if you’re naughty, this is where we’ll send you. Maybe. As far as family experiences go, this one is hard to pass up. The staff onboard were so accommodating, especially with the girls. The toys are plentiful. Space is abundant. And the penal settlement is unlike what you’re likely to have seen before. Truly sensational.

Strahan, Gordon River Cruises, Cape Sorrel

How to travel: Cruise in Comfort with two-levels of seating and buffet lunch; or Captain’s Premier Upper Deck, with leather seats, Tasmanian produce and beverages and private deck.

Duration: 5.5 hours. Leaves at 8.30am and, in peak season, 2.30pm.

Christmas Day: 10.30am to 4.30pm

Children: Aged 3-14 are entitled to child fares. Aged 2 and under travel free. Child fares are not available on Captain’s Premier Upper Deck, but children and infants may travel on an adult fare. See the website for more details.

Cost: Between $85 and $210, depending on the time of year and travel class.

More information: Visit Pure Tasmania

Read more from the My Tasmanian Backyard series, along with our stay in Strahan Village.

DISCLAIMER: We received Cruise in Comfort tickets to board the Gordon River Cruises, thanks to Pure Tasmania. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

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16 Responses to My Tasmanian Backyard: Gordon River Cruises Strahan

  1. Hotly Spiced says:

    I’m ashamed to say I’ve never been to Tasmania. I really must get there. It looks very beautiful. Seems your family had an amazing time.
    Hotly Spiced recently posted..Is Nothing Sacred?My Profile

    • Kel says:

      We certainly did! Ella particularly loved it! I think it was all a bit of an adventure for her.
      And yes, you definitely need to get down this way. Just make sure you have plenty of time! 😉

  2. Jen says:

    Have so enjoyed reading about trip to Strahan. Thanks for sharing it. Love the photo with the snake. Hilarious! 🙂

  3. Elise says:

    Beautiful – can’t wait till we make it to Tasmania one day. Your series is making it more and more obvious to me that we need to come and make a good trip of it
    Elise recently posted..Inexpensive Photo Christmas Cards.My Profile

    • Kel says:

      Oh, so glad I’m winning you over, Elise! You definitely need to have a bit of time on your hands, because there’s so much to see. If you ever do decide to get down this way, feel free to sing out if you want itinerary suggestions or help.

  4. Shelly says:

    Tasmania is a place I’d definitely love to see. It looks so beautiful!

    Sad about the whale. 🙁
    Shelly recently posted..Over the TopMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      Yes, seeing the whale was a bit sad, Shelly. It’s such a regular thing down there though.
      Sometimes I don’t think photos quite do Tassie justice! 🙂

  5. Lisa wood says:

    that looks amazing! love the idea of learning while having fun, and on a cruise for about 5 1/2 hours – perfect!

    Thanks for the amazing photos – love the snake around Ella’s neck! Will have to add this cruise to our ever growing bucket list!

    Lisa wood recently posted..Magical Stay At Tolarno Hotel St KildaMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      She is such a show pony, Lisa! LOL! She was loving all the attention from the elderly people.
      I love tourist places that allow you to learn a little bit about the place at the same time. As long as it’s interesting, of course! 🙂

  6. Seana Smith says:

    Hi Kel,

    I’m starting t build my itinerary just based on your posts… that makes life easy! Very much enjoyed reading about your experiences and seeing the photos. Lovely post. Please keep the travel posts coming.
    Seana Smith recently posted..Jervis Bay Blogging – What’s the Story?My Profile

    • Kel says:

      Hehe!! Glad it’s helpful, Seana! 😉
      And yes, certainly have more Tassie-based travel stories to come. Looking forward to getting out and about a bit more during January.

  7. […] 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. […]

  8. […] of you know by now, we spent three heavenly days at Strahan last month and had the chance to board Gordon River Cruises and ride the now famous West Coast Wilderness Railway on Tasmania’s West Coast. This one is […]

  9. april says:

    All of this looks so lovely to the girl from Florida =)
    april recently posted..Random ThoughtsMy Profile

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