A complete travel guide featuring 8 awesome things to do at Strahan and on the West Coast of Tasmania. Explore this incredible off-the-beaten-path slice of Tassie with these essential and must-do attractions and activities.
Tasmania’s West Coast is isolated, rugged and historically rich. It’s also one of those destinations that really leaves a mark on you. From exploring pristine temperate rainforest waterfalls to riding on a heritage steam train through iconic west coast wilderness, there are just so many great things to do at Strahan and on the West Coast that you won’t want to miss it.
In this guide, I’ll aim to arm you with the latest, up-to-date travel tips and advice for what to do in Strahan and the West Coast based on my personal experience. At the bottom of this post, I’ve also included an accommodation guide for Strahan and some more photos that I hope will inspire your visit to this beautiful region.
- 8 Awesome Things to do in Strahan & the West Coast
- Keep Exploring The West Coast: Beyond Strahan
- More Photos From Strahan & The West Coast
- More Tasmania Travel Guides and Itinerary Ideas
8 Awesome Things to do in Strahan & the West Coast
Strahan serves as one of the best places to base yourself when exploring the West Coast. It's considered the tourism hub of the region, with several highlights including the Gordon River Cruises and the Wilderness Railway departing from here.
1. Experience The Gordon River Cruise
By far, one of the best things to do at Strahan and for many, even in all of Tasmania is to take a Gordon River cruise.
Strahan is situated on the northern tip of Macquarie Harbour and serves as a terminus for the Gordon River. There are several different cruise options but by far, the best-rated and most cost-effective one is run by World Heritage Cruises. This is the iconic red boat in Strahan.
This trip is usually run in the mornings and includes a full 6-hour return trip down the Gordon River. You'll also stop off at Sarah Island and see the high-tech aquaculture farms. A full buffet lunch is also included. Tickets often sell out in peak seasons so it's best to book online in advance.
2. Jump On Board the West Coast Wilderness Railway
The West Coast Wilderness railway is a West Coast attraction that is well-known as one of Tasmania's icons. This historic rail line journeys through deep Tasmanian wilderness and allows visitors to experience the rugged, yet undeniably beautiful terrain on board a historic steam train.
There are several options for to take, but I highly recommend taking the "Rack and Gorge" line departing from Queenstown and running through to the incredible King River Gorge and the isolated station in Dubbil Barril. This is one of the most scenic trips and takes roughly 4 hours.
3. Visit Hogarth Falls
For those staying in Strahan and looking for what to do, then make sure to add Hogarth Falls to your list. This rainforest waterfall is conveniently located within walking distance of Strahan Harbour. The walk is also incredibly scenic and rated as very easy.
It's not very often you find such an awesome natural attraction so close to a major tourist town, so make sure to check it out.
4. Drive the 99-Bends to Queenstown
Personally, one of my favourite things to do at Strahan and the West Coast is to take a day trip to Queenstown to drive the scenic 99-bends road. Honestly, I was blown away by just how incredibly beautiful this wild rugged drive is!
This particular stretch of curving tarmac road snakes its way over the mountains offering breathtaking backdrops and exhilarating, hairpin turns. What's great about this drive is that you don't need a 4WD or a supercar to enjoy it. Any car or camper will manage in good conditions, just make sure to drive safely!
If you're looking for inspiration from this epic drive, I've included a video below with some quick footage from my trip.
How to Save Money on Tassie Tours & Experiences
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5. See the Iron Blow Lookout
If you've decided to check out the 99-bends drive from Queenstown, then make sure to add the Iron Blow Lookout to your things to do on the West Coast too! This spot is just around the corner from the famous road, and offers a historic snapshot into Tasmania’s mining past.
This lookout features an epic cantilever viewing platform over an aqua blue open water-filled aperture. The site is the earliest major mining venture on Mount Lyell, a reminder of the major impact mining has had on Tasmania's history.
The Ultimate Tasmania Travel Resource
Looking for more Tasmania travel guides & adventure inspiration? Below are my most comprehensive blog posts that will serve as a great free resource for your trip.
6. Road Trip to Nelson Falls
Another attraction worth visiting on Tasmania's West Coast is the incredible Nelson Falls. Visitors will find this remarkable waterfall in Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, just a few kilometres out from Queenstown.
The short rainforest trail to Nelson Falls is one of the most beautiful in the state and is a quick and easy return trip. For those road tripping in Tasmania's West from Strahan, I'd suggest adding this one to your Lyell Highway itinerary on the way back through to Derwent Bridge.
There are many other worthwhile stops on this scenic road including the Frenchman's Cap hike, and a stop by the Franklin River, but Nelson Falls was a standout for me.
Car Rentals in Tasmania
Unfortunately, the cost of bringing your own car on the Spirit of Tasmania has skyrocketed in recent years.
Now, it is usually cheaper to rent a car on arrival. I recommend using DiscoverCars in Tasmania to compare rates for different vehicles across dealerships.
(Rentals are limited in Tasmania so it's a good idea to book in advance).
7. WhiteWater Rafting on the King River
One of the best adrenaline-pumping activities to consider on the West Coast is an epic whitewater rafting trip down the King River.
This Grade-4 run is an excellent place as it caters for beginners but is also guaranteed to get your heart racing.
This particular trip is actually one of the best bang-for-buck things to do on the West Coast as it combines a white water rafting trip down the King River Gorge with the spectacular steam train journey on the West Coast Wilderness Railway in a single day!
8. Check Out Henty Dunes
Finishing up this epic list for what to do in Strahan and the West Coast of Tasmania is a day-trip to Henty Dunes. The dunes are found approximately 14 kilometres north of Strahan on the way to Zeehan.
These dunes are quite impressive, with some reaching heights of around 30 metres. Like much of Tasmania, this landscape is quite unique, almost a desert on the edge of dense temperate rainforest.
Henty Dunes were formed by the Roaring Forties, a powerful wind blowing uninterrupted from South America. Visitors can take an easy 1.5 hour return walk through the dunes to Ocean Beach, which is the longest stretch of sand in the state. Otherwise, try tobogganing (rent them from Strahan) down the dunes or book a quad bike (ATV) tour.
More Info: Henty Dunes ATV
Related: 31+ Awesome Things to do in Hobart
Keep Exploring The West Coast: Beyond Strahan
I hope this quick travel guide has given you some inspiration for epic things to do at Strahan and around the West Coast. But, the adventures don't end there. While this guide focused primarily on the region around Strahan and Queenstown, the truth is that there is so much more to explore in the Wild West!
I've written loads of travel guides to the region, especially further north in and around The Tarkine. Three of my best recommendations include:
- Self-driving the Tarkine Drive
- Exploring the Trowutta Arch
- Standing at the Edge of the World
- Climbing the Nut in Stanley
- Checking out Dip Falls and the wild Philosopher Falls
Where to Stay In Tasmania's West
The most popular place to stay in Western Tasmania is in Strahan. There's just so much to see and do in this region and it's definitely worth at least a couple of days. Activities like the Gordon River Cruise and the rack and pinion railway are must-dos when travelling in Tasmania.
Below are a couple of my recommended places to stay in nearby Strahan, as well as one in Queenstown.
Wheelhouse Apartments - Strahan
Unique apartments located in Strahan, each with river or lake views. These apartments are some of the best-rated online for Western Tasmania!
The Boat House - Strahan
Another Strahan favourite, this affordable holiday accommodation option features river views and includes a kitchen and living area.
Penghana B&B - Queenstown
If you're after the best place to stay in Queenstown, check out this 1898 National Trust Mansion B&B which is just 2 minutes drive from the Wilderness Railway & the Heritage Tours.
More Photos From Strahan & The West Coast
More Tasmania Travel Guides and Itinerary Ideas
That wraps up this awesome attraction list for things to do at Strahan Tasmania. If you found it useful, or if you have some further suggestions for this resource, make sure to leave a comment below.
Otherwise, before you go, why not check out some of my other blog posts? I've spent a great deal of time exploring, documenting and photographing Tassie's best highlights. So, start with one of these articles below, I guarantee you'll find something new!