A Day Cruise on the Gordon River, Strahan, Tasmania

We planned to have an exciting day on the Gordon River onboard the Lady Franklin and had chosen The Captain’s Premier Upper Deck seating with the company of the Captain as a guide. We chose this way to travel just from reading the description on the net. What was on offer sounded pretty good to us.

The Captain’s Premier Upper Deck is Gordon River Cruises’ luxury sightseeing experience, travelling alongside the Captain with leather seating, a private viewing deck, a dedicated guide and a gourmet lunch of local delicacies. Indulge in fresh seafood, creamy Tasmanian cheeses and select regional specialties, accompanied by complimentary Tasmanian wines and premium beers.

It was late November and holiday time, but up early to get ready for a departure at 8 am from the Strahan Harbour. (Strahan is one of those words not pronounced as it’s written. It’s pronounced ‘strawn’ in English and in Swedish it would be ‘strån’.) Learning is fun, unless you already knew.


The morning tour was around 6 hours and well worth it – especially when you think about the glorious foods. We had the best of Tasmanian produce e.g. salmon both smoked and steamed in a sauce, free range turkey, some veggies, cheeses, bread, olives and various condiments. All from the state of plenty with the cleanest air and the cleanest water. The ultimate to eat and drink is found on the island of Tasmania and as we suspected, the food on board was scrumptious. The absolute best.

On our tour, we saw natural landmarks like Hells Gates, which marks the entrance to Macquarie Harbour from the Southern Ocean. We stopped at Sarah Island where you disembark to take a walk and a guided tour. We heard about the grim past when convicts were left on the island with no means of escape more than to try and swim through the widest, coldest river and then trek through inhospitable land to get to civilisation, if that’s the right word when there wasn’t much in the way of settlements. The journey through the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area in an organised way is an exciting experience today. In the past it was often a death trap for those convicts game enough to try.


Once upon a time there was a bakery on Sarah Island. Bread was one of the staples when there wasn’t much else to eat.


Here’s the ruin of the old bakery. My husband found it especially interesting because of his life of baking and pastry cooking.


After Sarah Island we went on to disembark at a point where a boardwalk had been built through the temperate rainforest. Maybe we think of rainforests as hot and steaming, but this is quite the opposite because of the cool, moist air. Here we saw many different varieties of trees and an abundance of mosses, lichens and ferns. The most surprising was the brownish-orange colour of all water. This is due to the sap from the trees.



The calm water of the Gordon River makes for perfect mirror images. See above and below.

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The tree trunks below are of the Huon Pine. The trees grow in wet and cold areas. The wood doesn’t rot even if found deep in water or mud after many years. Insects detest the Huon Pine too. There are trees in Tasmania which are 2,500 to 3,000 years old. They seem to regenerate by seeds, but most often by fallen branches. When in contact with the ground, they may grow roots to end up as new trees. They grow very slowly – only about 0,3 to 2mm in diameter per year.

The timber contains quantities of a natural preserving oil called methyl eugenol which allows it to survive on or under the forest floor for centuries. A buried Huon Pine log was documented by scientists to have been lying there for 38,000 years! As well as being a preservative, the methyl eugenol provides the timber with natural lubrication, so it can be bent, shaped or sculpted without splitting. It is also waterproof and insect resistant, making it prized as a boat building timber.


Below are some samples of Huon Pine made into furniture from the shop in Strahan. The timber is smooth and honey coloured. Any blemish makes the wood more desirable (in my opinion). The little sofa is amazing and the rocking horse too. The tables from root stumps are also fantastic.


The wood pieces from below are from the different trees in this area.

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Wilderness Woodwork

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Map of the area around Strahan, Gordon and Franklin River.

We will ensure to include a cruise on Arthur River near the Tarkine Forest in the northwest on our next trip. That time we will also go to the northeast corner and down the coast line. There’s so much to see. If you haven’t been, do yourself a favour.