We checked out of Strahan Bungalows early in the morning for the long drive to Hobart. Before leaving the quaint harbour side village, we did the most popular tourist activity, a cruise up the Gordon River.
There are two cruise operators – World Heritage Cruises and Gordon River Cruises. I pre-booked the latter simply because it departs half hour earlier at 8.30am, giving us more time to travel to Hobart. We did not get any food supplies on the way to Strahan, so we were thankful to find a Banjo’s Bakery Cafe that opened at 6am where we could have breakfast before boarding the Lady Jane Franklin II.
Our first stop once we sailed out of the Macquarie Harbour was Hells Gates, where the Southern Ocean meet the harbour. The waters were very choppy throughout this part of the journey and I was relieved when the boat turned back into the calmer waters of the harbour.
After sailing past the lighthouse, we cruised gently towards the mouth of the Gordon River, where both sides were covered with dense rainforest.
For a close-up view and feel of the ancient rainforest, we docked at the jetty at Heritage Landing and followed the boardwalk into the largest surviving tract of temperate rainforest.
Lunch was a simple buffet spread of bread, cold cuts, salad and the famed smoked salmon on board the boat as we cruised from Heritage Landing to Sarah Island.
A guide was waiting for us on the island when we arrived and she gave a very animated narrative of the island’s history. In a nutshell, Sarah Island was a place of banishment and security for the worst of convicts, who were used as cheap labour to build ships. We followed the guide through the ruins trying to imagine what life was like then as she recounted events and happenings. There was this sense of hopelessness and sadness surrounding the place, and I was glad when it was time to leave.