The award-winning Gordon River Cruise departs from Strahan and takes visitors into the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Cruising on the purpose-built ‘Lady Jane Franklin II’, the tour crosses Macquarie Harbour to pass through Hell’s Gates, the narrow entrance into the Southern Ocean. Returning into the harbour, you will cruise into the broad lower reaches of the Gordon River, where riverside rainforest is perfectly reflected in the dark waters. There’s an opportunity to go ashore and walk into the rainforest to see ancient Huon Pines.
On the return voyage, guests can step ashore again at Sarah Island, the site of an isolated 19th century penal colony, to hear stories of the convicts who laboured there. Accredited local guides enhance the cruise with informative and interesting commentary on the region’s history and natural heritage.
Seating is allocated to each guest. The main deck offers two seating styles – centre atrium and window seats. All are forward-facing, spacious, comfortable and all options include lunch.
The third option is the Captain’s Premier Upper Deck, including complementary fine food, wine, beverages, exclusive deck space and a dedicated nature guide.
Audio tours are available in German, French, Cantonese and Mandarin.
From $75 to $220
The Gordon River Cruise takes you into the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, part of the World Heritage Area, protected for its outstanding universal value. It is home to one of the last remaining pristine wild river systems on earth.
Gordon River Cruises encourages and supports the preservation of this unique region by the adoption of the latest minimal impact philosophies.
After departing at 0830, you cross Macquarie Harbour, 285 square kilometres (110 square miles) of naturally protected water. You then enter the Gordon River bordered by seemingly endless tracts of untouched rainforest reflected in the tannin-coloured waters.
At Heritage Landing, disembark for an intimate walk in the rainforest. You then travel to historic Sarah Island, and the ruins of the infamously brutal penal colony.
The state-of-the-art “Lady Jane Franklin II”, 33 metre (108 foot) catamaran, is a multi-million dollar vessel designed specifically for World Heritage Area access. The “Lady Jane Franklin II” is named after the wife of colonial governor, Sir John Franklin. Lady Jane was renowned for her courage and adventurous spirit, as well as her stunning beauty.
Gordon River Cruises now feature friendly and expert nature guides to interpret the history and wilderness of the area.
From $45 to $85
On board the 11-person MV Sophia, this three-hour cruise gives you the opportunity to explore the convict past of Tasmania’s West Coast.
You will visit Tasmania’s Sarah Island, where you will disembark at this historical and once dreaded penal colony, which was also the largest boat-building settlement in the British colonies. Take a guidebook and embark on a self-guided tour among the ruins and discover more about what life was like for convicts, soldiers, settlers and shipwrights who lived and worked there.
Dureation is three hours, departing at 1100 daily, subject to weather conditions and numbers. Note that cruises will only run with four or more passengers.
From $25 to $50
In just one hour, groups of four or more are invited to discover the bays around Strahan on the MV Sophia, with the benefit of an expert local skipper.
Mill Bay is home to old and new boats, some with a significant history. On some days the reflections from the boats in the still waters make for great photographs.
Next stop is serene and peaceful Lettes Bay. Here the old Queenstown miners’ shacks have become quirky holiday homes, complete with tranquil waters and beautiful scenery.
Duration is one hour, departs daily.
Note that cruises will only run with four or more passengers.