The Best Of The West Coast
Isolated and rugged, the West Coast great is an educational wonderland full of history and heritage, rainforests, world famous rivers, icelandic mountains and long, endless beaches.
It is also a great place to reduce the stress levels in your kids. Being away from home, long drives and meeting new people all the time can be overwhelming at times for kids. We love how the Wild West has so many great experiences to get out into nature, get some fresh air and really enjoy the serenity and calmness of the bush. If you've got extra busy kids, then this is a must visit region for you!
1. OCEAN BEACH
Did you know that Ocean Beach: Strahan, on Tasmania's West Coast is actually a road? Up until the 1970s, local drovers moved cattle from towns like Corrina, Trial Harbour and Henty, to stockyards in Strahan. You can still find remnants of these yards out near the Macquarie Heads Camp Grounds. Today, the majority of traffic comprises of little feet, birds, quad bikes and the odd ute.
2. THE GORDON RIVER
There are two companies operating daily cruises with each trip running for six hours. All tickets include on-board tours, stops at the convict settlement Sarah Island, access to the World Heritage Area and a full buffet lunch. Click on a cruise for more information World Heritage Cruises or Gordon River Cruises.
3. HENTY DUNES
One of the biggest dune deposits in the southern hemisphere, Henty dunes span over 15 km along the west coast, and feature dunes up to 30 metre high. Moving inland around 1 metre every year, the Dunes are one of Tassies great ecological wonders, with many past secrets revealed with the shifting sands every year. You'll need to climb up into the Dunes from the main picnic area to see Ocean Beach. A fantastic spot for sand boarding or tobogganing, walking or touring on 4-wheeler. Sand boards and toboggans can be hired from a number of Strahan accommodation venues. The start is located 14 km out of Strahan, on the Zeehan road (Henty Road). There are no toilets, water or BBQ facilities on site, so all items need to be taken in with you. Be sure to take water and a rain coat, and let someone know your planning on walking through the Dunes if going further than the main sand boarding area. ⠀
4. BIRD RIVER
Our all time favorite West Coast walk. Having done it as a tour guide easily over 100 times, even then, the beauty never failed to amaze. The track follows the banks of the Bird and Fysh Rivers down into Kelly Basin as the bottom end of Macquarie Harbour. Its what remains of the old railway bed of North Lyell; put in at the same time as the famous ABT railway as a rival. As you turn off onto the Bird River Road, you'll notice the road closes in. Ferns hang from overhead and the rainforest becomes dark and dense. Its enchanting and very beautiful. Its a short drive to the Bird River Bridge, where the 7.5km walk begins to the old port town of Pillinger at Kelly Basin. The grade is easy going but there are lots of trip hazards and the track gets very narrow and steep in a few places. You also have to walk back. Its worth it though, especially if you have older children or those who are experienced walkers. Old mining relics can be found along the way, as can Tasmanian Devils, Wombats, Azure Kingfishers and Pink Robins.
5. WEST COAST WILDERNESS RAILWAY
Departing from Queenstown or Strahan, ride the West Coast Wilderness Railway. Original ABT steam locomotives traverse some of the rugged terrain in the southern hemisphere, on some of the steepest railway grades. Perfect for a family day out, with three railway journeys to choose from, the company offers great family packages, some including food, some not. All tours include guided commentary and station stop overs with experiences for kids included. Click here for more information West Coast Wilderness Railway
6. THE SHIP THAT NEVER WAS
The Ship that Never Was is a theatrical, all family engaging play about the last ship built at convict settlement on Sarah Island, in Macquarie Harbour. Running for 1.5 hours, the show tells the story of the ship was absconded by convicts and sailed all the way to Chilli. The story is hilarious and truthful, and is Australia's longest running play. Playing at 5:30 pm each night at the Richard Davey Amphitheater in Strahan. Adults $20.00, Concession $15.00, Student (13 yrs & over) $10.00, Children (4-12 yrs) $2.00 (Please note: Prices are subject to change) Click here for more information.
7. THE IRON BLOW
One of Australia's most richest mineral deposits, the Iron Blow set the scene for Tasmania's major mining boom. Discovered by sheer luck, and said to have been protected by a giant Wedge Tailed Eagle that soared down and chased anyone who cam near away, the Iron Blow opened up the a whole new reason to exist on the wild and rugged coast. Almost ever tour features a tale or who about this famous place; the ABT railway was built to export its ore, the Huon piners supplied timber for its early freight ships, houses and 11 Stack houses, even farming on the mainland of Australia benefited from its fertilizer, straight from the mine. Today, the iron blow is a ghost of her former self. All mining operations are underground and the open cut has been flooded. Its amazing colour is due to the iron ore, oxdising with the air and water.
8. Zeehan's West Coast Heritage Centre. We think this is one of Tassie's best museums, and its so great for kids of all ages. There are old locomotives they can climb over, educational movies and stimulation and its right across the road from the local park! Click here to go the West Coast Heritage Centre website.
9. Cruise the Pieman River at Corrina aboard the The Arcadia II; a magnificent 17m craft built of Huon pine in 1939. Based out of Corrina, The cruise passes close to the wreck of the SS Croydon at the mouth of the Savage River and to Lover’s Falls near the mouth of the Donaldson. Perfect for an intimate family trip, in one of the most pristine areas of in the world. Click here for more information Pieman Cruise or Sweetwater Cruise.