Strahan Historic Foreshore Walk
Strahan Primary School
3.1Km (One Way)
Directions - Located along the foreshore in the west coast town of Strahan, the walk can be started at Regatta Point Railway Station or the beach in front of Strahan Primary School.
The Walk - Finally reaching the west coast of Tasmania, we would be enjoying the hospitality of Strahan for a few days while we explored the area and did the obligatory tourist cruises around Macquarie Harbour and along the Gordon River. As soon as we arrived, I fell in love with this small town on the edge of the wilderness as it just had a relaxing vibe to it. I loved the old buildings, the small footprint of the town and it just seemed like a secluded haven where you could have a relaxing time watching the rain pitter patter away (because it rains quite a lot here).
Even though this area is surrounded by wilderness, there aren't a lot of good walks around Strahan besides Hogarth Falls that starts near the centre of town. After doing a bit of research, I saw this walk and decided to schedule it in but with the weather being typical west coast wetness, finding a window of opportunity would be the key. On our first full day in Strahan, Hal had organised a harbour and river cruise, which was a great way to see the area and learn about the history of the timber and convict industries here (for good and bad). With showers continuing to roll through in the afternoon, Caris and I had a look around the shops on the foreshore before I saw a break in the weather and asked Caris to drop me off at the western end of the walk. I believe the official start point is a little further west of here near the tourist park but I decided to start on the bend near the water. I find walking is often the best way to explore a small town as you get to notice details and places that aren't as easy to spot or appreciate when you're in a car so it's nice that they've mapped out a walk taking in the waterfront of Strahan.
Immediately I spotted Masked Lapwing having a poke around the grass near the water and this would be the first of few of these birds I would see along the walk. Strahan is home to some lovely old buildings that remind me a lot of Albany with the weatherboard exteriors and old cottage look to them. There are a few examples along the walk that are in excellent condition but I can't help thinking they aren't the warmest of buildings during the harsh winters here. Heading along the pavement, it heads away from the road and is well shielded by some thick hedging so it feels like you're somewhat sectioned off from the traffic. Ducking behind some light industrial lots, the local skate park and then past the solid post office building, the start is more about linking up the western part of town and the main foreshore. Once you reach the main waterfront hub where the timber shops, visitor information centre and cruise buildings are, the walk starts to improve. Strahan was built on the demand for Huon Pine and while logging these slow growing and valuable trees is no longer legal, there are still many stores that deal in trading the remnant timber and selling products made from it.
Wandering through the main tourist area, it was nice to do this after being on one of the cruises and learning a bit about the towns history as I had a bit more context about some of the spots like "The Ship That Never Was" theatre production that is run every night of the week between September and May. Walking past all the large cruise ferries, it's nice that Strahan has pivoted away from timber to tourism and this is the lifeblood of the town these days (along with the controversial salmon industry). Reaching the row of buildings below the Reid Street hill, this is what I think you'd call the centre of town with a few restaurants, cafes and holiday accommodation located here. Rounding the little corner where you'll find a park full of ducks and seagulls, this is where you leave the hustle and bustle of town life and it feels more like a relaxing walk along the edge of the water. Between the small park and Regatta Point, the council has installed a series of panels with the Active Strahan branding to encourage people to improve their physical health and also give some fun facts about the various places you pass. I enjoyed reading them and thought it was a good initiative. Exploring the little beach at The Bay Fish Co, I got some good views looking across to our accommodation at Risby Cove and the various fishing boats moored up close to shore.
Just past Risby Cove is the Peoples Park and the start of the Hogarth Falls Track, something I can highly recommend doing. From here the pavement takes you into a more natural looking setting with a lot more trees and coastal flora dominating the edges of the path. I followed a little side path down to another beach and was rewarded with some nice views looking across the water towards the town centre. Re-joining the main path, I was enjoying a tunnel of undergrowth when another shower passed through. Sheltering under the Paperbarks as best I could, it didn't last long and soon I was staring at the finishing point at Regatta Point. This old railway station is now home to the Strahan end of the West Coast Wilderness Railway (the other end of the line is in Queenstown) and the tourist trains now operate out of here, taking you up the hill and into the wilderness. We had this booked for the following day but would be doing the Rack and Pin experience starting from Queenstown. With the shower now finished, the skies to the west were putting on a muted colour show and it was a nice way to finish the walk. I made my way back to Risby Cove where we had a nice dinner booked in at the restaurant there.