And for many joining us on the company’s six hour morning Gordon River cruise from Strahan this was the highlight of the trip. However, for me, the most memorable aspect of the cruise was our tour of Sarah Island thanks to our guide, Ingrid.
While it’s hard to get excited about ruins, Ingrid’s story-telling and enthusiasm bought the history of the Tasmania’s oldest convict settlement to life.
She expertly handled the large crowd who followed her, regaling us with stories highlighting the woes of the convicts, the corruption of guards and the Commandants who made a difference. We learnt about the fate of the few convicts who managed to escape their dreadful life on the island and then how it became the largest shipbuilding yard in Australia.
While my travelling companion from England was also enthusiastic about this tour, her highlight was a visit to Hells Gate. This was the name convicts gave to the narrow and often very rough entry point from the wild Southern Ocean to Macquarie Harbour.
Hells Gate, Sarah Island and cruising around Macquarie Harbour’s Aquaculture pens stocked with thousands of Atlantic salmon and Ocean trout dominated the first part of our cruise.
We then headed up the dark calm waters of the Gordon River, located within the World Heritage area. Although it was overcast and often raining, the reflections of the landscape into the water, which this stretch of river is famous for, were still evident.
An informative commentary explained the history, geology, flora and fauna of both the river and the world heritage area.
A short stroll around a boardwalk at Heritage Landing allowed personal exploration of the flora, which is indeed very impressive. Huge trees abound.
The cruise finished with a tour of a Morrisons Huon Pine Sawmill located on the Esplanade at Strahan, led by the ever enthusiastic Ingrid.
As is the case with a number of tourist operations in Tasmania, World Heritage Cruises offers different seating options.
Those travelling in standard seats sit in the middle of the main deck around a table of eight. Those travelling in premium seats sit in rows of two either by the window in the main deck or in the middle of the upper deck while those in gold seats sit in rows of two by the window on the upper deck.
We chose the gold seats – which also included morning or afternoon tea. A buffet lunch is included with all seating options. The food offered was fresh and plentiful with Tasmanian produce a highlight.
While the views were good from our gold seats we would have also been just as happy with window premium seats on the main deck (but probably not the middle seats in the upper deck) especially given passengers are welcome to wander around all outside areas of the boat.
Like most passengers on board we spent much of the cruise outside soaking up the often bracing fresh Tasmanian air and admiring some beautiful scenery.
Visit the World Heritage Cruises website for more information on the cruise.
Visit travelswithjb-Tasmania-for more Tasmanian reviews.
- reviews, Tasmania
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