When a friend heard I was heading to Tasmania she said if there was one thing I absolutely had to do, it was a cruise down the Gordon River.
Most tourist accommodation and info centers will happily assist you in booking the cruise. Attraction staff were wonderfully efficient and helpful in getting us sorted.
We purchased the regular (least expensive) tickets for about $90 each and found the elevated center seating very comfortable. It's a big day - 5.5 hours - and the mix of freely wanderinging around the boat's three levels, short stop-offs and sitting down worked well.
The stewards ran through the plan and safety requirements, then the Captain gave introductions and started his continuously funny commentary. I have not laughed like this in years! It was very subtle humour so not everyone cottoned on immdediately, and of course always polite.
Our boat, the Lady Jane II, was about 10 years old and in excellent condition. A buffet lunch was provided - as a vegetarian, I had two big plate of salad (roasted beetroot, coleslaw, potato, mixed lettuce and Greek salad, with some cubed cheese) - there was also an abundance of smoked salmon and bread rolls. Tea and coffee stations were self-service and a warm welcome. There is also a snack bar / gift shop on board offering candy, chippies, beer, wine, soft drinks and souvenirs.
We headed out of the harbour listening to the Captain's historical commentary, then made a turn at the start of the Southern Ocean to begin our journey down the spectacular Gordon River. Surrounded by World Heritage wilderness, we stopped to see the fish farms and learned about how the salmon and trout are reared, it was very interesting.
Further down the river, we docked for a short walk through thick, ancient rainforest along a well maintained wooden boardwalk with a knowledgeable guide. It was glorious... the freshest air my lungs have every breathed.
After lunch we disembarked once again at Sarah Island. What exciting history and plenty of it. An exuberant guide (actually, an actor from Strachan) told wild-yet-true tales of misery, suffering, mutiny and executions as we walked from site to site. This was the highlight of the day for me, whilst my friend was bored silly. So, if you're not a fan of history, grab the self-guided tour pamphlet as you arrive and take a leisurely stroll around the island.
Heading back to Strachan, we were worn out from a big day and settled into our comfy seats with hot coffee, apples (provided) and a couple of books from the boat's reference library.
What an awesome day, we absolutely loved it and would highly recommend it to any and all, it's not to be missed!
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