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“Breathtaking Wilderness, Hilarious Captain” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Gordon River Cruises

Gordon River Cruises
The Esplanade, Strahan, Tasmania, Australia
+61 3 6471 4300
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Ranked #3 of 12 Attractions in Strahan
Type: Boat Tours, Sightseeing Tours
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Owner description: Gordon River Cruises is an award winning wilderness experience in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Departing from Strahan on Tasmania's west coast, Gordon River Cruises offers half day cruises on the Gordon River aboard its sleek, purpose built tour vessel.
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Breathtaking Wilderness, Hilarious Captain”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2011

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!

Visited May 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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340 reviews from our community

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Gold Coast
Top Contributor
263 reviews 263 reviews
46 attraction reviews
Reviews in 105 cities Reviews in 105 cities
123 helpful votes 123 helpful votes
“One of the main attractions in Strahan”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2011

When in Strahan most people go on a Gordon River Cruise and the West Coast Wilderness Railway and we were no different. We opted for the morning cruise and although the weather was overcast it was a nice still day so while we were cruising up the river the reflection of the water was beautiful. The trip to Sarah Island was interesting but the ruins are not as good as some of the other convict colonies you will find in Tasmania. The tour guides were great though. Make sure you dress warm if you want to go out on deck to get the best views. There are two operators in town and both boats looked similar except for the colour.

Visited February 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Country NSW
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Gordon River Paddle - Fantastic”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2011

The Gordon River Paddle is run by the same company that does the Gordon River Cruise. You basically do the morning Gordon River Cruise but once you get to Heritage Landing the Lady Jane Franklin II turns around & the kayaking begins. You kayak up the river & have lunch on the bank & then kayak back down to meet the afternoon cruise. You don’t need to have previous experience kayaking as the guide will show you how. The maximum number of paddlers is eight, but there were only four on the day we did it, which made for a lovely intimate group. It really is a fantastic experience, we were fortunate to have a beautiful day the mirror reflections were really amazing. Our guide Kath was very knowledgeable & enthusiastic about the area. We were lucky to see 2 platypuses on the paddle. We spent 3 weeks in Tasmania & this was definitely the highlight of the trip.

Visited March 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
91 helpful votes 91 helpful votes
“Must do experience, but careless captain slightly disconcerting”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2011

This is a must do experience! The cruise (which starts at 8.30am and ends around 2pm) takes you out of Strahan, into the Macquarie Harbour, out a little beyond the harbour near Hell's Gate, then back into the harbour and up the Gordon River. It stops a couple of times: first at a national park, then at Sarah Island.

There are three classes of accomodation: upstairs at the premier captain's deck, with comfy leather seats, with premium service and fabulous food and wine; and downstairs - premium window seat, and ordinary middle section seats. The upstairs premium class was $210 (which is where I travelled), and the downstairs seats are about half the price.

The vessel is impressive - very new and modern, with beautifully finished and clean interior. The trip through the wilderness, in world-heritage listed gordon river, is spectacular.

However, it is disconcerting that, seating upstairs, you observe that the captain is 'absent' from the post a large part of the time. Sure, the captain may have travelled the river many many times, but to leave the bridge unattended, whilst the captain takes a walk down the aisle to talk to passengers, is a little scary. Even more scary: when the captain permits untrained passengers (including a child of around 12 years old) to take control of the 70 tonne vessel, travelling around 28 knots, with 200 passengers on board, for a large part of the journey (whilst the captain is chatting to other passengers, some 10 metres from the controls). Not my idea of safe sailing!

Visited February 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Beautiful forests made it worth it”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2011

Despite my average rating, this cruise is still THE thing to do in Strahan. The forest along the Gordon River is pristine and spectacular and the black tannin-stained water unique. The tour was well organized, onboard commentary was professional and informative and the buffet lunch was lovely. We enjoyed being able to get up and move freely around the boat to take photos (take that into account when considering an upgrade to a window seat, although I still thought the window seat was worth paying extra for). Where the tour lost points with me was with the two stop-offs. The forest boardwalk felt a bit pointless being rushed through with a full boat load of people (I recommend the Tahune Airwalk in the Huon Valley for a similar experience minus the crowds). The Sarah Island stop-off paled in comparison to Port Arthur and I'm not convinced that actors make the best tour guides if you actually want to learn anything about the island. Ours was more interested in hearing his own voice, posing for photos and getting laughs than being informative.

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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