The Red boat….the red boat….the red boat. Every time someone in Tasmania asked what boat, we answered “The red boat”, and their attitude changed from one of caution to one of friendliness. It seems, The Red Boat in Strahan is the one to travel on, the one to experience a day on the river and the only one the Locals seems to truly support.
The Red Boat is part of the family owned World Heritage Cruises out of Strahan, and is what we spent an entire day on exploring the Macquarie River, The Gordon River and so much more.
Our morning started with a cruise down the Macquarie River, and an up close and personal with Hells Gate. Now, we have all heard of Hells Gate, and I think they were named due to the fact that only skilled boat captains, with no fear, were game to travel through the wild waves and wind, the corridor these rock formations formed. There was no other way to enter the river system, without challenging your life on this corridor of hell.
The theory though, is that the rock formations were named by the Guards and the Convicts, as they were only travelling this way to go to one place, and one place only – Sarah Island. Yes, Sarah Island was Hell on earth for these convicts – or was it?
After experiencing the thrill of the roaring winds, watching a couple of pairs of unsuspecting tourists sunglasses fly off overboard, and travelling through Hells Gates, we turned around and travelled back into the river system to enjoy a leisurely cruise down the Gordon River.
We stopped in to view the feeding of the Salmon in the fish farm and marvelled at the coast lines, the trees and the wildlife on the river. We were eager to get to the first stop, and to experience Sarah Island, otherwise known as Hell, for ourselves.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by many, many nasty match flies. A fantastic tour guide, who explained the history of the Island, and who was able to expel many a myth about the Island. I found it interesting that the convicts fought to stay on the Island and feared leaving to go to Port Arthur ( a place we are yet to explore), and that a thriving industry was born on the island and subsequently killed by the rulers of the time when it became too successful – or was it stopped as the convicts were happy and productive?
I guess the answer is one you will need to discover for yourself when you visit!!
After a fantastic time on Sarah island, can you believe that the Ship Slips made out of Huon Pine are still in tact all these years later, and will be for generations to come; we boarded the boat again for a delicious lunch – lunch that included local salmon – oh yeah we were feeling spoilt.
We travelled on down the Gordon River to our next stop, and along the way we watched a seal play with a trout – okay so he was flinging it in the air, and smashing it on the top of the water, so the trout probably didn’t think it a ‘fun game’, but the seal was having an awesome time – as were we.
We stopped off at the Heritage Landing – allowing us to stroll through the World Heritage listed South West Wilderness National Park. We got up close and personal with so many ancient trees, trees that are dated as far back as the last Great Ice Age…it is believed these rainforests took over the land when the Ice Age ended.