The morning after our big hike, we headed towards Strahan on the western coast. We stopped along the way for a stretch and a waterfall view. I went down a steep side trail and found the falls… the others missed me and followed the trail… and never saw the falls!
We found our lodging, unloaded a bit, and headed to the local park to see if we might have any luck sighting the platypus that are native to this area. Lucky us!! With some waiting, we were able to see one of the little guys. There is a nice waterfall at the end of the path.
Our campground area had a resident platypus in the creek. We were able to see him both mornings, albeit briefly. There is a video at the end of this post!
We took a boat cruise around the Macquarie Harbor and up the Gordon River. This is the area that is fabled to still have Tasmanian Tigers. Most scientists think they have been extinct for a long time, but a few very wealthy people have spent a lot of time and money to try and find them. It isn’t as far-fetched as Sasquatch… at least they did exist at some point!
Strahan is famous for its Huon Pine. It is like sandalwood or maybe koa in Hawaii, very nice wood that makes fabulous furniture. Similar to the sandalwood, the Huon was nearly wiped out with logging. What they found is that it makes good ships. So several of the penal colonies, most notably Sarah Island in the Macquarie Harbor, started building ships. (Later the building moved to Port Arthur in the south). The story of Sarah Island is pretty interesting. It had the typical horrid conditions and violent rule by the warden. Then a shipbuilder took over as warden and taught the inmates how to build ships. The conditions were better and the men almost enjoyed working hard. Of course, some higher-up decided that they weren’t being punished enough and basically screwed the whole thing up.
The locals still use the pine as well as other woods to make all sorts of knick-knacks, and have an ancient sawmill on display. They also put on an entertaining play about a group of inmates who were delivering a ship and relocated themselves to Chile.