It’s the lure of wilderness that attracts a certain type of traveller to Tasmania: the thrill of walks in a pure environment and boat expeditions through primeval rainforest. For those who’d like a taste of this adventure, the west’s holiday hub of Strahan is the place to head. Once a lonely fishing village at the edge of the world, Strahan was transformed into one of Tasmania’s leading wilderness resorts almost overnight by a campaign to preserve the wild Franklin River.
The fast road to Strahan is the A10 which spears southwest of Burnie through tiny mining towns in various stages of atrophy to Queenstown, the rough ’n’ ready heartland of west-coast mining. The road was built in the 1960s to improve access to the northwest forests and logging remains a major industry hereabouts. Along the route the extent of plantation forest may come as a shock (due to its monoculture, it’s the eco equivalent of desert), especially if you’re used to the lushness and biodiversity of the protected wilderness elsewhere. On the stretch from Strahan to Hobart, the A10 passes through the pristine wilderness of the UNESCO-listed Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park and the bottom edge of Cradle Mountain–Lake St Clair National Park; a section of road that’s worth lingering over.