STRAHAN is not just the only town and port on Tassie’s wild west coast; it is also one of the premier tourist destinations in Tasmania. “The best little town in the world”, said the Chicago Tribune newspaper in 2011 of what is just an over-sized village. The reason is twofold: its setting on Macquarie Harbour, a body of water over six times the size of Sydney’s harbour; and the surrounding southwestern wilderness.
Such is its fame that, in summer at least, Strahan has ceased to be “real” in the normal sense. For all the hype about a typical west-coast village, fishing is a sideshow to tourism. Strahan is on a different level from other towns in west Tasmania, with more agencies offering sightseeing trips and activities than in the rest of the area combined. What saves it from tackiness is that it remains an attractive place – the tourism infrastructure on the harbour is far from the eyesore it could have been – and the surrounding wilderness is as compelling as ever.