Strahan by contrast (to Queenstown) was vivid, alive!
A place where West Coast tourists congregated,
To share the joy of the Wilderness Cruise,
Or ride the rail, faithfully renovated,
Along the steep, river gorges to Queenstown.
So much to see, to be appreciated!
Hell’s Gates was rather benign on the day
We explored Macquarie Harbour by boat.
This was where the safe harbour met the sea
On a coastline treacherous, and remote.
Just metres across, the channel was slim,
Difficult to navigate, – stay afloat!
Mountain mist and bushfire smoke framed the hills,
That fringed the wild, Gordon River valley.
Huon pine grew alongside the water’s edge,
When the visiting tourists stopped to dally
Among myrtles, pines and rainforest trees,
A magic place,for Joy and I to sally.
A very, special innovation was
Incorporated in the boat we were on.
Electric motors propelled the craft
When making way on the River Gordon,
Quiet and unobtrusive they allowed guests
To enjoy this Tasmanian icon.
I thought of days a hundred years before
When piners used the Gordon’s water flow
To float the Huon Pine cut from bush-clad hills,
And steep sided gullies in which they’d go,
For weeks on end, living on damper,
Enduring wind, and rain, and sometimes snow!
The Gordon has changed little in forty years
When the Dennison Star plied the river,
An exciting new Huon pine vessel
That took visitors each day into a sliver
Of Tasmania’s World Heritage Area,
A whole new experience to deliver.
Sarah Island, a penal settlement,
Isolated, cold, wet, bleak and austere,
Where the worst of felons and their captors
Built a thriving, colonial shipyard there.
Harsh as the convict penal site once was,
Time has mellowed this island of despair.
The return to Strahan was swift and brief
Arriving at the wharf mid afternoon.
The food on the boat was plentiful, nice,
The informative, helpful crew were a boon.
We thoroughly enjoyed our wilderness cruise
And both would like the chance to come back soon.