When planning your tour of Tasmania, include the rugged West Coast with its windswept beaches, cold climate rainforests and fascinating history. The small town of Strahan is an ideal base allowing you to enjoy the sense of isolation that comes with staying in one of the world’s most far-flung places.
Five kilometres from Strahan, the vast, pristine sands of Ocean Beach beckon. At 36 kilometres, this is Tasmania’s longest beach giving you the chance to walk for hours whilst admiring the wild, untamed ocean. A glance at the swirling currents acts as a warning that this is a beach for exploring and collecting pretty stones rather than swimming.
Keen birdwatchers should take their binoculars as red-capped plovers, pied and sooty oystercatchers, short-tailed shearwaters and sea eagles are frequently spotted. If visiting in summer, stay after dusk to watch the shearwaters or mutton birds coming ashore to feed their young. It is magical to see them circling overhead and landing close by on the beach.
Seals and sea lions often laze along the beach. Take photographs from a distance to avoid disturbing these magnificent creatures. In the many small creeks that run to the beach, you may see a platypus, particularly at dusk. Sadly, Ocean Beach has also been the site of mass whale strandings. Remains of whale bones can be seen in the sand dunes along the beach.
Visit Ocean Beach just on sunset. Watch the sun sink slowly into the waves of the Southern Ocean with nothing between you and Argentina. Enjoy the serenity as the spectacular hues gradually give way to darkness and fog rolls in changing the mood completely.
Ocean Beach is a popular 4WD and sand boarding destination. This is the best way to reach the Henty Sand Dunes which are the largest moving sand dunes in Australia. It is best to seek local knowledge or even take a guide with you as hazards such as quicksand await the unwary.
The mouth of the Henty River is locally renowned as a great spot for beach fishing. Australian salmon, shark and skate are your main targets. Once again, make sure you ask for local advice as, at times, the Henty River can turn into a raging torrent.
Make sure you experience the untamed beauty of this under-rated attraction when visiting Strahan. It will leave you feeling refreshed, invigorated and ready to face your next adventure.
Image credit: Jason Futrill