top of page
  • Shelley Dark

#13 Strahan

After spending a lifetime of summers in sticky muggy Queensland, it's hard to imagine a better destination at this time of year than Strahan.

While the rest of Australia has sweltered, we've been here for two weeks delighting in the bracing air and chilly breezes of the early mornings. Most days I've started with a jumper, and temperatures in the middle of the day have hovered in the balmy low to early twenties. 

It's is a sleepy little fishing village near the mouth of Macquarie Harbour on the west coast, population at last census 705.That's boosted by tourists who come to see the forests of the Gordon River, and the amazing rack and pinion railway line which still runs tourists to Queenstown.

Two kilometres away is the even sleepier Lettes Bay.

It's an historical shanty town of corrugated iron shacks built by miners from the 1890's to the middle of the twentieth century.

They used what building materials they could carry from the railway, and the crown land they sit on is used communally.

It's a charming time warp of colourful dunnies, where the most startling occurrence is the weekly garbage truck or the very occasional sound of kids jumping off the ricketty jetty.

Super-stylist and marketer Sarah Andrews has converted a derelict seafront shack into a very attractive weekend cottage for two.

By using 12-pane antique windows she found in Launceston, she's filled the space with light reflected in the glossy reclaimed Tasmanian oak floors.

There's an eclectic mix of vintage and op-shop; a palette of white, rust and forest green, and the textural contrasts of wicker and old rope, linen and velvet.

It's a photographic opportunity at every turn.

Our only complaint after two weeks was the clawfoot bath with no shower - you need to be mobile enough to get in and out, and prepared to wash your hair with a hand-held nozzle.

We've loved the ever-changing light on the bay.

From sun to rain.

Or just sitting dreaming...

It's an extraordinary place of peace and solitude. I think I'd even like to be here in winter to watch the sunsets, fogs and wild weather through those soaring windows. With a fire roaring in the wood heater!

It's only a few steps to the water. It's a constant joy watching the changes of light.

And the ducks! There were two mothers with a combined baby count of 28. Then after a commotion one night, it went down to 15, and there it stayed.

No one, including the ducklings, is quite sure who belongs to whom.