Nov 13 Across the harbour at Strahan which is twice the size of Sydney Harbour, we exit through the smallest entrance of all major harbours at Hells Gates, barely 75 metres wide, into the southern ocean. Hells Gates was named by the early convicts who were destined for Sarah Island which they regarded as a living hell. We return into the harbour passing fish farms that produced 15 tonnes of salmon and trout in 2010.
We stop at Sarah Island, open as a penal convict settlement from 1822 to 1833. It was known for its hard labour and cruel and vicious punishments. They cut the famous Huon Pine and created a very successful shipbuilding yard.
Next stop on the itinerary is the beautiful Gordon River where ancient rainforest is mirrored in the river’s dark waters which are stained amber by tannins in the local flora. At Heritage Landing we walk ashore into the rainforest to see a 2,000 year old Huon Pine plus its younger descendant at 70 years old. In 1964 the felling of Huon Pine was prohibited due to the fact that it is the longest growing tree. This does not effect the local timber industry as they simply collect old logs that were felled by the convicts hundreds of years ago and are perfectly preserved due to the high natural oil content.