Go wild with ease
IN theory, I love adventure. Conceptually, the idea of paddling down a remote Tasmanian river, surrounded by wilderness without another tourist in sight, thrills me to my core.
In reality though, I like my adventure just the way I like my eggs - firm enough to be fun but soft enough to be comfortable.
Which could be translated to mean “no camping or sleeping in wet sleeping bags, no leeches, no freeze-dried food, no hard work”.
Which is exactly what you get on the full-day, fully-guided Gordon River Paddle. Departing from Strahan, on Tasmania's west coast, the trip begins with a cruise up the Gordon River.
But what makes this trip really special is that our real starting point begins where all the other tours end, at Heritage Landing, the furthest point up the Gordon River that cruise boats can go.
Weather gods are smiling on us, and it's an easy paddle in perfect weather conditions, the ink-black river glinting in the brilliant sunshine that is rare in these parts.
It's a serene sea level view of the World Heritage-listed wilderness, the intense silence broken only by the call of birds hidden in the rainforest and the soft splash of your paddle.
As we paddle, our guide tells us stories about the tough-as-guts piners who once worked the impenetrable forests, pulling out the ancient Huon pines that were so highly prized for ship building.
We paddle upriver for around 90 minutes and pull up at a sheltered crescent of sand on a bend beneath beautiful moss-covered myrtles and sassafras, where our guide lays out a picnic lunch, before paddling back downstream to meet the Lady Jane Franklin II afternoon cruise boat at Heritage Landing.
It's about three hours back to Strahan, with a stop on the way for a tour of the once infamously brutal penal colony on Sarah Island, and includes dinner on the way home.
It's a long day - the cruise component is six hours, and you can add another four for the paddle extension.
But for those who like their wilderness the easy way, without the hard slog, heavy backpacks and other accoutrements that seem an essential part of any Tasmanian adventure, it's a great way to go. You have to be in it to really see it.Practical Information
Gordon River Paddle full-day trip costs $310 and includes the full Gordon River Cruise aboard the Lady Jane Franklin II on the Premier upper deck (ticket price worth $210), all kayaking gear, food and drinks.
Strahan is a three-and-a-half hour drive from Launceston (274km).
Strahan Village has 141 motel-style rooms high on the hill overlooking the harbour.
For bookings visit www.puretasmania.com.au or call 1800 084 620.