Gordon River Cruise Strahan…& Restaurant

by Brendon on May 19, 2009

After a nice sleep at the Regatta Hotel in Strahan (it’s the hotel/motel just out of town – the only other hotel aside from the main one on the wharf I think) we woke early for the Gordon River Cruise.

Because the hotel is about 1.5 kms out of the middle of Strahan we rode the bikes down.

The thing about Strahan is it was the only town we found that was set up to get the tourist for as much as they possibly could.

I guess it’s because if you visit Strahan you’re a tourist and you don’t have a lot of options once you’re there – you’re a long, long drive away from anywhere so are essentially stuck with what’s there.

That’s why – in this tiny, tiny town – we had no choice but to park the bikes in a carpark that charged $4 for the park.

Then we headed over to the cruise boat.

We’d booked this one because it wasn’t the one owned by Federal Hotels (the same mega company that owns Wrest Point Casino, as well as the main hotel, bakery, railway, etc in Strahan) – it’s owned and run by a family that’s been doing it for years.

(One of the things we tried to do on the trip was buy from the small businessperson rather than big companies.)

The cruise was, from memory $85 and worth every cent.


Birdman, Poss & Riley cuddle up on deck

The boat was great, the lunch (included in the price) fantastic and the crew friendly.  The river itself and the views are simply amazing.


Included was a tour of the infamous Sarah Island – the Tour Guide made it sound like a holiday camp for mischievous little boys (!) – it’s an amazing part of Tasmania’s convict history and was once a one very effective and efficient ship-building yard.

riley-sarahRiley reads up on Sarah Island….on Sarah Island

You have to do this cruise if you hit Strahan.

Captain Grumpy Ass

The guy who pilots the boat was a sour bugger though and numerous passengers commented on what a grumpy ass he was.  His commentary was very thorough with tons of detail.

An interesting bit old Captain Grumpy Ass did tell us was about the Salmon and Ocean Trout farming done in Macquarie Harbour.

These fish farms in the harbour are basically just nets 20 metres deep.

The fish grow and grow and by the time they’re ready to be pulled up, they’re swimming nose to tail – basically they’re just battery fish!

salmonDidn’t stop the guys from ordering it next time they saw
Salmon on the menu

At the end of the tour we pulled out the Lonely Planet book to find ourselves a decent restaurant for the night.

Riley and I found Risby Cove Restaurant.

“One of the finest restaurants in Strahan” They Claim.

“Bullshit” I Say

Risby’s claims to be “One of the finest restaurants in Strahan”.

Bullshit!  I say.

If they think that they’re kidding themselves!

Risby’s is one of the finest restaurants in Australia, if not the world.

Don’t worry about just little old Strahan!waitress

Amazing Food

Absolutely amazing is the only way to describe the food.  Without doubt the best food I’ve ever had (I had the Striped Trumpeter).

Everything was fresh and delicious.

Here’s the full menu.

We were constantly astounded with each course – we had breads and then 3 courses, coffees and cheese, wines and beers.

The service was very friendly and cheeky, which is what you need when you’ve got 6 boisterous blokes at the table.

An Absolute Bargain

The bill was, from memory, $621 for 6 of us.  $103 each for the feast we had was an absolute bargain.

After that feast we, naturally enough, headed back to the Regatta Hotel for a nightcap or 3.

Vicki ended up sending us on our way with a roadie…..even though it was just a 40 metre walk to our rooms!

She’s got style that woman!

In the morning we headed out…….more coming soon