The Roaring Forties is the name sailors gave long ago to the latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere from the fortieth to fiftieth parallel. It is the same latitude range in which one finds South America’s rugged Patagonia. It’s well south of Africa’s Cape of Good Hope. It is also the latitude range in which one finds Strahan, the lovely but isolated fishing village on Tasmania’s west coast that was our next destination.
The Roaring Forties are so called because they do roar. Strong, often gale-force winds blow persistently from the west along these parallels, buffeting this coast all year long. The waves that break on this shore have moved uninterrupted from the other side of the world, from South America to Tasmania.
Fortunately, Strahan is somewhat protected by splendid Macquarie Harbour. Historically, the town’s income has come from rock lobster. Today, tourism has become a key income generator, because aside from interesting history (this was once the site of a particularly unpleasant penal colony), it is the entrance to Tasmania’s astonishing World Heritage wilderness, an area so densely forested that most of it remains unexplored.
We would have a chance the next day to explore more, but that first day, we simply wandered through town, enjoying its charm and the beauty of the location, returning to camp in time for sunset.