About 6 km out of Strahan, and North of Macquarie Heads, is Ocean Beach, with a wide expanse of sand and huge sand dunes, created by the strong prevailing winds. The 30km beach, with panoramic views of the Southern Ocean, is the longest in Tasmanian, but there are severe rip tides and sweeps, so it’s too dangerous to swim, and whales frequently get stranded along this stretch of coast-line. Ocean Beach is further south than Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, and can be exposed to extreme weather conditions. The waves average 3 metres, but the biggest wave recorded was over 21 metres. The strong westerly winds hitting Ocean Beach, coming from South America, often known as the Roaring Forties, were a major help to the old sailing ships on their way to Australia.
While we were staying in Strahan we paid a visit to Ocean Beach. With a brisk wind in our faces, we climbed down through the sand dunes to the beach. As we emerged from the protection of the dunes, our ears were assailed by the sound of waves pounding relentlessly onto the hard caked sand. I’m not sure whether the wind was blowing from Antarctica or South America, but it was fresh and clear, and scientists claim that the air on the West Coast of Tasmania is the cleanest air on earth! The beach was completely deserted, and with the dunes behind us, and that great desolate expanse of pale sand slipping away into the distance, it felt as though we were at the end of the known world!
They say that the sunsets on Ocean beach are glorious, but I’m afraid it was too chilly, so we didn’t stay long enough to find out.