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2 weeks around Tasmania

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by friction, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. With my work taking holidays for 2 weeks, I decided to do a road trip with myself and my partner around Tassie, alternating between camping and youth hostels.

    This diary will hopefully give other people interested in Tassie an idea what's worth stopping for - and what's not.

    On each day of travel, I'll link to a Google map which shows the route we took.

    This diary will also review the Suzuki GSX 650F, the DriRider gear with both wore, the Ventura equipment we used, and the Sena Bluetooth headsets we used. See the last entry for the findings, which I'll also copy/paste into the relevant sub-forums.

  2. Day 0 - The Spirit of Tasmania

    An overnight trip with a cabin is definitely the way to go. Tickets are available as Super Savers (cheapest but 100% cancellation fee), Savers, and Flexi. The Super Savers go FAST so book as early as possible, but the differences in price are $137, $178 and $246 per person one-way for a private cabin with 2 beds. The bike adds $54 each way. Book with http://www.travelwithacause.org/spirit-of-tasmania.php and some of the ticket cost goes to a good cause.

  3. Day 1 - Devonport -> Bay of Fires -> Ansons Bay -> Launceston


    The boat arrived at 6am, giving us heaps of time to get to the Bay of Fires, where we had lunch and did a short walk. For adventure, on the way back, we cut through a road marked "2wd with care" to get to Ansons Bay. Nearly dropped it going through some sand, but a bit of throttle fixed that.

  4. Day 4 - Cradle Mountain Tourist Day

    No travel, just a day-long hike up to Cradle Peak and around Dove Lake, blizzard was free but park entry was not. Also did a tour of the Tassie Devil park in Cradle Mountain, and got to pat a baby one... so awesome.

  5. Day 6 - Strahan Tourist Day

    Again no travel, but we did the Wilderness Railway which is far more expensive than I realised - $168 per person! It does take 5 hours including a bus trip and lunch, and did cost millions to restore, but that's still a lot. Still you can't go to Strahan and not do it.

  6. Day 8 - Strathgorden Tourist Day

    Visited the hydroelectric dam, and did a 5 hour return hike up Mount Wedge, but in hindsight we should have had an extra night to stay at Stanley instead.

  7. Day 10 - Southport Tourist Day

    Visited the Tahuna Airwalk, which isn't bad but not as good as the one near the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, but the weather was still pretty awful. The reason you can't see the top of the mountain is because it's covered in snow. In December.

  8. Day 14 - Port Arthur Tourist Day

    The Port Arthur Historic Site, not only being the site of one of the most notable prisons in Australia but also the site of the Port Arthur massacre is a must visit.

  9. Day 16 - The Spirit of Tasmania

    We did a day trip this time, and man does the 9 hour trip pass slowly. At least the tickets are cheaper ($105 pp on a Super Saver pass).
  10. Review of the Suzuki GSX 650F

    Being quite a big bike, it comfortably held a Ventura Rack with the Aero Spada on the back (clothes and food), the Aero Delta zipped to it (motorbike gear linings, jumpers etc), the Monza Panniers (tent, cooker, sleeping bags), the Thruxton tank bag (snacks, water, rechargers, papers etc), AND a Pillion. That's impressive I think.

    Being a 650 carrying that much weight, it wasn't as zippy as normal, but with it's power being in the lower rev range than the 600R, it was sufficiently quick after a tight bend providing you're in the correct gear.

    Having the vertical headlight I think makes it a snazzy looking bike, but it sure can do with an aftermarket exhaust and a fender eliminator. It's also worth replacing the antennae style front indicators with flush mounts and replacing the mirrors with ones that have a built-in LED.

    My biggest problem is the lack of ABS on the 2008 model. With that much weight, the stopping power is greatly reduced and at times with some loose stones the back end got a bit out of shape. In an emergency braking situation, ABS would mean the difference between a fall and a scare.

    It had reasonably fuel economy, 300km per tank of 15L or so with a single rider, about 260km with a pillion and full luggage.

    It does tend to get warm, even after fairly easy riding a stop of more than about 2 mins will kick on the electric fan.

    Also the use of sports faring does limit the places you can put gear. The popular "over the handlebars" spot for a foam mattress isn't available, but this isn't a huge problem.

    My only complaint is the shape of the seat - which is angled such that the pillion slides forward under even the lightest braking leaving a whole heap or room behind them. On the plus, the pillion foot pegs are positioned much better than on usual sports bikes.

    In general, the GSX650F is no track bike, nor would you do the Long Way Round on it, but as something you can commute on, do a day trip in the twisties, and do a two week trip around Tassie, it's the perfect one-bike-fits-all-situations choice.
  11. Review of Ventura Luggage

    Ventura is perhaps the biggest brand when it comes to luggage systems, in fact my bike came with a Ventura rack and Spada bag when I bought it second hand. I added the Delta bag (zips onto the other side of the L bracket attached to the Spada, the Monza panniers and the Thruxton tank bag.

    While good in general, the problem with the Aero is that the plastic backing warps over time and creates quite a sharp edge, this causes problems when trying to get gear into it. It's also one of the few non-removable plastic backings so there seems to be no way to bend it back into shape.

    The Delta was excellent, having two size settings meant I could zip it up and leave heaps of room for the pillion.

    The Monza panniers were pretty horrible, the position of the velcro attachment means that they hang down quite low and I needed to use Andy Straps to connect the carrying handles to stop the right hand side from resting on the exhaust. Even though I was quite diligent in checking, at some point they rested on the exhaust and a hole got burnt in the bottom of one side. Not only can you not buy them individually, but the plastic zipper melted right along with it so now it's stuck on "small" size.

    The Thruxton tank bag was excellent, expanding to an enormous size when necessary, and the magnets being sufficiently strong that I never felt it was insecure at any time.