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Yet another Tassie trip report - why wouldn't you!

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by gegvasco, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. Planned it for a while and finally got there. WOW. What a place. Does anymore need to be said? Not really. Well maybe just a little.
    3 weeks, 6134km(including about 1000km dirt), a new rear tyre, and 300 photos later I have to say that it has been a very long time since I have had such a good holiday.

    The Plan
    Two days riding down to the ferry via some Alpine back roads, doing the same on the way back. Once in Tassie, well I couldn't help myself so I ended up being very methodical about tackling 3 weeks in Tassie. I cut the state into 4 and decided to pick a central town in each quarter and use that as a base for about 3-4 days at a hit to explore each quarter. That way I could dump the luggage most days and day trip through the best bits. I started in the North East after getting off the ferry at Devonport, working clockwise around the state. This plan almost worked - if it wasn't for the fact there aren't always any decent towns centrally placed in each quarter. Worked well for the east coast but was no good on the west.

    Getting There
    First two days were spent getting to the ferry: Day 1 - Sydney down the coast road to Bega and then inland across Brown Mountain stopping at Bombala overnight. Good riding roads but weather a bit shitty and combined with in-progress roadworks down south(probably Joel's), ended up with a nice film of mud on nearly everything! Day 2 - Delegate then the Bonang Hwy to Orbost then the boreway direct to the ferry. - beautiful country and great twisties. Imagine if there wasn't so much dirt on the Bonang. What a road it would be(it turned to dirt just after this photo)

    North East
    Off the ferry, did half the farm roads between Devonport and Launy. I highly recommend taking the B54 from Deloraine to Launy instead of the Highway. Some gorgeous little towns through that way, same as up near Beaconsfield(was amazed that the now famous mine is basically in the back block of the main street - when they say it is a mining town they aren't kidding!). To finish off, went direct from Launy to Scottsdale via the A3(Tasman Hwy). There is a section of this called "The Sidling". Holy shit, it was brilliant - Macquarie pass all over but no traffic! Set up base in Scottsdale.

    Second day was spent exploring everything between Scottsdale and the North coast including a whole lot of back forestry trails through the hills.
    How much fun was that! It had rained so the bike gained about 30kg in mud. At one point I couldn't see the oil cooler or radiator anymore so figured I'd better scrape off some mud. Then when I was in the middle of absolutely nowhere
    and hadn't seen a soul in 3 hours, I get a 2 mil wood drill bit(of all bloody things!) right through the rear tyre and out the sidewall. I'm on my own, with no mobile coverage, it is about 30km to the nearest road and I have a near catastrophically punctured tyre. After an hour of trying to get some repair plugs into both the entry wound in the tread and the exit wound in the sidewall it seems to be holding air. Of course, in the 3 weeks I was away the only time it rained was while I was fixing the puncture! Unfortunately, as expected the puncture wasn't fully fixed and it was going flat again every 10k's. But with two full puncture kits including 6 gas cyclinders I managed to limp back into Scottsdale to the bike shop(lucky they had a proper one) just as the rear tyre was gasping it's last on the last cylinder.

    So I walk in there covered in mud and a little soaked and thinking it would be days to get a tyre in so I make a bit of a joke - "How are you off for rear V-Strom tyres?" Answer - "Which style do you want, we have three?" WTF! I couldn't believe it. In a shop that only had chook chasers in the front window, he had three different choices, both front and rear. Within an hour I had a new rear tyre installed after they dropped everything to help me out. If you need anything bike wise while in the region, check out the Suzuki shop in Scottsdale. Great blokes.

    more to follow...

    After Scottsdale, it is off to the East Coast via the rest of the Tasman Hwy to St Helens. The road from Moorina through to Goshen is incredible. Shame the bike was fully loaded up because I wasn't pushing that hard otherwise I wouldn't have much left of the peg-sliders(keeping in mind the Strom doesn't have much peg clearance anyway so you don't need a lot of skill to get over that far). Stopped in at a few places along the way including Binalong Bay.
    http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e121/gegvasco/Tasmania Trip/08-BinalongBay1.jpg
    If coming down the coast from St Helens I highly recommend taking the road up to St Mary's. It is all twisties up a gorge and the surface is brilliant. It was one of the best fun bits of road on the whole trip. From St. Mary's I went inland via the Esk Rd(A4) but I diverted North at Fingal onto the B42 which hugged the bottom of the Ben Lomond Range which is spectacular. It runs up the hill through twisties to Rossarden although the road suface is a bit dodgy. As far as small mining towns lost to time go, Rossarden is incredible and they literally have deer roaming the main street! I shit you not. The road down from Rossarden to Avoca is a brilliant run. Great surface, lots of twisties and brilliant scenery.
    http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e121/gegvasco/Tasmania Trip/09-Avoca1.jpg
    After Avoca I tracked to Campbell Town which is a sizeable town on the main North-South highway where every second building has National Trust status. From there back to the Coast via the Freycinet Peninsula which is phenomenal and then an overnight at Bicheno.

    Next day was a quite coastal run down to Hobart where I pulled in at a dodgy motel trapped in the 70's just over the Tasman bridge from Hobart itself. I made camp here for two days having a break from riding on the first day to explore Hobart Town on foot.
    http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e121/gegvasco/Tasmania Trip/16-HobartTown5.jpg

    more to follow...

    I headed off to the Tasman Peninsula and Port Arthur. That whole region is beautiful. The roads are good but are more fast sweepers than twisties. I highly recommend taking the long way to Port Arthur via Maingon Bay.

    http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e121/gegvasco/Tasmania Trip/20-MaingonBay1.jpg

    Allow a half day at Port Arthur to have a good look. If you are at all interested in History, it will have you busy for at least a full afternoon. And if you like photography, well....

    http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e121/gegvasco/Tasmania Trip/31-PortArthur08.jpg

    http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e121/gegvasco/Tasmania Trip/44-PortArthur21.jpg

    more to follow...

    As I left Hobart, I did the required trip up Mount Wellington, from which the views are spectacular. The road up is twisty with a good surface but narrow and the cost of error in going wide is almost certain death as the choices are rock face, solid forest or sheer drop off the side of the mountain. Given the tourists are normally too busy looking at the view, it is a good chance you will have to come to a screaming halt at some point in a corner as a 4WD comes round a blind corner fully on your side of the road and won't correct. As can be seen the weather gods had blessed me for making the trip 4000 feet up.

    http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e121/gegvasco/Tasmania Trip/47-MountWellington3.jpg

    http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e121/gegvasco/Tasmania Trip/48-MountWellington4.jpg

    The back roads down from the mountain heading south west towards Longley would be great under normal circumstances, but for some bloody unknown reason the roadworks that stretch for 30km through the twisties consist of laying a solid layer of fine gravel and dirt over good tarmac! What a waste. It was slow going and infuriating because it would have been a brilliant ride otherwise. Luckily it hadn't rained otherwise it would have been extremely messy as well.

    I headed to the Huon Valley south of Hobart via Margate and Kettering. On the way, I did a detour via Oyster Cove and Nicholls Rivulet along the C626, then back along the C627 through Gardner's Bay. Now these roads were f^&*ing outstanding. No traffic, great surface, wide lanes, lots of 35-55kph recommended twisties and heading up and down hills through a river valley. You have to do these roads if you go down that way. Once through Huonville and heading south down the A6, while very picturesque there isn't much to talk of in the way of great riding roads apart from lots of sweepers. I got off the beaten track again and headed down as far as Recherche Bay and Cockle Creek. Then I returned all the way North and pulled up in New Norfolk overnight which is about 30k's up the A10 from Hobart.

    I spent a couple of nights at New Norfolk at a Guest House(Rosie's Inn - any relation Rosie? :p ) which turned out to be "Death By Doily". It was a little too well appointed and very......frilly. The old couple that ran it, much like a B+B but with 20 rooms, were really nice though and I would recommend the place especially if you are cruising as a couple. I don't know how 20 bikers turning up would go though. It was a good base to head up the B61 to Lakes Gordon and Pedder. It was bloody cold hence the 19 layers I was wearing!

    http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e121/gegvasco/Tasmania Trip/52-HeroShot.jpg

    more to follow...

    Even up there, the dams are really low as this photo of one of the upper reaches of Lake Gordon shows - that is the middle of Ragged Basin that the bike is parked in!.

    http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e121/gegvasco/Tasmania Trip/54-LakeGordon2.jpg

    If you want to bash some greenies this is the place to go as well. Half way up the road they have a tent embassy and a blockade setup at a logging road. You could see and smell the dreadlocks from 10km away! The road runs up through a whole lot of different mountain ranges is spectacular.

    http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e121/gegvasco/Tasmania Trip/56-SentinelRange.jpg

    The Gordon Dam is worth a look, unless of course you suffer from Vertigo - it has a double concave wall so the top of it overhangs the base. You can walk out along it and when you look over the edge, there is nothing below you for about 100m to the river below.

    After another night in Doily city, I headed North West up the A10 to Queenstown. On the way, divert through Tarraleah. It is similar to the Tumut 3 power station with the 6 pipes coming down the hill although a little smaller and less spectacular. You can get a good coffee at the Tarraleah hotel/cafe and you will need it given how bloody cold it gets up there! After Tarraleah the road gets a little boring through the plains near Lake St Clair, but it makes up for that later! Once past the lakes it gets real good through the twisties including Victoria Pass! Good(not great) road surface, outstanding corners and only a little traffic. This is a good 100km run. Then just after doing Victoria Pass when you are blown away by how much fun this place is, the landscape becomes moonlike with hardly a tree in sight and then the REAL corners start. The last 15km leading into Queenstown is outstanding, one of the highlights of the state. All twists with hardly a corner over a recommended speed of 45kph, all the while descending near vertically into Queenstown. The roads are wide and well surfaced but there are some very blind corners and nowhere to overtake if you come up against one of the plethora of Maui campervans doing 10kph down the hill. And it is a given that if you lose it and go off the cliff, best have a parachute packed! Queenstown is barren in a truly awe-inspiring way. I'll let the picture do the talking...

    http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e121/gegvasco/Tasmania Trip/61-Queenstown2.jpg

    more to follow...

    It was only a morning's ride up from New Norfolk so although I was parking in Queenstown that night, I continued on westward to Strahan.

    http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e121/gegvasco/Tasmania Trip/63-Strahan.jpg

    Good fun roads almost all the way - either fast sweepers or 35-55kph corners. Having read "For The Term of His Natural Life" I had to take the dirt track down to Hells Gates which is the entry into Macquarie Harbour. What a disappointment. Not because of the scenery but because Easter had hit and the entire place was like Pitt Street for 4WDs. Walking down the beach the 4WDs were in a traffic jam! I'm not joking. The place was mobbed. I had been expecting it to be one of the most desolate and remote places but I couldn't wait to get out of there to get away from the crowds and the thousands of A/T tyres with my name on them. Following this disappointment, I headed north to Zeehan. The roads weren't quite as much fun but it was still good scenery with the churning Southern Ocean out one side of the visor and some hills and smaller ranges out the other. Once past Zeehan it was north-west onto the C249 from some good fast sweepers interspersed with some tight corners around river gorges through the hydro region of Lake Pieman. This was a long section back to the A10 at Tullah but was definetely worth the diversion.

    After Tullah, I headed south back to Queenstown for the night and decided to bypass the A10 and take the B24 through the West Coast Range. YOU HAVE TO DO THIS ROAD! As long as it isn't too early in the morning as it will by fogged in and the ice on the road will put pay to you! This road wraps itself around Mt Murchison(in the photo) and then runs through a whole lot of other entirely spectacular mountains.

    http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e121/gegvasco/Tasmania Trip/65-MountMurchison.jpg

    I went through there on a clear afternoon which meant the sun was lighting up the upper peaks while the valleys I was riding in were in shadow. It was so breathtaking I had to slow down because I was spending so much time with my eyes OFF the road. I even came across an enormous Eagle that was hoeing into some road kill. It didn't flinch as I roared past and I swear it stared ME down! It wouldn't hang around for a photo though!

    North West
    The next morning I headed off from Queenstown a little too early because while the fog had well lifted from Queenstown, it was still solid north through the hills which made the first 100km a problem - no scenery and damp roads with a high probability of black ice. So after tippy-toeing back past Tullah I thought I'd better make use of the crystal clear day and head to Cradle Mountain as the fog would have cleared by the time I got there. Again, what a disappointment. I should have expected it but given it being a tourist landmark everything about being there was an annoyance. The volume of traffic, the ridiculously lowered speed limits, the speed of the traffic(normally 20-30 under the speed limit) and then after the first big carpark where the tours leave from, the road has had slow points put into it every 50m! This makes it one lane at best and they have even done this on blind corners. But it is still an unrestricted road so you have lots of traffic. What a total f%^&fight! I battled through to the top carpark stuck behind a tour bus that gave me a headache from the diesel fumes and while being tailgated by an asshole in a 4WD. I could only be assed taking one quick photo and then getting the hell out of there.

    http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e121/gegvasco/Tasmania Trip/66-CradleMountain.jpg

    After that it was warp factor six away from the tourist routes northwards along the C132 towards the Coast and Ulverstone. This turned out to be one of the favourite local riders' roads as given it was a Saturday, there were heaps of sports bikes taking it on. I also recommend taking some of the crossing back roads that parallel the coast about 20-40km inland. They wind up and down through the hills and river valleys and there were some real gems of roads hidden away in the middle of the farm lands. After hitting the coast it was a left turn for Smithton. The coast road, which alternates as a back road or the main highway is a nice ride although heavily trafficed and Policed.

    It was half way between Ulverstone and Smithton that it happened - I realised I had had enough. I had been on the road for almost 3 weeks having had only one full day and one half day off riding. The trip odo read about 4800km. I ditched all further plans, had an afternoon off in Smithton and made a phone call to bring my ferry booking foward 4 days. The next day on the way to Devonport for the ferry, I was going to have a lot of time to kill so at Wynyard I diverted South for one last gorge run down the A10 through Hellyer Gorge. This is also a great ride although if you need to get back to the coast, blow off the B18 as it is boring straight stuff - go back through the gorge. After a night on the ferry, I hit the streets in Port Melbourne at 6.15am and at 5.45pm I was back in Sydney with 6134km on the trip clock.

    Although I found out what my limit is on how much bike touring I can do on my own, it was an absolutely phenomenal trip and an outstanding place to go riding. Tasmanian riders really are spoilt. Half the state is the equivalent of the little pockets of good roads we have here - like the Macquarie Pass or Bells Line. Best thing about riding there(apart from the roads themselves) - the people are really nice(basically what the big cities were like 30 years ago) and there is very little traffic(ditto). Worst bits - the roadworks manual seems to include using loose gravel to shore up road shoulders, especially in corners. This means when cagers cut the corner all the gravel gets dragged onto the road right where riders don't need it. This happened all over the state but was extremely bad in the North West. Only saving grace is that it is light coloured gravel so you have no trouble in seeing it while setting up for the corner so you can pick a different line and/or slow down. Other bad thing is the local 4WDers and utes love to use the whole road. Even in blind corners, they will often be at least half way over onto your side. Had at least 4 bad scares A DAY because of this and it does detract from your confidence going into a corner. There were a few roads that I would like to have done(around Great Western Tiers) but they will have to wait until next time.

    NO more to follow!

    Mod edit: merged all 4 posts with images, please read https://netrider.net.au/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2813
  2. Sounds GREAT !!
    ...and some sweet pics, too :)
  3. I PROMISE I will not complain about lack of touring reports, ever again.

    Greg, this is just fantastic; makes the Three Points Ride look like a trip down the street for coffee. Love you photos, and everything else about the report. Fantastic :).
  4. I thought you'd like it.

    Oh and while I'm here....GO THE V-STROM! What a brilliant bike.
  5. Yeah, can't see you having done that trip on the F4i :LOL:.
  6. I agree. I also rode around Mt Wellington last week and had to ride like a grandma (do grandma's ride motorbikes???) for most of the way, the rest i was too scared to attack the corner in case i met some gravel halfway.
  7. Great write up Gregg, the weather gods were good to you as well :grin:
  8. I enjoyed your trip write up, reminded me of places to mark for my next trip to paradise. :)

    Tasroads have a great knack for road works in the most inconvenient places :?
  9. Top write up

    Lucky I saw most of the pics last night :shock:

    FWIW - I'm sure Vic or Mouth advised no limit on inserting pics if you use the "Add image to post" bottom left of the screen.


    MOD - can you please confirm??

    - the simple answer is the limit still applies
    - all the pictures within the original post are still accessible, you just have to click on the http:// links
    - anyone can refer the the T&Cs for clarification and updates on the guidelines
    - the feature "Add image to post" has advantages, yet it is still restricted

  10. Thanks for the reply...have to limit the alcohol intake...must have been hoping for more than three images per post :beer:
  11. ...or thread.
  12. Not the case at all, you are not allowed to post 5 times in a row with 3 images per post, which you did, that's also not allowed if you read the T&C's. You are most likely lucky that I was the mod that merged your posts, others may have just removed the thread.
  13. Great report...

    I found the B71 from Devon port across to west tamar highway well worth the ride...nice and fast mostly but couple of nice tighter bits...really good with no traffic. Quite quick too alowwing you to get all the way from D'port to Triabunna in a day easy. But if you are not in a hurry then there are many choices.

    I am going over for five days in a week.