Australia Prt 4, Tasmania: Hobart to Llandaf

Route: Hobart – Bellerive – Sorell – Nugent – Maria Island – Buckland – Stonehenge – Honey Suckle Road – Llandaff

Day 28: 7 March 2019
From Kettering to Hobart
45,19 km (Total so far: 1034,22 km) – Altitude climbed: 782 m
Weather: Sunny, medium head wind

Today was mainly riding back to Hobart the same way as I rode towards Bruny Island a week ago. To avoid a bit more busy roads, I made the detour over the hill towards mConingham. Beautiful and on a good gravel road. Excellent views towards Bruny Island a few times.
I stopped at the Bunnings store in Kingston to buy a new bottle of Shellite (white gas) for my stove.

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In Hobart I visited the well stocked and friendly map shop on Elizabeth Street and went to have a look in a few of the outdoor stores. In the evening I was hosted by Nico And Mykal who live on the edge of Hobart, already on the slopes towards Mount Wellington with excellent views towards that mountain.

Continue reading “Australia Prt 4, Tasmania: Hobart to Llandaf”

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Australia Prt 3, Tasmania: Cycling Bruny Island

Route: Hobart – Taroona – Kingston – Kettering – Bruny Island

Day 21: 28 Feb. 2019
From Hobart to Bruny Island, Simmonds Bay
61,19 km (Total so far: 792,00 km) – Altitude climbed: 826 m
Weather: Sunny

A busy day.
The camping kitchen closed at 8 pm yesterday, before all my devices were fully charged, so I sat there again this morning for 1,5 hour to finish that.

Via the bike path I rode into town. Part of the way I cycled with some other cyclists who were also hikers and went out every morning on their bike to drink a coffee in town near the marina.
In the town center, I first went to the ‘Find Your Feet’ shop to collect the Garmin inReach Mini I ordered with them. We arranged the subscription with Garmin as well.
From now on, when something serious happens, I just have to push a button and the Flying Doctors, helicopters, ambulances, rescue teams, …. everybody will come to me as quick as they can.
So they say.

Treated myself to a lunch in an Asian restaurant as well.
Hobart, and I think the whole of Australia, has a lot of Asian immigrants.
East- and Southeast Asians.
Good !
I like to be among these friendly, hard working people and they are a guarantee you can have some very good food, whether it is Thai, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Chinese, Korean, … always delicious.

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The ride from Hobart to Bruny Island along the coast is just something you have to go through.
Riding out of town towards Sandy Bay is pleasant.
Towards Taroona and Kingston, there are a few hills and most of the road has some form of shoulder. It is not good, but you will survive (although I noticed the other side of the road, on the way back, will be worse).

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Sandy Bay, just outside Hobart

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Kingston is a big place, with a big Coles supermarket, so provisions could still be bought here.
From here the roads gets busier.
Again, often this ‘shoulder’ which we call at home a ‘suicide lane’ for cyclists, but it’s ok. Better then the way into Hobart via the A10.
Between Margate and Snug there’s a new good bike path.
Then one more hill towards Kettering and the ferry to Bruny Island.

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I was warned water is not easy to find on Bruny, so I took a lot at the sanitary building in Kettering.
It was the 18:30 hrs ferry I got. The passage takes just 30 minutes. This means I had another hour to find a place for the night before sunset.
Everything along the main road is fenced off (a lot of sheep farming, I saw), so I descended via Missionary Road towards Simmonds Bay where I found a beautiful spot for the night.

Day 22: 1 March 2019
From Bruny Island, Simmonds Bay to Adventure Bay
40,86 km (Total so far: 832,86 km) – Altitude climbed: 368 m
Weather: Sunny, light tail wind

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Morning dew on the tent

From Simmonds Bay I rode back to the main road and on to Great Bay.
There, I found a really fantastic spot where I hope to camp in a few days, on the way back.
North and south Bruny are separated by an isthmus called ‘The Neck’. There’s a good view point from the top of a dune. Kilometers and kilometers of beach.
Fantastic view.

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Great Bay
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The long beach along ‘The Neck’ and Fluted Cape in the background
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The Neck

Further on, already on the southern part of the island, don’t forget to stop at ‘Coal Point’ if you are here.
More views, beautiful rocks, sea weed, ..

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Fascinating under water life.

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The water at Adventure Bay was colored red on the western side. Maybe due to algae ?
There is a general store here which a good selection of products, but at steep prices.
Near the end of the bay are several monuments referring to the history of the place where famous European Explores landed.
The first was Abel Tasman in 1642, Then James Cook in 1773, Tobias Furneaux a couple of times, and Bruni D’Entrecasteaux (1792) (after whom the island, and the channel between Bruny and Tasmania) is named.
D’Entrecasteaux is a name that will show up more later in the naming of Australian national parks,..
Also William Bligh and Jacques De Labillardiere visited this place.

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Adventure Bay Church

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Me, lacking the funds to have a boat, I arrived on the pushbike and I took a swim in these waters of the Southern Ocean.
And life was good. Very, very good.

Day 23: 2 March 2019
From Adventure Bay to Mable Bay
43,48 km (Total so far: 876,34 lm) – Altitude climbed: 1210 m
Weather: Sunny, hot !

First thing today, I rode back to the far corner of Adventure Bay to hike the Fluted Cape Walk.

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Severe Hazards !   Ridiculous, over the top warnings.

Starting off by hiking to the far corner of the beach, then an easy hike along the rocky coast to Grass Point. The water between Bruny Island and Penguin Island is so shallow you could walk to the other island.
From Grass Point at sea level, the trail starts climbing to the top of the cliffs, almost 300 meter higher.
Fan-tas-tic views of these cliffs.
It’s a sometimes steep climb, but totally worth it.
2,5 hours later, I was back at the starting point and went to eat lunch on the bench near the Captain Cook Statue.

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Impressive 300 meter high cliffs along the Fluted Cape Walk

The walk was already a bit demanding, but I knew the hardest part still had to come; cycling over the hills towards the other side of the island via the rough Lockleys Road.
It starts oh so gentle but then, after the junction with Resolution Road…. 11%, 12% climb on a stony track.
I have pushed most of the way to the top.
It was burning hot and the sun was in such an angle that most of the time there was no shade to be found on the road.

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The downhill is just as demanding and I had to stop each time after about 80 meters descending to cool down the rims. So steep !
There are some good views of Cloudy Bay Lagoon and the hills around on the descent.

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View towards Cloudy Bay and Cape Bruny

In Lunawanna I took some extra water from the toilet building.
If you think like me you’re quickly gonna cycle this 19 km to the lighthouse and come back most of the route,… think again.
Again, it starts gentle but the road becomes hillier as you’re nearing the lighouse.

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I arrive at Cape Bruny and the lighouse two hours before sunset. The gates were closed at 5 pm, but you are still allowed to walk in. I pushed the bike through the gate and parked it a bit further beyond the house of the lighthouse keeper;
Immediately a park ranger came up to me and I thought “o-oh, the bike shouldn’t be here”…
But she came out especially to check whether I was fine and if I didn’t need any water.
Now, isn’t that super-friendly !
I gladly took the offer. They were a couple of volunteers to look after the place for a week.
The man told me they also manage the weather station.
Today, when entering the data at 9 am and 3 pm, ‘the system’ asked whether the data was correct, as they were figures never recorded before.
I forgot to ask whether it were records for this day, a 2nd March, or all time records, but I suppose it’s a 2 March record.

26°C at 9 am and 38°C at 3 pm.
That’s in the shade.
The man who does the tours of the lighthouse told them he reckoned it was over 50 degrees in the sun this afternoon.
I told them I had 46,4 degrees on my cyclometer, and I was in the sun all day, so that could be.

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Cape Bruny  Lighthouse

From the lighthouse, one can see two little white islands in clear wheather. White because of all the bird droppings. But this late in the day, and with these temperatures, it wasn’t clear enough. These two islands are the southern most point of the Australian continent.

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View from the lighthouse towards Lighthouse Bay.

I saw a Swift Parrot near the lighthouse.  These endangered species can fly 100 km/hr and are the fastest parrots on the planet.

As the camping at Jetty Beach was crowded, and loud last night till after 2 am, I headed back towards the national park entrance and found myself a quite spot.

Before pitching the tent, I hiked down to the beach at Mabel Bay. Fantastic wild waters, high rocks on both side of the beach and one old schooner on anchor.

The tent was erected just before sunset and a all that’s left to do is prepare a big pot of pasta with a lot of vegetables.

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Nature making it’s own art

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Day 24: 3 March 2019
From Mable Bay to Little Lagoon
41,58 km (Total so far: 917,92 km) – Altitude climbed: 495 m
Weather: Cloudy, sun in the evening

The day started cloudy, but the predicted rain never came.
After yesterday’s hard day, I slept in a bit. I am glad I pushed this few kilometer yesterday evening and have this quite spot for the night instead of the listening to the drinkers and shouters at Jetty Bay.
I heard the crashing of the waves sixty meter below me.

After breakfast, I changed the front break pads and tightened the chain.
The first 14 kilometer of the day were the same as yesterday afternoon, back along Great Taylors Bay, over the hills to Little Taylors Bay and Lunawanna where I washed my clothes and my hair.
To my surprise, the road between Lunawanna and Alonnah is still unpaved. On a Sunday afternoon, there was a bit of traffic, people returning to Hobart, I guess.
In Alonnah I met cyclists again, Aldrik & Amélie, a young French couple who arrived just a few days ago in Hobart and will stay for a year on a working holiday visa.
Allonah has a general store, but smaller than the one in Adventure Bay.
I ate a big hamburger for lunch, needing the calories.

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The Statue for ‘Father John’ who arrived in Tasmania in February 1933. He travelled from Dennes Point in North Brunny via bush tracks by push-bike to Alonnah on South Bruny where he did a lot for the local community.
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Father John, on his push-bike, and my push-bike, 86 years later.

After Allonah, the road leads back to the Isthmus. I stop and climb the 233 steps again to the lookout platform.
Just after the small landing strip, a track leads to Cape Queen Elizabeth. It’s a hiking trail, but wide and flat enough to cycle a large part of the way. ‘Big Lagoon’ on my right hand is completely dry, and so is ‘Little Lagoon’ a bit further on.
The difference between the big and the small one, is that the small one had nice, very short grass inside (eaten by the rabbits and kangaroos, I guess).

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Big Lagoon

I hiked down to Moorina Bay which is the far end of Neck Beach before returning to a brilliant camping spot I found earlier, a few kilometer from the main road, with the sound of the waves at the other side of the dunes, it will be really peaceful tonight.
A lot of snakes around, but they tend to go away when they see me.
Oh, and the sun came out after 6 pm.
Lovely evening, watched thousands of stats and the Milky Way.

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Day 25: 4 March 2019
From Little Lagoon to Great Bay
50,18 km (Total so far: 968,10 km) – Altitude climbed: 785 m
Weather: Sunny, moderate head wind in afternoon

A sweet quite night made me wake up just after sunrise. I could see the sky changing it’s colors before the sun came over the hill.
On the program today: visit the northern part of Bruny Island.

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Ford Bay

The first part of the way I rode already last week, all the way back to my first nights’ camp from where I continued along Simmonds Bay to Barnes Bay.
On Killora road, there’s a moderate climb over the hill and the junction to the Old Quarantine Station which I visit (open Thu. to Mon.).
Really interesting. The volunteer park ranger tells you passionately about the history of the place which served as a quarantine place both for plants and for humans on different occasions.
Two people died here during the quarantine period of the Spanish Influenza after WW I.
The park ranger also told me that hottest day ton 2 March really was the hottest day ever on Bruny, with at one point of the island a record of 39.2 °C.
I hiked to the graves of the two men who died here, visited the old buildings, etc…
Two hours were gone quickly.

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View to Shelter Cove from the Old Quarantine Station
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The graves of the two people who died in the Quarantine Station.
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Long house in the Quarantine Station.

After the Quarantine Station follows another climb with excellent views towards Tasmania and the D’Entrecasteaux Channel in between.
Nebraska Beach, towards the northern end of the island is a disappointment. Still beautiful, but compared to the other beaches on the island not so good. Many sheds for boats on the beach, houses, ….

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Road at North-Bruny along the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.

At Dennes Point, the far north one can take water again at the sanitary facilities.
There is nothing else on the northern part of the island. no shops and, as far as I could see, no restaurants.
From Dennes Point the road climbs steep to Dennes hill (120 m asl).
There is a house right at the top. they have views to both sides of the island the the D’Entrecasteaux Channel on one side and Bull Bay on the other side.

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Bull Bay

Bull Bay, which one views from the top of the hill looks marvelous as well.
I returned to a camping spot I discovered earlier on right next to Great Bay.
Nice sunset, brilliant night sky, … a good day again.

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My spot at Great Bay

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Day 26: 5 March 2019
Great Bay
Weather: Sunny

A rest day during which I occupy myself with the usual things, reading on the Kindle, play with the computer as long as battery life permitted me to do so, walked on the beach, slept and oh, I went to the Beer, Cheese and Bread shop two kilometer from my camping spot to buy a bread and a piece of cheese. I finished the shellite in my stove, so can’t cook anymore.

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One bread and a piece of approx. 150 gram cheese will set you back 28 AUD (18 Euro) on Bruny.  But it tastes good 😛
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Great Bay

Day 27: 6 March 2019
From Bruny Island, Great Bay to Kettering
20,93 km (Total so far: 989,03 lm) – Altitude climbed: 341 m
Weather: Cloudy, rain, some sun

Last night there was a terrible storm. Looking at the ‘YR’ website, it stated wind force 9 in my area. I was camped just along the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and the wind just blew in from the southwest right into my tent, so it could even have been a bit stronger there.
Windforce 9 means between 75 & 88 km/hr and ‘children are blown away’ according to the Beaufort table.
Windforce 10, adults are blown down. Well, I was laying down in the tent anyway.
I was hoping that tree right behind my tent, of which half came down in a previous storm, would hold up one more time.
It rained, it hailed and sprankels came through the flysheet.
That’s where a good water column comes in handy (dreaming about a Hilleberg Unna again).
When it stopped raining for a moment I went out to fasten the pegs better again.
It calmed down overnight and I could pack a dry tent in the morning.
Squeezed out another hot drink with the last drops of fuel and went to the ferry terminal. Half way a good downpour of course.

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This time I got the large ferry to go back to Kettering.
I contacted a Warm Shower host to spend the night. I enjoyed a warm welcome, that shower and even a great diner with Stan and his wife.
Tomorrow, back to the big town, and hopefully a bit further.

Bruny Island was a fantastic experience. I stayed six days and cycled more than 200 kilometer on the island.

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Australia Prt 2, Tasmania: Strahan to Hobart

Route: Strahan – Queenstown – Derwent Bridge – Ouse – Hobart

Day 12 & 13: 19 & 20 Febr. 2019
5 km before Macquarie Heads
Weather: Cloudy, sun, rain showers

Two rest days. My chosen spot is remarkably quiet. Only one 4WD each day passes. Maybe a ranger doing his tour ? I can’t be seen anyway. The days aren’t actually that bad with regular periods of sun. Although that’s only here, right at the coast. A bit further, in the hills, it will be much wetter.

Day 14: 21 Febr. 2019
From 5 km before Macquarie Heads to 12 km before Queenstown
51,86 km (Total so far: 416,95 km) – Altitude climbed: 864 m
Weather: Cloudy, rain showers, light tail wind

The weather wasn’t too inviting to go out and I had food and water enough to stay another day but despite the excellent Therm-A-Rest NeoAir mattress, my favorite piece of equipment, I started to feel my back from being horizontal so lang.
First down to the Macquarie Heads. The peninsula ends at a beach where there’s a very narrow channel of water between the Southern Ocean and the inlet. Few people with their 4WD on the beach.
Why ?
Why you have to drive with your 4WD on the beach ?
Can’t they walk these last few meters ?
Can’t they forbid this ?
so many things are forbidden in this country.
But they won’t do that, because the majority likes to ride their 4WD on the beach and that’s democracy.

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Macquarie Heads, the Kelly Channel / Hells Gates

Back in Strahan I go find that bakery they told me about back in Zeehan. He still have a few pieces of ok bread. Much better anyway than the cardboard bread you find in the supermarket.

The road towards Queenstown climbs back into the hills, but never really steep, and is quieter as expected. I think I’m riding ride behind the heaviest rain showers because the road is constantly very wet, but I keep it dry.
At the highest point there’s a look-out for the tourists. All I see is dark grey clouds and rain everywhere around me.
Starting to look for a place for the tent, I find that it really must have been raining a lot here the last days. It’s all mud and on the patches of moss I find, I sink five centimeter into the water.

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Eventually I find a stony place under the electricity lines.
And, as so often, when I start pitching the tent, a serious rain shower starts.
Never can keep it fully dry for a day in western Tasmania 😉

Day 15: 22 Febr. 2019
From 12 km before Queenstown to +/- 4 km after Victoria Pass
54,01 km (Total so far: 470,96 km ) – Altitude climbed: 906 m
Weather: Cloudy, rain, sunshine, moderate tail wind

There is a Thai restaurant in Queenstown !
That’s the most important news of the day.
For the rest, Queenstown is a sad place. You see the ugly mining operations from far away. Most houses in town are of the corrugated iron variety. No, it’s nothing like the ‘posh’ Queenstown in New-Zealand.

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The ugly results of mining operations

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After shopping and lunch I start the long ride east. I say long because I’m dreading this part of my route. It’s again the highway A10 and I fear it will be too busy to be enjoyable. There are no alternatives.
During the steep climb out of Queenstown, traffic is indeed a bit too dense to be enjoyable, but less than expected. At the first little pass I park the bike and walk the boardwalk path along the Horsetail Waterfall. It’s an easy twenty minute return.
Nonetheless I see only one couple going to the end as well. Most give up half way and return to the safety of their vehicles.
At the other side of the road is another highlight, only 900 meters away and a little climb, the ‘Iron Blow’ look-out with an impressive view in the pit and the surrounding destroyed landscapes.

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To the right the Horsetail Waterfall and to the left you can clearly see the boardwalk track they made to a viewing platform. Impressive.

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Iron Blow

Here in Queenstown, they mine for copper, back in Zeehan it was silver, in Corinna gold and in Waratah it was zinc. A lot of different minerals in such a small area.
Bad for the environment, but good for (someone’s) economy.

After all these diversions, I loose all the altitude again on the downhill towards Burbury Lake.
The road is quieter and becomes even pleasant to ride.

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Burbury Lake

Climbing away from the lake, I ride through an area that must have burned down a couple of years ago.
Nelson Falls is the real highlight of the day.
I forgot to go and have a look to the Montezuma Falls when I was in Zeehan (to busy staying ahead of the rain). But this Nelson Fall really makes up for it.

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Nelson Falls

The road climbs steady but not too steep. After almost two weeks on the island, I pass today only the second motorbike rider who says high to me. In Europe and America, almost all motorbike riders great cyclists.
A little bit after this guy, his wife follows on another bike. She is just being overtaken by a small white car in a blind bend off the road. In my rearview mirror I see how the guy stops and make the car stop as well. I hear him shout to the driver.
He is 100 % right to do so and I wonder whether I should turn around and give him some moral support, but he seems man enough to handle it himself.
You would be surprised what kind of impatient idiots pass you in a day.
It’s much better here as in South-America of course, but they aren’t super-good here eithr. I would say just a bit above Belgium.
I would give the drivers here 60%.
So far, Sweden and Spain (away from the costa’s) are the only two countries I cycled with a top rating for car drivers.
Just one step lower follow Norway, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.
I haven’t cycled in Austria yet, but I guess they would be good as well.
Go, go Austrians, do your best and become the third country on the top shelve.

I hope the wife of this motorbike rider doesn’t say to him tonight “Hey Chuck, your reaction today on the road was a bit over the top, don’t you think ?”.
Because no, Chuck was completely right so I hope his wife Yoko supports him. Yoko is 100% Caucasian, but her parents were big fans of….. well, you get it.
Yoko’s younger brother, Julian, will never be able to ride motorbikes because he hasbalance disorders which is the fault of Yoko and Julian’s mother who smoked too much when she was pregnant of Julian.
Back when she was pregnant of Yoko, she wasn’t smoking yet.
Nigel, their father has a hand in that, but that’s another story.

While I heard Chuck’s motorbike still being stationary on the road I climbed and climbed towards the highest point of the day, Victoria Pass.
I just finished taking the obligatory picture when I met the first other cyclist on the road here in Tasmania, Pavel from Poland (there was Olivier from Belgium, but I met him on the boat, not on the road). Pavel arrived after a journey of three days and four flights into Hobart and will cycle for three weeks on the island. He is going the other way around, so I might meet him again.

This morning, I packed a soaking wet tent but finally, finally after it was promised, and delayed, for days on end, the sun came out in the afternoon.
I stop in time so my tent can dry a bit, I make a pasta with fresh vegetables from Queenstown and yes… I had a brilliant day today.
Only those damn mosquito’s in the evening.

Day 16: 23 Febr. 2019
From +/- 4 km after Victoria Pass to passed Lake St. Claire
65,60 km (Total so far: 536,56 km) – Altitude climbed: 1000 m
Weather: Sunny, no wind

Everything is perception.
Yesterday I started cycling in a temperature of 13 degrees and it was cloudy, a drizzle, miserable.
Today too I started cycling in a temperature of 13 degrees but under a blue sky. What a difference and what a joy.
A passing motor biker even turned his head and gave me the thumbs up.

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A misty morning, but soon the weather would become glorious.  Passing the Great Divide, it did exactly what it promised.

Someone had sprayed ‘Meat Head’ in white letters on the road and I wondered whether this referred to the English version of the Flemish movie ‘Rundskop’ which made me think of the overrated actor Matthias Schoenaerts.
I think the three best actors of recent decades are Steve Buscemi, David Suchet and Brad Pitt, in that order.
The three most overrated actors, in no particular order, are Nicholas Cage, Tom Cruise and Matthias Schoenaerts. Schoenaerts probably thinks he’s in nice company there, but he’s wrong.

After an hour of cycling I reach Donaghys Hill where I stop to hike to the lookout. It’s good to stretch the legs a bit in the morning. From the lookout you have a good view to the peak of Frenchmans Cap, I think the highest peak in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park through which I’m riding now.

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Frenchmans Cap to the right

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Another stop a bit further brings me to the narrow suspension bridge over the Franklin River where I have a chat with three guys who go out to climb Frenchmans Cap from different sides in the coming week.

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The road is climbing to a highest point of 839 meter. They call it ‘The Great Divide’ here as well. I’m now officially entering the drier eastern side of Tasmania. To my right is the King William Range with the impressive Mount Rufus.

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King William Range, Mount Rufus.

The ride remains very pleasant and soon I’m in Derwent Bridge where’s the junction to Lake St. Clair, five kilometer further. It’s a nice lake. I walk around a bit but the sun is in no good position to make really good pictures. The campground is apparantely 30 dollar for a tent, which I foind too much, so I head out again and find myself a place in the forest a few kilometer passed the lake.

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When I start preparing diner, I see a leech, and another one, and another one.
I kill five and am now worried about both the mosquito’s attacking me and these leeches. I had one once in my foot in Thailand, years ago, and it’s no fun.

Day 17: 24 Feb. 2019
From passed Lake St. Clair to passed Victoria Falls
60,52 km (Total so far: 597,08 km) – Altitude climbed: 621 m
Weather: Sunny, light head wind

Searching on the internet this morning, I find the Florentine Valley Road is still closed due to the forest fires they had. This means my route south, which I planned to stay west of the A10, so via Wayatinah and Maydena is impossible.
No problem, then we take the back-up plan, i.e. following the Tasmanian Trail.
I skip the junction with the ‘Fourteen Mile’ gravel road, which looked nice enough to cycle, and continued on the A10, which seems busier on a Sunday as yesterday.

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Mount Olympus

A downhill to the Nive River, which created an 80 meter deep valley, then steep up to the junction with the Marlborough Road.
I don’t go to Bronte Park, where there’s supposed to be a store as it’s an 8 km return trip on that road which carries too much traffic.

At Bronte Lake, I see a sign that tells me I’m almost exactly in the geographical centre of Tasmania.
Now I can finally leave the paved Lyell Highway (A10) behind me and join the dirt roads of the Tasmanian Trail. Still lots of roadkill shows some still drive like madmen here.

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The gravel road goes up but all goes smoothly. For the first time here in Australia, I’m on a road where I feel comfortable enough to take my music player out and listen to a few podcasts of ‘The Outdoor Station’. Soon I’m riding along Dee Lagoon. The country here reminds me a lot of Sweden and Finland. Only a different kind of trees.

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Even on the gravel roads, roadkill
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The official Tasmanian Trail signs.

I change the podcasts for some music.
The shuffle function decides The Tide is High from Blondie is the first song I hear in Australia. It’s nice to ride with music sometimes. All those years I’ve never changed the music on my player but there are thousands of songs, so I’m good till I die.
DSC04519That bothers me, while I’m riding here, that I don’t know when to use the word ‘dead’ or ‘death’.
I’m thinking about it but can’t figure it out. English is only my third language, so it won’t be perfect or sophisticated.

Anyway, the sun on my head, gravel roads, hearing the hits one after the other… Simple Minds with Belfast Child, Michael Jackson’s Leave Me Alone, Taco with Puttin’ on the Ritz, the Eurythmics with 1984 (song almost as good as the book), life is very good again.

I make a stop at the Victoria Falls.
Being away from the tourist highway, the path is completely overgrown, but I want to go and have a look anyway. It safes me a visit to Zimbabwe.

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Bees at work. Lots of local honey is sold along Tasmania’s Roads.

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Typical gravel road along the middle section of the Tasmanian Trail.

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The impressive Victoria Falls !

After the falls, I’m on a much lesser used gravel road, going through a forest.
At 4 o’clock, I see I’m about to leave the forest and go back into open grass land. It’s hot, the land is probably for cattle and fenced off so I stop early and enjoy the terrific view I have and the great weather.

No leeches, but plenty of horseflies out here.
Just because perfect isn’t necessary 🙂

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Wild camping at on the hill with great views to the dry land ahead of me.

Day 18: 25 Febr. 2019
From the forest passed Victoria Falls to
35,99 km (Total so far: 633,07 km) – Altitude climbed: 763 m
Weather: Sunny, moderate and hard head wind

Some bike maintenance before I left today. Cleaning the bike is the best way to spot any potential problems. I checked if all the screws of the pannier racks were still tight, cleaned the chain and chainrings and lubed the chain.

It was a very, very beautiful ride into Ouse. On a dirt road, rolling hills with beige, dry grass, cattle in the fields.
Terrific.
Riding in the opposite direction, it would be hard as there was a 13% downhill.

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Did some shopping and laundry in Ouse. The temperatures went up to 35 °C in the shade so it all dried in an hour. As it was so hot, I took my time to relax at a picnic table under a roof in the small park. Got to chat way to long with a couple from New-Zealand, and later on with two ladies, one from New South Wales the other from America, so it was 3:30 pm by the time I was on my way again.

From Ouse to the Repulse Dam, the ride was again very beautiful. Some steep inclines, but never too bad.
After the dam, it got too hard.
Very steep climbs and the a connection between two existing dirt roads via a logging road. Steep down to the Broad River. No bridge there, so cross it through the water.
The uphill was less steep as the downhill (16 %), but nevertheless mostly unrideable with this bike set-up. This is real bikepacking country.

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The Derwent River, which I crossed already at Derwent Bridge a couple of days ago.
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The track becoming a real logging track, with steep climbs and descents.

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Short, hard, beautiful day.
But rethinking whether I should keep following the Tasmanian trail further south, as I know it will be more of the unrideable stuff with my heavy bike towards Judbury. It also remains unclear which tracks exactly are open and which are closed (from the recent forest fires) near Judbury.

Day 19: 26 Febr. 2019
From 15 km before Ellendale to Along A10 Highway
79,47 km (Total so far: 712,54 km) – Altitude climbed: 864 m
Weather: Sunny, medium head wind

A day with a bit of everything.
I left my quiet camp site in the middle of nowhere and soon was on the paved road towards Ellendale. The local post office is also a very basic general store (sweets, a coffee) and I had a nice chat with Charlie who operated it.

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So far, riding in Tasmania has been very satisfying. Only negative things are too much road kill and unexpectedly, too much empty cans and bottles along the roads, even in the national parks. Sometimes, you find roadkill and garbage united.
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With his or her eyes wide open on the asphalt, as if to say…
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The Ellendale Post Office with Charlie.

I skipped the off-road detour the Tasmanian Trail made here, because I heard it is pretty difficult stuff. So I continued through Westerway, the junction to Mount Field National Park. It’s Tasmania’s most popular national park, and I saw a lot of traffic going there, so I skipped it.

After Westerway I joined the Tasmania Trail again for some brilliant off-road sections. I passed a big field where the fire fighters were breaking down their tents. Helicopters were still flying on and off. The lady who lived in the house next to the field told me they’ve been here a long time but were moving today to a place closer to the fires.
It has been very loud for her lately, she sad, with all the helicopters.

My route continues on the hill, above the main road. Good views.

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At Bushy Park, it’s back to the asphalt, which I follow towards busy New Norfolk.
Dilemma here.
The Tasmania Trail goes west into the mountains from what I was told via very steep tracks.
The other options are the highway A10 towards Hobart, or the B10 at the other side of the Derwent River.
I saw a local police officer at the Woolworths supermarket. He claimed the A10 would be the safer option as, according to him, more trucks were using the B10.
I sat down for half an hour thinking what to do.
Honestly, with around 700 altimeters in my legs, and the hard day yesterday, I didn’t feel ready for the hard ride over the mountain via the TT.
On the other hand, I am never ready for busy roads either.
Still, I took the latter option.
Because it’s easier, because then I could pick up my Garmin inreach plb before going to Bruny Island and see whether it works (and if not, I was passing through Hobart anyway again on my way back), and I could visit the Mona.

It is a horrible ride along the A10.
My advise, don’t be a wimp like me and take the Tasmania Trail.
The C615 (Molesworth Road) was closed until March, but I took that turn anyway, hoping to find a spot to camp.
All private land.
I took the Glen Dhu Road, but same situation.
So back to the A10.

Kilometers further I found something in a dead end road near a tomato grower.
Nothing fancy, lot of traffic noise, but close to the big town.

Day 20: 27 Feb. 2019
From Along A10 highway to Hobart
18,27 km (Total so far: 730,81 km) – Altitude climbed: 131 meter
Weather: Sunny

Continued the drag along the A10.
You know, they have a railway, all the way from Hobart to Mount Field National Park.
A railway that is not used at all.
With a small budget, a little work and a bit of good will, they could turn this easily in a rail trail that could benefit the people of Hobart, the people of New Norfolk, which could be a boost for local tourism, in an eco friendly way, which could also be used by local cyclists…. but they choose to leave it unused.
A pity.

Closer to town, there is a bicycle way leading through town, and passing the Mona (Museum of Old & New Art).
World famous, so I decided to go and have a look.
It’s a nice thing. I was inside for almost 5 hours.
Mostly new art.
I still think the Te Papa museum in Wellington, New-Zealand was even more impressive, although it’s been 14 years since I was there, so maybe hard to compare.

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Modern Art from Belgian Wim Delvoye

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This Porsche 911 symbols the way everything, including people are getting fatter and fatter.
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There’s also a bike in the Mona ! 🙂
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MONA
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From WimDelvoy, who has a crane in Westende as well.
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Wim Delvoye
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Painted windows inside the Wim Delvoye Chapel.

Anyway, very glad I visited the Mona.
Ended the day at the campsite in Hobart, which is terrible, and loud and not my thing, but necessary for a night.

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Hobart campsite
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Trying to charge as many devices as possible from one plug.