Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Biking Tasmania

In short, Tasmania wasn't what I had hoped it would be. I loved getting on the bike and riding every day, but a bunch of things just weren't working for me. First up, after the beauty of New Zealand, Tasmania just wasn't that spectacular. Also, even though I had decided not getting back to Colorado before Christmas would be alright, it wasn't. There were things at home that I had been missing for too long and they were overwhelming my thoughts daily. Because of that, I wanted to get home sooner than later and biked harder that I should have to make that happen. My mind was just elsewhere so I wasn't enjoying the journey.

Brian Nelson, my bike touring partner, finding out how to undo our first wrong turn on the trip.

Our plan was to ride counterclockwise around the island starting and ending in Hobart in about three weeks. We wanted to finish up by the 13th so I could fly to Sydney for a couple days to see old friends and still get back to Colorado by Martin Luther King Junior Day, my second target date since my Christmas date hadn''t pan out. Our first day started out tough. We were near a lot of city traffic and we took a wrong turn. However, we also managed to find a roadside stand that sold some of the best cherries I've ever had.

B-Nelson rediscovers an old friend from the Ice, Frosty Boy!

I don't know how this hill got its name, but I was excited to ride down it.

Maria Island National Park

The absolute highlight of the trip for me was a sidetrip over to Maria Island National Park. It was peaceful. It was quiet. We could bike and not worry about cars. We had a campsite infested with wallabies. We saw our first kangaroos and wombats. We heard the cockatoos call. We saw a fantastic sunset and a sunrise to match. I highly recommend it.

I saw my first kangaroo on Maria Island (check out the use of the tail).

I also saw my first wombat there which was my favorite critter by far. John Bain wants you to know they have a rump shield for defense.

A beach just down the way from our campsite.

Sunset on Maria Island.

Our failed attempt to bike down the isthmus through sand, painful but beautiful.

Painted sandstone cliffs.

Sea critters. I think the red one is an anemone.

The view from the Fossil Cliffs on Maria Island.

Through Brian and my's biggest adversary was a headwind that fought us 12/14 days in two different directions, the logging trucks of Tasmania normally give bike tourists the most difficulty.

One of the best things about bike touring is that you are almost hungry and everything tastes so good. We stopped to buy roadside fruit at every chance we could. This one was a little too big to take.

Freycinet National Park.

The town near the national Park, Coles Bay, moves at a different speed (Think about it, John Franco).

One of the many great views in Freycinet National Park.

Wineglass Bay.

A wallaby (basically a small kangaroo0) with a joey in its pouch.

One of the great things about Tasmania is the number of free campsites. Some people were clearly setup to be there a while. Some tents could have held a car.

An echidna is basically a marsupial porcupine with a small version of an anteater snout. Very cute when you can actually see their face.

Christmas dinner.

The Bay of Fires National Park had red algae on the rocks.

The welcoming statue to Bingalong Bay reminded me of the 1950's California (aka the TV show Gidget)

On the way up to the Bay of Fires, we had our only tailwind of the trip that I can remember. However, the Bay of Fires wasn't on the way. It was a side trip. If we hadn't made a detour out to see it, then we would have a headwind the entire way. The headwind was ridiculous. On my final riding day in Tasmania, it was all I could do not to quit. Well, I guess I did end up quitting, but it wasn't because of the headwind. It was like the wind didn't want us to get anywhere. I'm not sure if Brian got a tailwind when he returned to Hobart.

A beautiful valley and home to the Pub in a Paddock which is near absolutely nothing else, except cows.

I have no idea why, but these cows follows us for almost a quarter of a mile, but if we approached them they backed up. Any ideas?

Random wood carvings. These were pretty cool. Unfortunately, the park they are in is now treeless.

This picture is for Ben Bachelor, the ultimate way to catch a ride.

Opium fields.

Cataract Gorge in Launceston. Amazing just because it is so close to the city.

In the back of Cataract Gorge, I was reminded that this beautiful peacock has one of the most screeching bird calls I've ever heard.

A sitting spot onthe side of Cataract Gorge.

My final sunset on Tasmania at the Swan Point campsite.

Tasmania by the Numbers (719 km/446 mi):
  • 12/19 Hobart to Sorrel 54km
  • 12/20 to Maria Island Nationals Park 80km and a ferry ride
  • 12/21 to Swansea 74km
  • 12/22 to Freycinet National Park 64km
  • 12/23 Rest/Hiking Day
  • 12/24 to Lagoons Beach (near St. Mary's) 74km
  • 12/25 to St. Helens 51km
  • 12/26 to Binalong Bay, Bay of Fires, and St. Columba Falls 64km
  • 12/27 to Scottsdale 61km
  • 12/28 to Swan Point campground 107km
  • 12/29 to Davenport 90km
  • 12/29 night, leave Tasmania


  1. Thanks for posting about Tasmania. I liked the part about the cows the most. :-) No idea why they followed you so far.

    Wombat -- super cute! Gorges -- gorgeous as expected. Gotta look up the marsupial porcupine...I want to see how cute its face really is.

  2. ok saw pic of the echidna's face. not cute. wombat's chubby, cuddly body is much cuter....except in this picture below. hehehehe