Cycling For ‘Softies’ In Tasmania

In 2012 Tracey Croke, Sydney based travel journalist addicted to roughty-toughty off-track adventure and exploring on her bike, came along on our Tasmania Cycle Tour. We loved her witty and honest description of the tour, and have republished it here for you all to read. Thanks Tracey!

I couldn’t understand why my bike was stopping on a steep decline. Had the brakes developed a mind of their own? Was the earth’s gravitational force shifting? Maybe I was being drawn into another time through an invisible wormhole?

After my imagination stopped running away with itself, I discovered a perfectly logical explanation.

I was getting an introduction to the the roaring forties – a gale force wind that rips around the Earth in latitudes between 40 and 50 degrees – and Tasmania lies smack in the path of it.

Along with other factoids, I should thank that wind for the cleanest air in the Southern Hemisphere (measured by the Bureau of Meteorology)

The wind could be a good friend on long climbs, but having to put more effort into the descent was a new and comical experience for me. It was an early lesson in my bike adventuring that nothing is easy if you catch nature in a mischievous mood.

I planned a trip to Tasmania  after stories from a couple of tour-cycling buddies made me hungry for a taste of self-sufficient bike adventuring.

While Googling the best routes for my great adventure, hotel searches soon replaced a NASA level study of lightweight tents. I was completely thrown off track by a company offering to coordinate the whole journey and provide a personal luggage-shifter, who took care of everything for me sans pushing the pedals.

If you’re not afraid of hills and headwinds, this five-day 450-kilometre Launceston to Hobart self-guided route is a great way to try out multi-day cycling while taking in Tasmania’s unspoilt coastline, aqua waters, ancient rain forests and tiny villages at your own pace.

I bathed my aching butt in spas, gorged my face on fine food (without putting on an ounce of weight) and collapsed every evening on a luxury mattress. It was a welcome end to a hard day’s work in the not-so-softie saddle

Oh – and it’s a good job that imaginary windy wormhole didn’t draw me back into a time when Port Arthur was open for business. Stealing a potato was one inmate’s ‘crime’.

Those juvenile nocturnal apple-scrumping crimes of mine could’ve quite easily landed me a one-way ticket on a very long boat journey to the clinker.

Tassie East Coast Highlights

Hike the pink granite mountains of Freycinet Bay National Park to Wineglass Bay, a white sand crescent-shaped beach rated as one of the world’s best in Lonely Planet.

  • The Bay of Fires named because the orange and yellow Lichen covered rocks reflect of f the white beaches and azure blue waters. It’s a photographers dream at sunset.
  • Coles bay is a quaint, got-it-all-activity beauty spot. Book early for peak season stays.
  • Visit a wildlife rescue centre. They’re unfunded and need support. You’ll see the nocturnal Tassie devils which are seriously threatened by a mysterious facial tumour disease.
  • MONA Museumin Hobart is the talk of the art world and Tasmanians. It holds the largest private art collection in Oz and is open to the public for $20. It’s not to be missed if you like really out there art. Adult content zones are clearly marked on a map.

Favourite Eats

The Banc, Swansea Fabulous posh nosh from one of those slightly scary looking chefs.

Pasinis, Bicheno Quirky cafe, great coffee, snacks and a bit more.

The Drunken Admiral, Hobart Gastro pub kinda stuff.

More info at: Discover Tasmania

Disclosure: I write about stuff I like, especially if I think others might enjoy it too. I paid the full advertised rate with Cycling Tours for this trip.