Monday, February 28, 2011

28 February 2011 - Day 5 of Tasmania Trip

Left Hobart this morning after a nice brunch. We headed North and up the East coast of Tasmania. First stop was lunch at Swansea. Our intended destination was Bicheno but we took a detour through the hills to Campbell Town which is located on the main North/South road between Launceston and Hobart. After a rest and a drink we headed back the way we came before turning North to Bicheno where we are staying for the night at the Silver Sands Motel which is located on an outcrop overlooking the sea. By the time we arrived the sun was shining and the beer and cigars with such a backdrop were very enjoyable. Marcus remembered that there was a French restaurant in town which is hardly ever open. Gave them a call and luck was with us. So we had dinner at Cyrano French restaurant and had an absolutely fabulous meal. Breakfast tomorrow will be at the Elephant Hill Pancakes.

Total Distance since home: 1550 km

Sunday, February 27, 2011

27 February 2011 - Day 4 of Tasmania Trip

Our second day in Hobart and as we are not moving on till tomorrow, a relatively easy day. Started off with breakfast at Metz across the road from our motel and then on the bikes for a trip to Richmond. The town was filled with Hash House Harriers from all over Australia. Some 800 or so walkers/runners were participating in an event to raise money for the Tasmanian Devil. It was quite a sight to see them all stagger across the historic bridge in Richmond (see photo above). Also in attendance was a large motor cycle group all riding vintage Indians in various states of repair/restoration. Then, it was time for a gentle tour of the beautiful areas south of Hobart. The route we chose took us South along the water and we stopped for our first stretch in Kettering which is the departure port for the Bruny Island ferry. From here we took the scenic route through Huonville which passes through many attractive villages and apple orchards. We arrived back at our motel around 16:00 ready for a couple of pre-dinner beers. Another great day particularly as the expected rain did not materialise.

Total distance since home: 1245 km

Saturday, February 26, 2011

26 February 2011 - Day 3 of Tasmania Trip

Woke up at 9:45 in our accommodation in Strahan this morning. Bit of a rush to check out at 10:00, but we got there almost. Our immediate destination was Queenstown for fuel and breakfast. Queenstown was a mining town for many years but the mines are shut down now. Signs of decades of mining are everywhere and parts of it look like sets for a Mad Max movie. Had a nice egg and bacon roll and a surprisingly good coffee and then headed out of town. The road out of Queenstown is a very steep winding affair with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and countryside. Our next intended stop was Derwent Bridge for more fuel and lunch. This was another spectacular ride. At the cafe in Derwent Bridge we met a bunch of Ducati riders heading the other way who warned us that due to various events, accommodation in Hobart was hard to find. We rang the usual places and found they were all booked out. In the end we managed to get a twin room on Sandy Bay Road and we are booked in here for two nights. Reached Hobart around 5:30 had showers and a couple of beers and then headed for Chillies Indian Restaurant across the road. It doesn't get much better than this.

Important day today - the first anniversary of getting the bike and my licence (L's). Yep, I've been riding for exactly 12 months. In that time the Honda and I have covered almost 18,000km and it's been everything I could have hoped for. The plan back then was to gain the skills and experience to undertake the Tasmania trip. Mission accomplished.

Total Distance since home: 1045 km.

Friday, February 25, 2011

25 February 2011 - Day 2 of Tasmania Trip

Left Cozy Cabins this morning and took short ride to Dove Lake at the foot of Cradle Mountain. One of the most spectacualar views I've ever seen. Skies clear and a different day altogether. Went for a bit of a walk to the boat shed (see above) and took some photos. Finally time to set off for breakfast in Tullah. When we reached there the only cafe in town was up for sale and closed. Bugger! Rode another 15 km to Roseberry where we had brunch at the local bakery. Very nice.  From there we took the long way round to reach Strahan, our destination for today. What a fantastic spot this is. We're staying in a great location overlooking the port. Walked into town and had a great steak for dinner. Finished the day with cigars at sunset.

Total Distance since home - 730 km.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

24 February 2011 - Start of Tasmania Trip

Left Traralgon yesterday at 10:00 en route to Port Melbourne. Called into Rosa's parents in Oakleigh, for a cup of tea. Arrived in Port Melbourne and had lunch while waiting for Marcus to finish work. We boarded the Spirit of Tasmania and had the bikes secured at about 6:30. Dropped the gear of in the cabin and then off for a couple of beers before dinner. After dinner and a couple of drinks while listening to live music we got off to bed around 10 pm just as the ferry exited the heads and entered Bass Strait. During the night the boat rocked gently and it didn't take long to get to sleep.

This morning we were woken by a cheery voice on the PA system at about 5 o'clock informing us that we would need to be ready to start the bikes at around 5:45 -  a bit of a rude awakening. As we rode off the ship it was still pitch dark. Fortunately Marcus knew of a bakery in Devonport which would be open so we headed there for breakfast  and to wait for daylight and a bit of warmth to arrive.

Eventually we got on the bikes and headed up to Cradle Mountain National Park where we were able to book into Cozy Cabins. The ride up was very cold and when we arrived we turned on the heater and caught up on about 3 hours of sleep.

Woke at about 13:00 and had some lunch and then it was off for a ride to Savage River and  Hellyer Gorge - a round trip of about 200km. Got home to our cozy cabin around 6pm for a few beers and oven pizzas. Altogether an extraodinary day.

Total  Distance since home: 521 km

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

16 February 2011 - Planning for the trip to Tasmania

The bike has been washed and polished, the bags are nearly packed and all is almost ready for next week's trip to Tasmania. The Spirit of Tasmania departs at 7:30 on 23 February. After breakfast the next morning we offload the bikes in Devonport and depart on what will probably be a counter clockwise trip around the most interesting parts of the 'apple isle'. I'm experimenting with means of keeping the blog updated from the iPad, and if you're reading this entry and it has a satellite map of Tassie in it you'll know I've succeeded. Only 7 more sleeps...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

12 February 2010 - Golden Beach and Seaspray

When we were kids, our parents often took us swimming to Golden Beach and Seaspray. My recollections were that there was almost nothing there except the 90 mile beach. Years later on a family outing with the family Rosa almost drowned after being swept away by the infamous rip at Golden Beach, and that was my last visit to this area. This was around 1964. I decided to ride there today to check out the area. As expected, it was unrecognizable. Lots of houses have been built in the intervening years, and Seaspray has a pleasant looking caravan park and an extensive Surf Life Saving Club. The road there and back was almost deserted and even though the short cut from Stradbroke featured 11 kms of unmade road, it was no problem and followed the Bass Link transmission line for some distance. Altogether a very pleasant ride.

Total Distance 180 km.