Great Tasmania Bike Ride
- Cradle Mountain
- Derwent Bridge
Rather than the Apollo 2 racing bike I bought in 1981 that I used last year, I decided that my Specialized Rockhopper mountain bike was a much better tool for the job required to ride the hills in Tassie. I bought this bike in England in 1989 and used it to tour the west coast of Eire.
Our first destination, Sheffield is a pleasant town, its claim to fame being the town murals. The day was fine and everyone in a great spirits.
There was no way I was going to walk up the steep hill out of Lake Barrington - hero. Heroes die young they say, I was a great deal of pain in one of my knees due to the amount of continual load. No training, no such thing as bike fit and correct gear choice, I am paying my dues. Lucky for me a volunteer nurse attended to my sore knee. Gave me some medicine containing ibprofen which did the trick to allevieate it - magic stuff.
I was able to recover sufficiently to then make an excursion to Dove Lake at the base of Cradle mountain. What a glorious place, I am in love with its rugged beauty on every visit.
Our campsite was crude, a simple bush setting. It was fitting for this place.
I got a letter from my girlfriend Caroline: Stuart Kinnear Poste Restante, Rosebery. She got a postcard back.... Romance.
This town is an old mining settlement. Mining gold, zinc, copper and few other metals. There is a few relics around. In contrast to the mining it is set in a pretty landscape. The highest waterfalls in Tassie are situated here - the Montezuma falls. Being a 3 hour walk, and being somewhat tired from yesterday I did not partake in the excursion.
We woke early for our next leg. Riding to Strahan via Zeehan. This time there were a few ups, but they were tempered with a good few long downshill runs. Son enough we reached our destination. Strahan is a pretty fishing and tourism village, we popped in to the historic hotel for a debrief on plans for the rest of the day. (I am not a drinker, by any means. One pot is enough for me, any more and I'm done especially after this kind of exertion.)
The flight is quite wide ranging, taking you out to the famous penal settlement at Sarah Island near the mouth of the harbour mouth and over the valleys of the Gordon / Franklin rivers.
This area was famous for the mass protests over the damming of the Franklin river. I am glad the protestors won the fight to keep this wonderful area dam free.
Riding out of Strahan we pass streams and waterfalls. The water is so dark, almost black due to the he presence of tannin in the water which is leached out of the peat soils along path of the river's catchment.
Our next stop Queenstown, is famous for its lunar like landscape. It is bereft of trees because of the mining pollution. Unfortunately it is kept that way, despite nature's effort at recovery due to some weeding efforts to ensure tourists keep coming. Queenstown is a sad, yet somehow compelling place to visit. Queenstown has a lot to offer with museums, a heritage rail and township.
As with the mining, the tent site on the oval was rock solid. I reckon the players would be wearing knee pads and other padding ensure protection. It took a lot of effort to get the tent pegs in and I bent a couple trying.
On the next day it was hard work getting up the hill out of Queenstown, seemingly non stop going for 6km. This was the ongoing story line for a couple of other places till we got to Derwent Bridge. Situated near the usual termination place for walkers of the Cradle mountain overland walk. There is a pub and a general store here, plus a big bunch of riders.
Day 7, getting close to our finale. This was great ride, mostly downhill and somewhat chilly passing the lakes through Tarraleah - stopping got lunch to Ouse.
Tarraleah is a hydro-electric town built for the workers. There are some nice sandstone buildings in Ouse. It is famous for the convicts James Goodwin and Thomas Connolly who broke out of the south west wilderness after escaping from Sarah Island.
The termination of our journey was at New Norfolk. A relatively short ride with one biggish up then long downhill runs.
- Next: Ski Tour - Guthega to Mt Twynam
- Previous: Great Victorian Bike ride
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