The Twists and Turns of Tasmania

Cover Photo: Just south of Swansea is “Spikey Bridge” built by Convicts in 1843

WA 9th -14th February Tasmania, by Jenny.

Once again, we were able to walk to the train, and have a relaxing journey to Perth. It is a longer journey, but there is no stress, no need for parking, or vehicle storage, and it is cheaper. For this trip, we have a cheap hotel near the airport, with complimentary shuttle, 24hrs a day. Our flight leaves at 5.20am, so it’s an early start.

 

Marracoonda…It’s an old Motel, but it is clean, neat and had a comfy bed. Made the early start easier.

Everything went smoothly, and we arrived in Melbourne a little early. Enough time to freshen up and find our way to the last leg flight to Hobart. Neil and Tracey were waiting for us on the ground, and by 3pm, we were relaxing and enjoying the view from their balcony.

 

We slept pretty well, so didn’t look too bad this early in the morning. The view from the balcony was great, and Roxy is a lot of fun.

Neil didn’t give us long to regroup, and after a short chat and catch up, he took us out on the bikes. A short run around Hobart to familiarise ourselves with the bikes. Two GSX650F’s, and a FJR1300. Aside from a couple of toots of the horn instead of indicating (bloody fat finger syndrome), we adjusted to the slightly different sitting position, and (especially for me) the increase in acceleration, in no time.

 

Neil introduces us to the kids, and then we head out for a spin and we both got to have a ride on the big girl, the Yamaha FJR1300. Biggest bike I’ve ever ridden. It was very smooth and well balanced.

Saturday we took a spin through the city, and up Mount Wellington, at 1271 meters above sea level. It was a fun run up the mountain, and Will and I were super happy that we got to the top on a clear day. The views were spectacular, and it was incredible that the temp was about 10C cooler than in the city. Down off the mountain, we stopped at the Salamanca markets in town, and had a wonder around, some lunch, and met a cute little local who decided to escort us around the island.

 

After fiddling around with the Sena Comms, we stopped in at Hobart Motorcycles to see Ben, and I tried out the Hayabusa, it’s a 1300CC and is super fast. Then we busted up the mountain. A very narrow and windy road. Great views of the city all the way up.

 

Neil took us on a sight seeing circuit, which was lovely, and we were feeling pretty comfy on the bikes already.

 

It was bloody busy at the markets, with a big cruise ship in port, so we were glad we’re on the bikes, parking was diabolical. Somewhere in amongst the mass of tourists, we found a little local to come along with us. Meet Diablo (Spanish for Devil) the Tasmanian Devil.

Sunday was a bit rough, weather wise, so we decided to take a look at the Museum Of Old and New Art (MONA). It is the largest privately funded museum in Australia, owned by professional gambler, art collector and businessman, David Walsh. It re-opened in 2011, after a $75 million dollar renovation. Tasmanians get in for free, but the rest of us have to pay. You can even get an “Eternity Membership”, which gives you free entry, and when you die, you can be cremated and placed in the onsite cemetery. Who’s up for that, hey?

 

This was seriously cool, and actually moves, if necessary. So much intricate work.

 

A water feature that makes Radom words, so brilliant. A dinosaur made of toy dinosaurs, I love that. Musical instruments, and this huge weird picture. Just a few things from the Everyman display.

 

MONA is famous for it’s Vagina wall. A wall of 72 plaster casts of Vaginas of all varieties. I can’t lie, it was fascinating, and intriguing. I felt a bit wrong to photograph them, but I really just needed to. I would have liked to know the age and origin of them too. The stuffed kittens at dinner were also irresistible, and a bit wrong.

It was a great place to spend the best part of the day, and then we just went home, the long way via Richmond, to sort out the big kids, for our first bike adventure in Tassie.

 

Richmond is a neat little town, with the lovely old bridge built in 1823, a lovely pub and delicious lollie shop. We were also super lucky to spot an Echidna crossing the road on the way up. See him trying to pretend he’s a rock?

Hobart to Swansea 140kms

Nothing too strenuous, as we need to get comfortable on these bikes (not too difficult), and the roads on this amazing island. We meandered our way through the traffic, and along the twisty road to Orford, for a coffee and stretch of the legs.

 

The first leg was a good cruise, with sunshine and no wind. Orford is a nice little seaside town, and we enjoyed a nice hot drink with the constabulary.

It was a stunning Tassie summer day, not too hot and not too cold, and we really enjoyed the run along the coastline to Swansea. First stop in Swansea was the Bark Mill Tavern and Bakery, for some lunch. After that, we popped in to see Neil and Tracey’s friend Janine, who gave us two ladies a quick trim. My hair was starting to look a bit wayward. Tracey just wanted shorter hair.

 

We stopped to admire the blue, blue sea, and also on the Spikey Bridge. Then just enjoyed the last run to Swansea.

Swansea is a neat little coastal town, and we all enjoyed a nice dinner, a laugh, and a nice bottle of red wine, at Saltshaker (the local restaurant). An enjoyable stroll along the beach area, and back to our neat little hotel, before a reasonably early night. A good first day.

 

Janine tamed our flowing locks, which helps our helmet hair, immensely.

 

The Swansea Motor Inn was a great place to stay, and Diablo enjoyed his first outing by stealing our lollies, and making new friends. He’s fitting in nicely.

 

We weren’t the only bike riders out enjoying a short tour, and the little jetty made for some nice pictures.

 

Happy as, after our first day out. Thank you weather gods.

There was a light shower over night, and when Will and I got up, Tracey had just returned from a morning stroll along the beach, taking photos, and Neil was kindly drying the seats and visors, of all the bikes. Geez, you two, ease up, you’re making us look even more lazy. After a chat with the other bikers, who left early, some cereal and toast, another chat with the hotel owner, and a quick pack up, we were cruising down the Tasman Highway, loving ourselves sick.

 

First stop was Coles Bay, which is the gateway to the Freycinet National Park. The road in is a good one, but with so much tourist traffic heading in to check out the great scenery, it was no surprise that we got stuck going slow, behind several hire cars, full of tourists. Eventually, we got separated, and the coms died, leaving me stuck behind a German truck camper, while Will and Neil disappeared into Coles Bay. Eventually I made it into town, and we all parked up for a couple of pics and a shake of the leg.

 

Only one cafe in the tiny holiday town, and too busy for us. So on to the next one, just a short ride away.

A short ride north, brought us to Bicheno, with a motorcycle museum for the boys, some blowholes (that weren’t blowing), and a nice cafe for Tracey and I to relax at. We all had a refreshment, then Neil and Will checked out the little museum, and Tracey and I enjoyed the peace, and had a nice chat. Then it was time to head for Elephant Pass and The Pancake Hut.

 

Bicheno is a bit bigger, with a few shops and choices for coffee. It has a nice wharf area, and penguins and sea lions, which we didn’t get to see today.

Now this was a fun little hill climb, twisting and turning up the hill, to a small wood hut, that sells pancakes. Fantastic! Very early on the windy road, a not too drastic right hand bend, I somehow managed to scrape my right peg, shit myself, and come out a bit wide. I wasn’t even leaned over very much, what happened there? On review of the GoPro footage, the road camber was quite severe, in the wrong direction, and with the lowering of the bike (Neil had done this for Tracey, she is the same height as me) it was easy to do. Phew, I hadn’t done anything too dick.

 

Diablo really enjoyed the ride up, and we all enjoyed the pancakes. I didn’t enjoy the blackboard sign on the way to the toilets, which said “Big black snake in yard, Beware!”. What? Where? I had a bloody good hard look, it was not there just now….phew.

It was only about 17kms, but the views were great, and the winding road was fun. The pancakes were delicious. The run down the other side, through St Mary’s was easy and even more fun. Then it was along the coast, through Scamander, and into St Helens. The sun was shining, and it looked a lot nicer today, than it did 15 years ago. We visited here with our kids way back then, at the same time of year, and the weather was shite. After fuelling up the trusty steeds, we located our accommodation, and sent Will to the shops for supplies. We had a lovely barbecue dinner, relaxed in the apartment, while checking tomorrow’s options.

 

We found a great spot called Homelea Accommodation, two bedrooms, and self contained. Fantastic, it even had a spa. The BBQ area was great, and we really enjoyed dinner and relaxing on the lounges.

Oh dear, there is an extreme weather warning for the whole of Tasmania. Strong wind warnings, heavy rain, and expected thunderstorms. That doesn’t sound like good riding weather. Neil went to see if we might be able to stay here and wait it out, as it’s only a one day storm, but no luck. “Tassie is full, it’s tourist season you know?” Mmm, yeah, we know. So we’ve decided to save the decision making for the morning, when we see the latest weather updates. Who knows, they could get it wrong hey?

St Helens – Rained In.

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Look at that shit! You wouldn’t go riding in that unless it was life and death, would you? We’d better find somewhere to wait this out.

Well wouldn’t you know it, the weather experts actually got it right for a change, and there was a bloody huge, fast moving cold front, coming across from the west, covering most of this little state. Here it was looking pretty nice, but in a couple of hours (when we had to be out of here), it looked on target to smash us. So we decided to be smart, and find some other accommodation in town, which we did, but still wouldn’t be able to check into it for a few more hours. Bum! So we just relaxed, Neil cooked us bacon and eggs on the BBQ, and we left our departure until the last possible second. Then we rode a whole 1.5kms to a large shelter on the foreshore. We parked all three bikes up under the shelter, and about 10 minutes later, the storm reached us. It took about an hour and a half to pass, and by then our room was ready. Yay! We rode another 500 meters, parked up, and checked in.

 

We copped a small shower while packing up, and we knew we’d better find a good hideout pretty quick. This thing is moving fast. Luckily Will spotted the shelter, which was big enough for all the bikes, us and a few other campers trying to stay dry.

A pretty pathetic day, kilometres wise, but at least we are all safe and dry. Smart riders, I say. At least we can enjoy lunch, a nice walk around town, and get this blog up to date. Another fun day in our Tassie adventure.

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