February 4, 2020
A beautiful start to our Tassie tour. We left East Devonport under a clear blue sky, light wind and temps in the high teens. At this point, we’re thinking that we’ll head east to Anson bay, spend a couple of nights there and then head down the east coast. That plan eventually changed but I’ll get to that later.
Our destination today was a place called Beauty Point, primarily because I knew there was a campground there. We took the route less traveled of course and ended up on a gravel road up and over a row of hills, which was certainly quiet but was on the challenging side. We didn’t have a lot of food with us and a limited amount of water, not realizing that there just aren’t a lot of services in rural Tasmania. So we rode past the campground in Beauty Point and headed straight for the only cafe in town. After a great lunch (at 3pm), we made a quick stop at a convenience store to pick up a can of beans for supper and then made our way to the campground, set up camp and cleaned up.
The campground was set on a small peninsula beside a conservation area, which made for a great evening beach walk.
February 5, 2020
Another stellar day… the temperature was perfect in the low 20s, clear skies, the pavement good, the bikes working well… and I’m slowly getting used to the near constant stench of rotting flesh. Road kill, everywhere, at least 1 or 2 per km in various states of decomposition. Mostly the Tasmanian pademelon (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tasmanian_pademelon), a few possums and the odd snake. Sad really.
We cycled from Beauty Point to Beaconsfield where we stopped at the IGA and picked up a few groceries. After we finished in the grocery store, we sat outside on a bench to have a bite to eat and Clive stopped by to chat. Clive is a cycle tourist who lives just north of Beaty Point and has a house in Launceston that they rent out. Because I’m writing this well after the fact, I’ll just say that this was a very fortuitous meeting.
From Beaconsfield we rode down and across the Batman Bridge (in the photos) and then north toward Georgetown. That was a pretty challenging stretch because of the number of logging trucks. We turned east again and headed for Bridport. There weren’t any services before that turn to the east to refill our water bottles so we just went on, hoping that we would come across something along the way before Bridport, and we did… just a small gas station but I quickly downed a gatorade and filled up our water bottles before moving on to Bridport. Once there we found the caravan park and picked a spot just before they closed in the non-powered site section. We were the only ones there and that felt quite weird. We cleaned up and walked into town for dinner and got to the restaurant at 8:10pm, 10 minutes after the kitchen closed. They were good about it and allowed us to still order but it was again, a lesson learned. We need to shift our timelines and make sure that if we want to buy lunch, we need to do it before 2pm and if we want to go out for dinner, we need to do that before 7 or 7:30.
February 6, 2020
We picked Derby as a halfway point to St Helens, and we found a place to stay there as we rode out of Bridport. We were on the highway as far as Scottsdale we we found our way onto the Scottsdale-Billycock summit rail trail – 26 kms off the highway and with a max 2.4* grade. It was interesting really, we round a reference to this rail trail on a poster in Bridport. If we hadn’t seen that, we wouldn’t have known about it at all as there wasn’t a single sign anywhere in Scottsdale until we were actually at the trailhead. It was a little rough in places and it added 9km to the route but certainly worth it. We got to spend time deep in the Tassie bush with huge ferns and other exotic flora.
Derby ended up being a self-described “mountain bike Mecca” and it certainly was moving in that direction. New condos were taking over from small clapboard, century-old railway houses. Houses that sold for $35k 3 years ago were now going for more than $300k.
A challenging day today with a lot of climbing and a head wind in the afternoon. But we made it to St Helen’s and booked into a cabin for a couple of nights (could end up being 3) as it would be good to have a day off and we also want to cycle out to Binalong Bay.
February 8, 2020
We took the day off to recover from the last several days of riding.
February 9 and 10, 2020
Went out to stay at Cozy Corners campground (free camping!) on the Bay of FIres for a couple of nights. Had a great spot for the tent out of the wind and had to create a small protected cooking/eating area. What an amazing place!
February 11, 2020
Today, after a night of steady rain, we dried out, packed up and headed south. It was a short easy ride to Scamander today with a side tour of St Helens mountain bike trails.