Day 4 of my Tasmania Cycle Tour – Coles Bay to Triabunna
89km, 800m elevation
I really wanted to catch a boat across the narrow channel of water that splits the Freycinet peninsula from a place called Nine Mile Beach — who wouldn’t want to visit a place with a name like that! I stopped off at Kent’s house and inquired about catching a ride. He used to take cyclists across but it turns out that he sold his boat a few years ago. That’s too bad. Fortunately, Sil is driving, so we just put the bike in the car and she drove me up to the Coles Bay junction so that I wouldn’t have to repeat that section of road.
In a way I’m glad I couldn’t just skip across to Nine Mile Beach. That would have bypassed some beautiful rural scenery.
It would’ve also meant missing Spring Vale Vineyard. What’s better than cycling through picturesque farmland, olive groves, and vineyards on a hot day than to stop at a little winery and sample their crisp cold white wines? Spring Vale is a family-owned vineyard that goes all the way back to 1842. The tasting room is an old convict-built stable and it still feels very much like a farm right out of the 19th century. Ange Boxall, who is also a country/folk singer, let us try some delicious wines while the other visitors asked me all about cycling through Tasmania. Another couple who were there even invited us to stay with them in case our last-minute approach to finding a place to sleep comes up short.
I relaxed in the shade for quite a long time after enjoying the wine tasting. Back on the road I found a strong crosswind that slowed me down. I’d been enjoying a tailwind earlier in the day but had now changed direction. Cycling along the beach it felt like being in front of a sandblaster.
Since I’d done some wine tasting in the morning, why not sample some jam and honey in the afternoon? Kate’s Berry Farm is situated up in the hills beyond the town of Swansea. The large berry patch looks out over the sea and you can sit right above it, enjoying a light lunch or some tasty ice cream. This is where I saw it – Lavender Ice Cream – and I knew right away that I had to try it. I’m glad I did. It was absolutely delicious.
There are lots of quirky things to see in Tasmania. One is Spiky Bridge. Back in the 1840s, a carriage driver named Edward Shaw really felt that the roads along the Tasmanian east coast needed improvement, so while giving a ride to an important Major one night, he drove his carriage through the gully at full gallop to impress upon the Major the need for more road works. The bridge got built shortly afterwards (by convicts, as was most everything in Australia in those days). But no one really knows why all the spikes.
I cycled well into the evening, enjoying the long shadows and lack of traffic. Luckily, the Spring Bay Hotel in Triabunna had just one room left — after someone else cancelled only hours earlier, no less.
It seemed like everyone in little Triabunna was enjoying dinner at the fish truck, so I joined in. Fresh fish and oysters? What a great way to finish a day of cycling.
If you’re planning your own cycling trip in Tasmania, you can see today’s track and download the gpx from strava.
Up next, I spot hundreds of dolphins at Maria Island!