Tasmania Cycle Tour – Day 14
Hobart to Mount Field National Park
81km, 1840m elevation
I took a break from cycling over the last two days to explore Tasmania’s capital city, Hobart. I’ve been really impressed with how vibrant Australian cities are and Hobart is no exception. The food is great and taking a stroll along the harbour is sure to take all your worries away. The history is fascinating too. Last week I enjoyed learning about Tasmania’s convict history at Port Arthur. In Hobart you can visit the remains of a women’s prison or “female factory”, as they called it. Conditions were arguably even worse here than at Port Arthur. Sometimes as young as 11, these women spent 12 hours a day washing laundry while standing in knee-deep, freezing cold, sewage filled water. Today the Female Factory offers guided tours and interpretive performances that really bring this history alive. I really enjoyed both.
One of the wonderful things about travel is the great people you can meet. When I was in Sri Lanka last year I met Rob and Jolanda who live in Melbourne. They introduced me to Andy in Hobart and I’ve had the pleasure of spending the last two days at Andy’s place. He couldn’t have made us feel more welcome. Thanks Andy!
I left Hobart this morning following the InterCity Cycleway. It’s so nice to have a dedicated cycle pathway free of traffic that takes you right out of the city.
The InterCity Cycleway ends at the Cadbury Chocolate Factory. Any other day I’d have happily seen if a tour was available but after a two day break from cycling, I was eager to get in some good distance. I followed the Derwent River past the busy freeway and out of Hobart’s suburbs, eventually reaching peaceful farmland.
I was nice to see the scenery become more natural and the roads less busy with each passing mile.
I was keen to see Mount Field National Park. There is a 16-km dirt road that leads to Lake Dobson – as far as you can go by car or bike. I’d read another trip report that made it sound pretty easy. It’s steep but manageable and in good condition. At first I really enjoyed being in dense forest, out of the wind that you tend to get in the river valley. But the road never gives you a break. The steepness remains constant, mile after mile, and I started to marvel at how the road engineers managed this feat.
Eventually, I got to Lake Dobson and enjoyed a wonderful short walk through an other-worldly forest. I was surrounded by “pandani”, the world’s tallest heath. These huge plants look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book and are found in Tasmania and nowhere else on Earth.
Up next, I make my way up-up-up into the Tasmanian Highlands.
If you’re planning your own cycling trip in Tasmania, you can see today’s track and download the gpx from strava.