Cycling Tasmania – Day 15
Westerway to Tarraleah
70km, 1,560m elevation
This morning I awoke to dark skies. The weather forecast was calling for rain but I was surprised that it was actually quite warm and dry outside. It has rained a few times so far but never while I’ve been cycling. Tasmania is experiencing a drought so they really need the rain.
Before heading off for the day, we walked the short track to Russell Falls. What a lovely place! At first you see just the bottom of the falls and that’s already quite nice. As you round a corner, suddenly you see there’s a second level – twice as tall and twice as nice!
The road leading out of Westerway is very quiet. Even though it’s peak season, traffic was quite light. Yesterday I saw lots of fruit farms along the road as well as large hop plantations. Today most of the agriculture gave way to sheep pasture then eventually forest, then highlands.
I walked across the Scottish Highlands last year and it’s interesting to see both how similar and how different the Tasmanian Highlands are. It’s certainly much, much drier here but they both have a remote and barren yet inviting feel to them.
The hills are getting bigger and longer as I approach the west coast. The last two days have had more elevation than any on the east coast. After Ouse, the road climbs up a really long hill. It’s never overly steep but I had to push myself to go any faster than a walking pace. As soon as I thought I’d gotten to the top and started downhill, I’d see another big rise ahead. Even though the climbing is tough, I really enjoyed feeling like I was getting deeper into nature. The forest is quite beautiful and surprisingly lush given how dry the weather is. I sure was happy to get to the top, though!
When you do get to the top and you cycle into Tarraleah, you realize how far you’ve climbed. A hydroelectric project sends water plummeting down hundreds of meters to a power station in the valley. You think to yourself, yep, I cycled up that!
Up next, I cycle to the start of Australia’s most famous walking track.
If you’re planning your own cycling trip in Tasmania, you can see today’s track and download the gpx from strava.