Cycling Tasmania – Day 25
Waratah to Boat Harbour (via Wynyard and Table Cape)
89km, 1280m elevation
From Corinna on Tasmania’s West Coast there is a remote and rough road that twists through the Tarkine Wilderness, eventually re-emerging 110km later at Arthur River. Sadly, the famous Western Explorer is closed. Recent bushfires have damaged a bridge, making the road impassable. I’d really hoped that the road would reopen and that I’d get to explore this wild part of Tasmania. I guess that’s just one more reason to add to my list of why I need to come back!
Sil dropped me back in Waratah where I decided to cycle north out of the forest and back to the sea. I was surprised how little traffic there was, given that it’s an ‘A’ highway. The road drops steeply downhill until it reaches Hellyer Gorge, where there is a nice walk through the forest. I enjoyed the shady peaceful stroll, marvelling at how huge many of the trees are.
The road climbs out of Hellyer Gorge then resumes its long descent to the coast. The scenery sure does change. One moment I was twisting and turning down through the forest, then all of a sudden I was surrounded by sheep pasture and the sea stretched out endlessly in front of me.
It says a lot about the remoteness of the West Coast that I haven’t seen any farmland since leaving the area around Hobart. Suddenly, I’m right back in the middle of it. The cows seem as surprised as I am. One cow was leaning far out through a fence (guess the grass is always greener on the other side) then suddenly pulled back and ran away when she saw me. Maybe it’s my exceedingly bright clothing. Another bunch of cows came running toward me. Go figure that one out.
I made it to the coast at Wynyard. It feels strange to be back in a town with fast food and traffic. If you continue through the town onto the C234, you get to enjoy more wonderful rural scenery. There is a steep climb up to Table Cap but it’s well worth it for the breathtaking views of the massive sea far below.
I joined the Bass Highway where it becomes your only option and was shocked at the heavy traffic and narrow shoulder. A week on nearly empty roads and I’ve already forgotten how to deal with traffic. Fortunately, I didn’t have to stay on the road for long. I took the turnoff for Boat Harbour and found myself, yet again, in a completely different world – this time the tropics! Boat Harbour, with its warm turquoise water and white sandy beach, looks like it would be right at home in the Caribbean.
So much variety of scenery today. I left the remote and mysterious Tarkine Wilderness to enjoy cycling through sheep pasture, up to a windy bluff with views of the sea crashing into rocks far below, and then finished the day by relaxing on a tropical beach.
Next, I go all the way to the Edge of the World.
If you’re planning your own cycling trip in Tasmania, you can see today’s track and download the gpx from strava.