Cycling Tasmania – Day 26
Arthur River to Smithton (via Montagu)
73km, 460m elevation
Bushfires are a big problem in Tasmania this year with the weather being so hot and dry. I was keen to cycle the Western Explorer through some of the most remote parts of the already remote West Coast but that will have to wait for another year when that road re-opens. Fortunately, we have a rental car, so once I’d cycled to the north coast, we just threw the bike inside the car and drove the long way around to the far end of the Western Explorer.
The Western Explorer ends at the “Edge of the World” in Arthur River. It really does feel like the point where civilization ends and beyond is nothing but the raw power of the ocean. This is the most westerly part of Tasmania. If you set sail here, you would go right past South Africa, all the way to Argentina. It’s all open ocean.
Tasmania is located in “Roaring Forties” (referring to the 40th latitude south of the equator) and there’s nowhere that I’ve felt those infamous strong winds more than at the Edge of the World. It’s wild. Our B&B hosts tonight even told us about a “mini twister” that came in from the ocean and nearly knocked over their house!
I continued to cycle north from Arthur River, as I would’ve had the Western Explorer been open. The road passes through rolling farmland. In fact, northwest Tasmania has some of the largest beef and dairy farms in the world, not to mention well-guarded poppy fields.
At Marrawah I took the gravel Harcus River Road (C215) to enjoy more rural scenery. It’s a bumpy road and I wished I had a bike with shocks. At the turnoff to Woolnorth I felt quite relieved that the road becomes sealed again. I started to cycle toward Woolnorth to breathe in its famously clean air – the Baseline Air Pollution Station here declares it to be the cleanest air in the world! Suddenly, though, my right pedal broke off. I had Sil come pick me up and drove me to Smithton where I was able to buy a new pair. Sil said there’s really not much to see at Woolnorth, apart from a big wind farm and thousands of cows, so I cycled back from Smithton but didn’t bother going all the way to Woolnorth.
We’re spending the night at Marrawah, a farming community overlooking a beautiful crescent-shaped beach that stretches on for miles. The surf here is famous and you can spot a few hardy surfers who brave the cold water and strong winds. It’s an unexpected sight – cows and surfers together at last.
Up next, I spend a day Pet Sitting in Paradise.