Into the Wilderness

Into the Wilderness

Cycling Tasmania – Day 17
Derwent Bridge to Queenstown

99km, 1,825m elevation (including side-trips)

Today I cycled out of Derwent Bridge and into Wild Rivers National Park. It was superb. I sailed down long descents with sweeping turns and stopped countless times to take short walks into the wilderness. Bush fire smoke had blown in during the night, obscuring what I could see of distant peaks but leaving behind silhouettes that left the imagination free to exaggerate. It is disappointing to miss out on so much great scenery because of the smoke but I still marvelled at the grand mountainous country.
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When one door closes, another opens

When one door closes, another opens

Cycle Touring Tasmania – Day 16
Tarraleah to Lake St Clair

58km, 600m elevation

After two hard days it was nice to have a shorter cycle on relatively flat roads today. From Tarraleah, the highway takes a circuitous and hilly route to Derwent Bridge. Instead, I decided to cycle the C601, a gravel road that passes through pretty forest. That saved me 10 km and let me enjoy the scenery without much traffic.
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Up to the Tasmanian Highlands

Up to the Tasmanian Highlands

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.
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A Big Aussie Barbie and a Big Climb

A Big Aussie Barbie and a Big Climb

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.
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Crazy Modern Art and a “Secret” Hut on Mount Wellington

Crazy Modern Art and a “Secret” Hut on Mount Wellington

Tasmania Cycle Tour – Day 11 – Tee Tree to MONA
40km, 530m elevation

I felt some mixed emotions when I woke up this morning, knowing that it was time to start cycling into Tasmania’s capital city, Hobart. The dark skies and light rain seemed to reflect how I felt. I’ve had such a wonderful time exploring this history-filled part of the island that I’m sad to leave it behind.
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Cycling Tasmania – Day 10

Cycling Tasmania – Day 10

Cycling Tasmania Day 10 – Dunalley to Richmond
57km, 680m elevation

I haven’t talked much about where we’ve been staying on this trip. For the most part, we’ve been just showing up and seeing what we can find or booking a day ahead of time. That gives me a lot of flexibility in cycling and I love the spontaneity of it. Last night we stayed at Casilda House B&B in the picturesque town of Dunalley. It’s a lovely spot, right on the water with beautiful views out to the bay. We really lucked out on this B&B. Not only is it a lovely place to stay but no sooner had we paid than another hopeful guest showed up. Casilda is the only place to stay for miles. We almost had to sleep in the car (well, Sil in the car and me under my bike)!
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I found the Tasmanian Devil!

I found the Tasmanian Devil!

I’ve finally found it! The endangered, elusive Tasmanian Devil!

Today I visited the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo where you can get up close and personal with some of Tasmania’s wild creatures. It’s more than just a zoo. Or, I should say, it’s not a zoo at all. I’ll get to that but first the exciting part – I got to watch two Tassie devils wait in anticipation of fresh food then devour a chunk of wallaby! They’re such interesting creatures. About the size of a small dog, they look really cute and cuddly. Yet, they have the strongest jaws next to a shark and can tear tough meat and crunch through bones as if they were toothpicks. They’re carnivores but they don’t hunt. They scavenge for food.
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The life of a convict – World Heritage Site Port Arthur

The life of a convict – World Heritage Site Port Arthur

Cycling Tasmania Day 8 & 9
Taranna to Coal Mines National Heritage Site – 21km, 410m elevation

I took a day off of cycling yesterday to visit the World Heritage Site, Port Arthur. A day of learning about Australia’s convict history is just what I needed. Port Arthur is especially significant because it was the first in the world to create a separate prison for boys. Before that, boys as young as nine years old were locked up with hardened adult criminals. You can just imagine the results. Now it seems crazy to lock up kids at all but at the time just the idea of separating them from adults was revolutionary.
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Crashing Sea Cliffs and Peaceful Bays: the Tasman Peninsula

Crashing Sea Cliffs and Peaceful Bays: the Tasman Peninsula

Cycling Tasmania Day 7 – Murdunna to Port Arthur
51km, 850m

It’s my 7th day of cycling in Tasmania and I’ve reached the end of the Tasman Peninsula. Only a week into the trip and I feel like I’ve already hit a milestone. This is the furthest southeast that you can go in Tasmania. The next stop is Antarctica.
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Getting off the beaten track in Tasmania

Getting off the beaten track in Tasmania

Cycling Tasmania – Day 6
Triabunna to King George Sound
78km, 1500m elevation

Most of the roads I’ve cycled so far in Tasmania have had a fair bit of traffic. It is the height of the Australian summer after all and tons of folks from mainland Australia come to Tasmania to escape the heat. Today, I took an entirely different path.
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