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Chris L circles Tasmania Chris L is spending a month riding around Tasmania. Follow his progress here

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Old 12-21-03, 11:22 PM   #1
Chris L
Every lane is a bike lane
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Location: Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia - passionfruit capital of the universe!
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Day 7: An afternoon dash

Well, so much for promising myself shorter days on this tour. Rained intermittently this morning as I woke up and took my time getting my gear ready to head back to the "mainland". Re-doing the 12km ride back to the ferry terminal, I seemed to handle the sand better this time. Could it be practice makes perfect?

One of the crew at the ferry decided to have a bit of a whinge about the weight of my fully-loaded bike, but his mate shut him up pretty quickly on that score. The exchange surprised me, given that it was actually the first "whinge" I've heard from anyone since I've been here. Tasmanians generally seem to be about the most friendly people I've ever met.

After lunch back at Triabunna and a quick rudimentary clean of the bike to try to remove some of the Maria mud, I set off at around 1.30pm. Still 115km to do if I was to reach Coles Bay, the gateway to the Freycinet National Park, expected to be one of the highlights of the whole trip. The ride could have possibly been shortened slightly with an informal ferry service from somewhere near Swansea to the Freycinet Peninsula, but I wasn't going to take a punt on whether that was running with some of the clouds in the sky.

The early part of the ride was a little uninspiring, but as I closed in on the town of Swansea, the coastal vistas started opening up, giving some very clear views of the deep blue Tasman Sea. I also got to ride across the Spiky Bridge, originally built by convicts, but now apparently changed quite a bit. I paused at Swansea to sample the local bakery, which is quite possibly the best on the Tasmanian East Coast. In hindsight I should have stocked up on groceries there, too.

A short, sharp climb north of Swansea gave rise to some very pleasant views in the fading light, but these were shortened somewhat by the black clouds on the horizon. Eventually I reached the turn-off for Coles bay, and started heading due south. Finally, the Hazards, the spectacular mountain range on the Freycinet Peninsula came into view. I was starting to tire somewhat toward the end after the mad dash into town, finally arriving. I stayed in the caravan park, because I heard the other camping area was extremely cramped (something I wanted to avoid at the start of the school holidays).

After pitching my tent, I discovered that Coles Bay seems to have become something of a tourist trap. Just about everything here costs more than at Swansea. Still, the town is in a beautiful location right on the beach at the foot of the hazards. Given the amount of time I saved for this trip, maybe I can wear the few extra dollars here.
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Old 01-23-04, 04:11 AM   #2
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Morning on Maria Island. Is this picture right-side up?
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Old 01-23-04, 04:12 AM   #3
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Maria Island National Park
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Old 01-23-04, 04:13 AM   #4
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Deserted Tasmanian beach
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Old 01-23-04, 04:14 AM   #5
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More ocean views.
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Old 01-23-04, 04:15 AM   #6
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I don't care if it's wet. I didn't come all this way not to ride across the Spiky Bridge.
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Old 01-23-04, 04:16 AM   #7
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Great day for the Beach!
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Old 01-23-04, 04:17 AM   #8
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Descending somewhere north of Swansea. Still can't see The Hazards yet.
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Old 01-23-04, 04:18 AM   #9
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Ahhh! There they are.
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