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  1. #1
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    just got the sack! woo hoo!

    having already given a month's notice having found a new, shiny, well-paid job in the city i got given the official "get your personals belongings and get out" a week and a day into said month.

    this means about 3 weeks free, thinking of getting on a train on saturday and riding back from adelaide. anybody done anything over there? had been thinking to go up to the barossa then down the coast before mayyyyybe taking the great ocean road back up towards melbourne (depending on what day it is when i get down there - i'm sure the weekends are not much fun).

    any tips for places to make sure i hit? this is gonna be a pretty quick plan so the whole thing may just be me riding through wheat fields or something equally uninspiring. still, i remember reading somewhere on here that the worst day touring is better than the best day working. sage words indeed.

    anyways, any advice? i tried the links on that pedalpatagonia site as i know that he (john?) went west to east down here recently but it wouldn't work for me for some reason.

  2. #2
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    Congratulations, I am green with envy. Have you ridden Tasmania? I think 3 weeks there is about perfect, and it's easy to get on the boat from Melbourne.
    ...

  3. #3
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    thought about tassie but the cost of it is just silly. $170 each way for the boat - if i did do it ti'd be boat down and then maybe ride around for a bit before flying back out of hobart. wouldn't want to have to rely on my limited bike maintenance abilities to put the bike back together in any great hurry. got a few days to decide i guess. the new job starts on the 11th march and i can't really leave melbourne until friday at the very earliest so it's only really 2.5 weeks.

  4. #4
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    bugger it, done. booked the boat down to devonport this friday night, the 22nd and a flight back from hobart on friday the 7th.

    rough plan:
    from devonport head west, go visit a mate in burnie and check out cradle mountain, cut north east through the national park to launceston then over to the east coast and down to hobart.

  5. #5
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    something like this?

    http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...tting-the-sack

    am i missing something glaringly obvious?

  6. #6
    Senior Member craigdurkee's Avatar
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    good job mate i have just had 3 weeks off myself and was at a abit of a loose end pity the dates didnt match i would have loved a tour, i would have been up for tazzy or adelaide to sydney etc

    dam it
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  7. #7
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    was wondering how you managed to put that lysterfield jaunt on crazy guy yesterday!

  8. #8
    Senior Member craigdurkee's Avatar
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    hahha yeah i work tues to sat every week so i always get a nice day out on monday, but also had a few weeks off went to gipssland for a few days but a "real" tour would have been nice.

    might take a ride down to port melbourne when you get the ferry to wish you a safe trip.....

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  9. #9
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    The route looks pretty straight forward, but particularly on the way to Launceston, try to stay on the old Bass Highway. It is much quieter and more cyclist-amenable than the new highway which also by-passes some of the towns. The same thing applies from Devonport to Burnie, although the distances are less... even so, the old coastal Bass Highway through Penguin is more scenic (ocean wise).

    I hope you are up for some climbing... the coast to Cradle Mountain is a constant uphill with some steep stuff in there. But if you have the right gearing, you should be right.

    There's really only one way down the East Coast, but once you get closer to Hobart, you might be better off turning right towards Richmond rather than trying to do battle with the causeways from Sorell to the airport on the Tasman Highway. From Richmond, you have two options -- to head westward to the Midland Highway which is longer, but nice in terms of scenery and eventually gets you across to the Hobart side of the Derwent River; or go towards Bellerive through Cambridge -- which eventually means you have to do battle with the Tasman Bridge and its approaches. I haven't been back to Hobart for a couple of years, so there might have been some improvement... but it takes local knowledge to find the best way to the bridge and over it. Go round Rosny Point from Bellerive and you will be better off... take the upstream (northern) path across the bridge (riding on the roadway is very much frowned upon and does the cyclist cause absolutely no good at all). The northern side has a ramp so you don't have to manhandle a bike down steps like on the southern (or downstream) side. Once there, you can take the cycleway to the regatta grounds and beyond to the centre of Hobart.

    Also, watch for the log trucks on the Tasman Highway leading to Triabunna. The drivers are quite professional and while the trucks are daunting, I don't recall any cyclists actually being injured or killed by one. Just take a bit more care south of Orford.

    Have a good time. At least you haven't tried to do all of Tasmania in three weeks -- I lived there most of my life and still haven't seen it all.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  10. #10
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    cheers craig - but how will you pick me out amongst all the other folks pushing loaded bikes onto the boat? i'll wear a red shirt.

    thanks a million rowan, will print this off and take it along with me. all the long cuts you suggested are the sort of thing i'd be hoping to do - i've left 2 weeks to do 750kms and reckon i can comfortably manage 100 - 150 per day. did some of the south island of nz over december so while i'm sure the hills will still be a challenge i should be ok. famous last words eh?

  11. #11
    Senior Member craigdurkee's Avatar
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    where in melbourne you leaving form ill meet you in your suburb
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  12. #12
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    right near the corner of auburn and rathmines - you're camberwell right? amazed i haven't spotted you about - can't be too many kona sutra's floating about.

  13. #13
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    Nice!!! You are going to ride the parts of Tasmania that I enjoyed the most!

    I really liked the parks on the east coast - Maria Island in particular was super cool - car free island, you can take your bike on the boat, camp out there... there are a ton of cool animals. Freycinet was also outstanding. The hike to hourglass bay is well worth the day off the bike.
    ...

  14. #14
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    have to see how i go with the camping as this will be my first camping effort while touring, also my first solo effort. only done two previously and both times had planned something by myself before people said "yeah! we'll come along!" which was great. the latter was going to be tasmania then became new zealand. no complaints naturally but this should be cool. sort of worried about the admin side of things - like with a bunch of us we could go off in separate ways and have some folks cooking, some folks doing alundry and the like. something tells me i'll not be cooking meals like the attached photo this time around....


  15. #15
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    Hi, sounds like you'll have a great trip! Tassie is awesome.

    I won't comment on Devonport - Cradle as I've only ever driven that route.

    Launceston - when is Festivale on? It is around this time, if you can be there it is a great food-and-wine-and-arts thing.
    Last decent bike shops before Hobart in Launnie. Stock up if you need anything. Rain gear etc.

    From Launnie you can get to Scottsdale via Pipers Brook which is nice, I reckon the wineries are worth a visit (esp. Dalrymple pinot, Pipers Brook winery and the sparkling wines at Clover Hill). Besides by now your legs will be like tree trunks so a few more hills won't worry you!

    Near Pyengana (which has some of the best cheddar in Australia) is a little walk to St Columba Falls which is only 5 km or so out of your way and is a beautiful spot, worth the detour. The ride down to Pyengana from Weldbrough Pass is awesome.

    From St Helens you can detour up to Bay of Fires and Binalong which is nice but probably not worth the extra kms. St Helens has the best coffee and shops since Launnie.
    I took the inland (highway) route via St Marys and Elephant Pass. There is a "pancake barn" here which is good in a tourist trap sort of way, but if you're sick of hills by now you're really not missing anything by skipping it. The coastal route is apparently quieter but I've never been that way.

    Bicheno is gorgeous, great beach, nice little town.

    If you've already been to Freycinet I'll forgive your otherwise culpable neglect of it. Yes there will be some backtracking, but if you haven't been there you'll just have to put up with backtracking. It is easily worth an extra day, you can visit an oyster farm near Dolphin Sands and shuck your own for a snack, then from Coles Bay you can either walk to Wineglass Bay (or to I think Athol's Peak (could be wrong) for the view) or take a boat tour which is also pretty cool.

    I don't think you can cut across the beaches to Swansea.

    A couple more wineries on the road to Swansea, I think at the Lake Leake road intersection.

    Good food & coffee at Swansea.

    I haven't been to Maria Island but everyone says it is good.

    I'd visit Richmond. Nice (touristy) historic town. The bridge from Sorrell to Hobart is long (over some sort of retaining weir or breakwater) but is fine. Then there is a big bridge in the city, on the highway ( think this is the one Rowan was referring to), also OK but have a look t a road map and don't try to change lanes or turn right off it.

    Going to Port Arthur? I really enjoyed it. You could detour at Sorrell.
    The Huon Valley south of Hobart is also nice in a more low-key sort of way.

    Make sure you are in Hobart on a Saturday morning for the Salamanca market.

    Jibi (from UK) has recently been there, try his petalpatagonia website again, you get to the tassie bit from the WA page I think. Also there are lots of crazyguyonabike journals on tassie.

    -- edit --
    Sounds like Rowan has good advice on getting into Hobart and avoiding the Tasman bridge

  16. #16
    Slowpoach
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  17. #17
    Slowpoach
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    Have you booked your travel yet? Virgin and Qantas are both fine to fly with but Jetstar will try to charge you excess luggage by weight for your bike. If you've booked Jetstar make sure you check luggage rules. They even weigh hand luggage!

  18. #18
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    cheers cave. went with virgin, have used them before and they've got a great policy for bikes. i guess that since i'm only flying for the way home i can send stuff by one of those heinously expensive freight services out at the airport if need be. should be alright though, so long as i can find a bix that fits my bloody monster of a bike and all the assorted junk i'm taking.

    might call ahead to make sure that they'll accept the bike as apparently the planes out of hobart aren't the largest. either way should be ok.

  19. #19
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    also, been reading a few of the tassie journals, was checking to see if there was anybody i might expect to bump into. doesn't look like it on there though i'd imagine at the moment the place would still have quite a few folks traipsing about. weather doesn't look that crash hot but that was to be expected.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by clipperton View Post
    cheers cave. went with virgin, have used them before and they've got a great policy for bikes. i guess that since i'm only flying for the way home i can send stuff by one of those heinously expensive freight services out at the airport if need be. should be alright though, so long as i can find a bix that fits my bloody monster of a bike and all the assorted junk i'm taking.

    might call ahead to make sure that they'll accept the bike as apparently the planes out of hobart aren't the largest. either way should be ok.
    You'll be fine with Virgin. The planes that fly into Devonport are smaller, but the planes into Hobart and Launceston are all OK for bike carriage. Virgin are by far the most bike friendly. Machka flew from Sydney to Melbourne via them. Their luggage policy is brilliant.

    If you are looking for a bike box, check out McBains Cycles in Hobart (ask for Kate or Ben, if they are both still there and say I sent you). Otherwise, try Bike Ride, and then maybe Applebys, but don't expect much from them as the greedist dealer in town. Whichever place you try, if your bike is big, let them know you need a big box. Otherwise, try at the airport... often there are boxes left there from inward bound cycle-tourists and you pick one up from Virgin for nothing. Or you can go a new one, which is humungous and capable of taking the biggest single bike.

    You'll enjoy it. The distances aren't too great between towns, but the terrain can sometimes be challenging. You've got some passes into the North-East of the state to Scottsdale and afterwards towards St Helens. Remember to stop and take pictures.

    And no, you can't get from Freycinet across to Swansea without retracing your route back to the Tasman Highway. There used to be a dinghy ferry across the small strait to Dolphin Sands, but I think like many things, public liability insurance issues made it unviable.

    If you do choose to go the route from Richmond to Hobart via Brighton and Bridgewater, keep and eye out on the Tea Tree Road for the ramshackle house that has a modern residence built on to the back of it! If you like quirky things, it could be the highlight of the ride (although some might say the entire tour in Tasmania is quirky enough as it is).
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  21. #21
    Slowpoach
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    Virgin are great with bikes, you won't have a problem. They sell really big bike boxes at the terminal, $14 in 2006. If you box the bike in Hobart you might be able to find one for free at a bike shop (with packing materials inside if you're lucky) but that means you need to (a) find one and (b) fit everything in the smaller box and (c) either be 1st on the airport shuttle, or get a station wagon or maxi taxi.

    The shuttle might also take an unboxed bike if you call ahead and let them know.

    There's plenty of posts on gear and cooking and camping techniques here, but most have a US focus. Have you got most of the stuff you need? If you're doing this for the 1st time another good site is www.bushwalking.org.au/FAQ which has lots of opinions on equipment and techniques. It has some good commentaries on going lightweight which will be very, very useful in Tassie especially as you need to consider the weather.

    You won't need to carry a stove or cooking gear if you don't want to, but I like to at least be able to make a cup of tea or noodles if it is cold. There are plenty of towns along your route but in the 1st few days in the hills and from Launceston to the east coast you might not be in one with an open shop or pub at night. Depends how the timing works out.

  22. #22
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    thanks again for all the tips.

    while this is my first time trying to camp i kinda bought up before the last trip so i've got a nice trangia and have already hit up a supermarket for noodles and a few freeze-dried pastas while i reckon stir through pestos and maybe the odd steak where bbq facilities are available should do me. might grab some tinned spag and powdered soup as well. odds on by about day 3 i'll be staying in motels and getting pub counter meals twice a day.

    had a look at the bushwalking site and i think i'm ok.

    did 3 weeks around new zealand ok and this time round i'm taking front panniers as well which should hopefull help me in moving the load up hills. not planning on taking much extra than nz either (though i'm sure that will change as i start packing!).

  23. #23
    Slowpoach
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    odds on by about day 3 i'll be staying in motels and getting pub counter meals twice a day.
    Yeah, that's what I meant, a full Trangia storm cooker setup is pretty bulky and heavy.

  24. #24
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    dunno if mine is a storm but it's ceratinly larger than the mig size ones - probably about 20cm diameter.

    no matter, i've kept the kms up to a reasonable level since i got back (probably about 300kms per week or so) so the extra weight shouldn't be what forces me indoors, it'll just be my general softness.

  25. #25
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clipperton View Post
    did 3 weeks around new zealand ok and this time round i'm taking front panniers as well which should hopefull help me in moving the load up hills. not planning on taking much extra than nz either (though i'm sure that will change as i start packing!).
    Having toured both in the past, I can safely say that whatever worked in New Zealand will work in Tasmania.

    As others have said, Coles Bay and Maria Island are definitely worth a visit. If you get toward the end with a bit of spare time in the bank, and don't mind some dirt roads, consider following the coast road south of Orford to Marion Bay, from where you could either detour down to the Tasman Peninsula (definitely worth seeing), and/or follow the scenic route back toward Sorell through Primrose Sands and Dodges Ferry. Much prettier than the main road IMO.
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