“There are only three types of snakes in Tasmania and all are poisonous. The spiders in Tasmania are horrendous. Look out for the Jack Jumper ant – more deaths occur from these little buggers than sharks and snakes combined”
This is what several New Zealanders warned us about when we decided to head to Tasmania. That and the weather. Which is kind of ironic – New Zealanders warning that the weather can be unpredictable.
We flew to Hobart from Christchurch via Melbourne. We had to check our carryon luggage because our tent stakes were “too spikey, even the blunt end” – a minor annoyance which the airline did not charge us for – thankfully. We found an inconspicuous corner and spent a couple of hours in the airport putting our bikes together. We were worried that security might kick us out or tell us to dispose of our own boxes or something until we met the security guard who was friendly, helpful and inquisitive about our journey. He even arranged to dispose of the bike boxes for us. Welcome to Tasmania!
We stayed with a wonderful family for two nights in Hobart and were immediately whisked away to a wood fired pizza party at a local bike builder’s home in the hills west of Hobart. If you need any help with your bike – that’s the place to go! The car ride up to their place was made just a bit slower by all the wallabies wanting to cross the road at night. There was a brief moment when we turned off onto the dirt roads where we thought – hey, our hosts could just drop us off and we’d be lost and no one would know where we are… but, no need to worry, our hosts were fabulous – more new friends across the globe.
From Hobart we rode down the coast to Oyster Cove – a lovely ride along the undulating hills down past Tinderbox beach and over Old Station Road which ended with a fun downhill to the farm where we stayed the night. Another lovely straw bale and mud home with a composting toilet, a hobby farm and a fun tent platform for guests in the “back 40”. We were provided a lovely dinner, rooster stew made from fresh ingredients from the farm. Our walk back to the tent included watching all the wallabies running from our headlamps.
From Oyster Cove we rode to Kettering to catch the ferry over to Bruny Island. We chatted with an Australian family on the ferry journey across the Great Bay – they have taken a year out to explore Australia with their young kids, five and nine years of age. Mom is home schooling the kids, incorporating much of their travels into the curriculum.
Bruny Island has two major land masses connected by a thin strip of sand called the neck. At 16 km from the ferry terminal we happened upon “Get Shucked” an oyster farm and restaurant – we had to stop. Neither of us are oyster lovers – but we were there and they were not going to get any fresher – we wimped out a bit and ordered cooked oysters – they were lovely! We also had a Tasmanian ginger beer with chili that was fantastic.
We rode on the traffic free roads, undulating along the center of the island, across the hard packed dirt path along the isthmus and over to Adventure Bay. We have found the dirt roads in Tasmania to be almost as good quality as a paved road in many other countries we have visited. The road on the neck had just been graded – and sprayed – so it was very flat but a little muddy. The only issue was when a logging truck went by that sprayed us both with a fine mist of mud.
Adventure Bay is beautiful with its white sand beaches. We stayed on a small farm 0.5 km up a steep dirt road directly above Adventure Bay. We had our own small cabin and again, a lovely meal cooked by our host using all fresh ingredients from the farm. Our host was a most interesting man with a ton of stories of bike touring and travels – he rode a recumbent bike from Adelaide to Darwin – all the way across Australia. Pretty impressive. He is also a mighty fine fiddler.
We stayed in Adventure Bay two nights and had another fabulous day of riding on the traffic free roads back up to the ferry terminal.
On the way back we stopped at the penguin rookery and lookout – the weather was just perfect for fabulous views – but the penguins were not out during the day. Tasmania in one of the few locations where the fairy or small penguins are found. We also stopped at the Bruny Island Cheese Company – where we were treated to a fantastic cheese tasting with fresh sour dough bread. We spent perhaps two minutes too long tasting cheese as when we dropped down the road to the ferry terminal the boat was just pulling away. No worries, we enjoyed a few hours relaxing in the sun drinking ginger beer.
No snakes yet, one house spider easily removed by Jay and no jumping ants – just beautiful scenery and friendly, helpful and kind people and the weather remained mostly fine weather.
Welcome to Tasmania!