Tassie Cycle Tour- Days 7- 9 – Across the top!

This post follows on from my previous posts about Tasmania and it may be worth reading those posts first, alternatively enjoy!

Waking up at Friendly beaches on the east coast of Tasmania is a lovely experience. Before packing up we made an exciting breakfast of museli and wandered down to the beaches. As I have said before the coves at Friendly Beaches are amazing, and eating breakfast with clear water, white sand and red rocks can only lead to happiness! Eventually we got packed up (it was actually pretty early for us) and started riding for the day.

Day 7: Friendly Beaches to Weldborough – 65km

We started by tracking back into St Helens, travelling against the flow of recreational cyclists, and rode into town in time to pick up some fresh food from the markets. All stocked up we said our last good byes to the coast and rode up hill into the already strengthening headwind which would become our company for the rest of our trip. Fortunately the road levelled out and became a nice undulating road that followed ridge lines and valleys inland towards our penultimate destination for that day, Weldborough Pass, which would be he highest point on our east coast adventure. On the way we passed signs indicating that the pass would be one lane only road works were in progress but with the only option requiring many tens of kilometres more riding we kept going.

A lunch time we stopped at Halls Falls which are a series of small waterfalls which were previously redirected by in miners working this area around the turn of he centuary. Amazingly many of the diversions were still in place and we followed the man made water course along the side of the hill for almost a kilometre before it petered out.

From here we rode on towards our loft goal and the constant gradients, headwinds and warm temperature out of the wind took its toll. However we persevered and after nearly 20km of riding in granny-gear we reached the summit of Weldborough Pass (yes the Pass has a conveniently located summit) and took time to enjoy the knowledge we had climbed from sea level to 1680m that day, and that the ups and downs in the road probably added a lot more elevation change to that figure. To make matters even better Clare’s sisters had level a beer for her at the top so things were looking up!

The ride down the other side of the pass was fast and cold. A few minutes after starting out decent we stopped at a rainforest walk just off the side of the road and were immediately surrounded by ancient groves of Myrtle Beech and a rainforest community only found in Tasmania. The ancient trees are unlike anything else in Australia and their gnarled limbs are testament to how they have survived.

This ancient myrtle is a species remanent from Gondwanna forests that once covered Australia.

Riding on we stopped while an Echidna removed itself from the road and then finally made it to Weldborough Pub, the most welcome campsite and hot showers of the trip. For anyone going to Tasmania make sure you stop at the Weldborough Pub and make the most of the hospitality and the great selection of Tasmanian beverages including the Tasmanian Chilli Brewing Company (my favourite soft drinks in the world).

Day 8: Weldborough to Scottsdale – 59km

Something you need to know about riding across the top of Tasmania is that there are hills. Not long big hills, but those repetitive small hills that make riding a bike frustrating and tiring. Today started with the promise of lots of down hill, but once we reached the valley floor it would be a slow and windy day. To break up the day we took every opportunity we could to explore the side trips on offer. The first of these was the Moorina  cemetery were we looked at the Buddhist funeral memorial and met some locals who told us about all the stops we would take that afternoon. Uphill and much frustration later we were riding along hills smothered with dairy pastures and opium farms.

We eventually arrived in Derby were we were welcomed by the Berri Cafe which sold dairy-free cake! Derby was a pretty town with lots of old buildings including the old school house and post office, but as far as we could tell its claim to fame was as a stop for motorcyclists who all waved at us as they rocketed past at high speed. Not far out of Derby we followed signs to the Chinese Miners Heritage Trail, which was a private museum/memorial to the lives of Chinese miners who has pioneered gold and tin mining in the region. The walk wound through the remanents of old mining leases and mining works where the earthworks of manual labour were still evident. There was also a hut filled with great information about the lives of miners in the region.

The Chinese Miners Heritage Trail was a beautiful outdoor museum to the lives of Chinese miners in northern Tasmania

The final rest stop of the day was at Legerwood where we ate lunch under the shelter of the disused railway station and admired the war memorial, which consists of carved tree trunks. The carved trunks are those of the original memorial trees which were controversially cut down for safety reasons.

The carved trees of the Legerwood War Memorial.

Our day ended at a free campsite in Scottsdale. We made lots of friends there including an Aussie who was riding to Hobart for a friends wedding and a Frenchman who had arrived in Australia and then bough everything for his trip in Kmart.

Day 9: Scottsdale to Launceston – 69km

This was the day we discovered what the last day of the leg of any cycle tour is inevitably like. Knowing that there will be nice food and a bed at the day has an amazing ability to make the day pass slowly and miserably and today was no exception with Clare and I taking turns to be grumpy. The ride into Launceston is really very nice with lots of pretty scenery, and Lilydale Falls to look forward to, but the sky was grey and the head wind was relentless so we passed on taking side trips to places that had always been on our itinerary and had the sole goal of getting to town.

Updated list of Rides

So as I sit here and consider what rides I want to do, and how I am going to ride across Western NSW I have updated my list of rides to do over the coming months and years.

Number of Rides 37
Rides Completed 6
Ride Remaining 31
Name State Country Completed
Hunter Valley NSW AUS Done
Snowy Mountains NSW AUS
Sunshine Coast and Hinerland QLD AUS  Done
Daintree and Cape York QLD AUS
Mawson Trail SA AUS
Kangaroo Island SA AUS Done
Cycling Around Tasmania TAS AUS Done
Bay of Fires TAS AUS Done
Tasmania Trail TAS AUS
Around the Bay VIC AUS Done
Great Ocean Rd VIC AUS
Alpine Classic VIC AUS
3 Peaks Challenge VIC AUS
Murray to Mountains Rail Trail VIC AUS
Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail VIC AUS
Five Dams Challenge WA AUS
Rottnest Island WA AUS
Munda Biddi Trail WA AUS
Nullarbor Plain WA & SA AUS
Bicentennial National Trail QLD to VIC AUS Done (Well one day)
South Island NZ NZ
North Island NZ NZ
Trans-Canada Cycle Tour Canada
North to South United Kingdom UK
Rhine River Cycleway Europe
The Pyrenees France
Loire Valley France
Etape du Tour France
Paris-Brest-Paris France
Paris Roubaix Cyclosportif France
Iceland Iceland
Finland Finland
Camino de Santiago Spain
Friendship Highway Tibet and Nepal
Pacific West Coast USA
Route 66 USA

Brisbane to Adelaide – maybe with Friends?

So as you know I don’t currently have a job I’ve had the realisation that I can apply for jobs from any computer anywhere I am. So I started thinking…

I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like

The idea I have had is to ride from Brisbane to Adelaide over a period of 2 -3 months, and to meet up with people along the way and if possible have them join in for a few days.

The route I am considering includes so really exciting and iconic locations such as:

  • Waa Gorge
  • Mt Kaputar
  • The Warrumbungles
  • Macquarie Marshes Nature Reserve
  • Goobang National Park
  • Parkes Radio Telescope
  • Lake Cargelligo
  • Hillston (where my friend Gregor lives)
  • Balranald
  • Mallee Cliffs National Park
  • Mungo National Park (possibly)
  • Mildura
  • The Murray River to the mouth
  • Victor Harbour
  • Kangaroo Island
  • Adelaide

I am really looking forward to the ride, and would be happy for people to join me for as much or as little of the ride as they like. Even drop in if you are in the area.

I will keep everyone up to date when I am leaving and where I am. Post a comment or send me an email if you are interested in coming along and I will leave you with this thought…

Uluru Photos

So last week I spent the week in Alice Spring and did a trip out to Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon. I did a tour with Emu Run and I have to admit it was pretty awesome so I would recommend it if you are heading out there.

I might write up a full description later, but here are some photographic highlights.

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Long Weekend Cycle Tour – Rosewood – Lake Moogerah – Ipswich

It was a wet and windy weekend and all through the house chilly drafts filled every corner. The alarm stirred two sleepy figures who opened their eyes, mumbled a few words about how terrible it was and rolled over to go back to sleep. 
Ten minutes later one figure sat bolt upright and declared that it was time to go riding!

Our plans for the weekend we’re fairly simple. We would catch a train to Rosewood, run an undefined distance and following an undefined route as far as we could be bothered which would hopefully be Lake Moogerah. We would then turn around and come back if we had sufficient energy. Amazingly it worked out quite well and to plan, though that was never going to be hard.

Our route for the June long weekend cycle tour and the vertical profile. Click on the image for an interactive version.

So on Sunday morning we rode to the station and headed off to Rosewood with little or no plan, but a good supply of food and some shelter in case it all got to hard. One of the best things about Brisbane is that it is really easy and cheap to get out of it by public transport. From Rosewood we turned south along the Rosewood-Warrill View Rd into a head wind that made riding like riding on sand, every spin of the pedals was harder than the one before and progress was slow averaging only 16km/h.

Anyway the ride improved after a stop for hot chips in Rosevale and the afternoon saw us riding along the nicest road we’ve ridden. The road ran between Rosevale and Aratula and was well graded gravel winding up a beautiful wooded valley with a creek next to the road. If anyone is in the area take the time to ride it!

After a late lunch we rode the last 12 kilometres to Lake Moogerah Caravan Park which is situated right beside the lake. We didn’t take any photos because we were tired and it was far to nice to lie on the grass. Instead I have provided some photos from their website to entice you!

On Monday morning we packed up in record time and started heading north. With sore legs and hills to contend with he first few kilometres nearly made us weep, but once we crested the last hill it was downhill for kilometres with rapid descents and very little pedalling to be done. The joy on our faces going down the hill would have looked amazing, but it was good enough to declare it our second best ride (after the day before of course). To top it off we finished the morning riding at brilliant cafe in Kalbar called the Art Cafe Du Kalbar, you all know I get pretty excited about coffee but this place is up there with the best. It has arm chairs in the wind, with books and magazines discreetly placed on the table and is wonderful. Also they now know how to temper soy well after yours truly educated them as part of my quest to enlighten the masses.

After coffee we rode on into the rain and wind, stopping only to put on rain coats, overshoes and play with historic water pumps.

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Transit of Venus

Like all nerds I spent today trying to see the transit of Venus across the Sun. My early attempts from home proved futile so Gael (our French couchsurfer) and I cooked up an ingenious method of enhancing our viewing apparatus until we could see the transit! As with any engineering solution it included the bathroom mirror, a chair, the lid of a jigsaw puzzle and a map of Australia.


Okay, it wasn’t he most elegant solution but it worked, the extra distance gained by the mirror made the image of the Sun large enough o see Venus

The photo didn’t work out, but we could see the spot of Venus on the image of the Sun.

Brisbane Adventures #3

So after 6 weeks in Brisbane it seems like it is time for my second general update on what is going on and why I still seem to have no free time, even though I am unemployed. If you have suggestions on what I should be doing let me know, otherwise I’ll just keep enjoying the life of a leisure!

Volunteer Work

I thought that since I have to give at the moment I should give it. In my last update I talked about how I had been helping out with the National Parks Association of Queesland, and I am still doing a little bit here and there. Last week I started a new volunteer role with MS Queensland helping to get all the rider packs ready for their upcoming Brissie to the Bay charity ride. This ride is Queensland’s biggest charity bike ride with up to 5000 people partaking. The scary thing is that all of the ride packs for the event are packed by hand which takes up the staff’s time when there aren’t enough volunteers to help. For anyone who has ever take part in a charity bike ride, or any other charity activity I’d really like you to spare a thought for all the people who make these events happen.

Mountain Biking

I’ve finally started getting out on my mountain bike in the past few weeks. I’ve been riding with the people from the Gap Creek Trail Association a few times and have spent a bit more time helping to build trails, including a fairly sweet little berm and switchback section at Gap Creek.

One of the berms I helped build at Gap Creek mountain bike park. Continue reading