Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Tasmania 2022 Day#1 - Saving Tassie one pub at a time tour

I'd awoken early with only 5 hours sleep thanks to someone wanting to keep the bar open till 1am.  I thought we wouldn't have much time to get ready but it turned out not to be the case. The ship wasn't rocking so thought we've docked. Getting up on deck the sun hadn't come up yet and we we still offshore. The ocean was dead flat. We watched as the sun came up from behind the tip of Tasmania. Beautiful sight. 

Finally we were allowed to get back on the bikes and disembark the ship. First job was to pack our gear back on and unstrap the handle bars.

We stopped for a quick breakfast just off the boat. The food was lousy and the coffee was luke warm milk with a dash of coffee flavour. 2 mouthfuls and it went straight in the bin. We should have learnt from last time and made for a small town out of Devonport.

Flyboy had flown in 2 days before us and was hogging all of tassies best roads to himself. I couldn't have that now. I was exchanging messages with Flyboy and he was in Mole Creek nearby, I said we were heading to Deloraine to drop off our luggage and then ride. We headed to Railton, just as we came into railton the big Africa Twin blasted past the opposite way around the bend, a bit of a wave and we waited in town for him to catch up. We dumped our gear in at the Deloraine Hotel where we were staying for the next two nights and headed out for the Great Lakes.

Then we blasted up the Highlands lake road and stopped at the look out over the lake for a quick break and catch up. There was plenty of road kill on the way up to the lakes, dead wildlife every few hundred metres. It was an awesome day for riding the temps were in the 20's.

Great Lakes

Tuono's in Paradise?

It was a steep twisty decent after the lookout which opened up into sweepers and then straights. The boys on the faster machinery that didn't know where they were going pulled out ahead and straight past the Poatina turn off. We waited for about 10 minutes or so, messaged them and then continued on towards Poatina. Dave said the road to Bothwell was straight and boring. Heh heh....pays to know where you're going and not just blindly follow.

As we came down the side of the mountain towards Poatina the views out in front of us were spectacular. I pulled over as did Flyboy. I said to him "Is there a lookout up here, this is spectacular".
"Dunno" came the reply, then he looked around and saw a huge sign on the other side of the road that said lookout with a camera on it. D'oh we couldn't see the sign because we were so busy looking at the views. So up the dirt track we went to the look out, then were soon joined by Geoff and Scotty.

Stunning views from up here on a pristine clear day. There was a headrace tunnel here at the lookout, it allowed water to flow down from the great lakes through 6kms of tunnels down across the western tiers to Poatina Power station then  and out across the plains.

Found this diagram of the power stations here in this area on the Hydro Tasmania website. Great place for power generation.

Did I happen to mention how stunning the views were today. Oh yeah.

We dropped down the side of the western tiers and then had a brief look in at Poatina, nothing much there. It's an old Hydro community looks like something that hasn't changed since the 60's.

Poatina turn off looking back at the Western Tiers

As we came down into the farming lands below the mountains we crossed this interesting little tiered  irrigation channel, this is obviously the outlet from the power station. Amazing how it drops a couple of feet every 100 metres or so.

We stopped for some lunch at yet another bakery in Longford. The pies here were also exemplary, JJ bakery cafe in Longford, look them up when you are there. A few messages back and forth and the other guys were in Cressy about 10kms down the road. 

Scotty(Nigel) and his mates

Flyboy and I decided that we would go up Jacob's ladder today whilst the weather was great, as you never know what we will get in 2 days time. Geoff and Scotty got scared off by the small amount of dirt and returned to the pub in Deloraine. It was just on 1.30pm and it was only about 170kms return from Jacob's ladder. We came to ride tassie's roads not sit in the pub all day. We would be in the pub by 5pm.

Dave did a few poor navigation choices here and it felt like we were going around in circles popping up in the lower suburbs of Launceston before eventually coming into Evandale. There was this cool water tower to get a photo by at least.

We got to the turn off into Ben Lomond National park, where we were descended upon by bees' buzzing around our bikes. A quick pic and off we went again. This will be the first dirt riding I've done in over 20 years and up a steep hill as well. You might say I was a little nervous but also determined, these days I'm more Rusty Demon than Crusty Demon as I don't have much experience on dirt. At least I had the tyres for it and Dave has some video of me riding down at walking pace. I think a little old lady with a zimmer frame would have overtaken me down the mountain. Oh well better to take it easy than bust the bike or myself on day1.

The ride up through the forest was interesting. I was finding it difficult to stand and hold on to the bike. The tank was wide and slippery and the reach to the bars was a long way down and changing gears standing up was blowing my mind. I think I was spending $9.90 of my attention just trying to ride and control the bike let alone looking where I was going. Arriving in the bottom viewing area we were greeted with spectacular view above and below us, with rugged rocky peaks above and forest below. The road winds its way steeply here up to the top with switchback bends a bit like Stelvio pass in Italy, except that is paved and this is gravel.

We made the climb to the top, it was easier than I thought it would be but the last two switch backs at the top got a lot slippery than the one's below. I wouldn't ride my R1 up here on road tyres but the AT handled it pretty well. We arrived at the top carpark/lookout and took to the viewing platform to take in the sights.

Top carpark

Jacob's Ladder

There was a bit of haze in the sky from a bushfire/burn off in the forest on the other side of the valley. Still the views were superlative. Think I've run out of words to use.....

Hazy views

It was now 3.30pm and time to get going with about 85kms to get back to Deloraine Hotel we made our way down. I found it much easier and went faster on the trip down as I could hold onto the bike better going down the hill by pushing my legs against the tank. Still had a few slip and slides here and there but the tyres were handling this not much problems.

The ride back across from Ben Lomond is a fantastic hilly sweeping ride and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We arrive back at the pub around 5pm just in time for beers. They boys were already par-taking in the beery goodness. Dave mentioned he has done enough straight roads in Tassie, lets do some bends. Have an idea of where you want to go I say. My ride is not going to be the same as their ride on this trip. There will be much more gravel, those Tuonos wont like the gravel. But all good we will meet up at the end of the day for beers and tall stories.

Deloraine Hotel is highly recommended with new rooms and bathrooms $55 per night and fantastic meals.

Day 1 Map Reference


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Wayne, it was an awesome trip. I saw you guys were down in the snowys on the same weekend we were away.

  2. Some really nice photos there. Having a real camera and not a phone camera definitely makes a difference!

    1. Yeah the camera photos easily eclipse the phone photos hands down.

  3. Replies
    1. That dirt was good, even though I was a bit apprehensive about it. It's been a long, long time since I've ridden dirt.