Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Tasmania 2018 - Day 9


Tasmania Day 4

We were awoken by a knock on the door, it was still dark. I answered and Doug said its time to go. The thick curtains don't let any light into the room and it was almost 9am. Shit we both had a quick shower and got ready to roll out. I was feeling a little seedy this morning and tired, a sign of a good nightout. Bruce had left us early this morning to meet his wife for a few days before meeting us back at the ship in Devonport on Sunday, so that left just five of us now.

Flyboy gave us the pro tip on somewhere nearby to get some breakfast, to which we accidentally stumbled upon whilst we were looking for something else. Thanks bro the Dome in Sandybay had a fantastic breakfast and not too expensive.

After that we topped up the fuel tanks and made our way up to Mt Wellington on the Huon Road. Just before the turn off up the mountain there was a car rolled onto its side blocking our side of the road. I stopped to check if every one was ok. Two young guys probably backpacking, both with sheepish looks on their faces, but both were ok. Looks like it only happen within the last 5 minutes.

The road to the top was a lot rougher than I remember it being and there was quite a bit of traffic on the way up today. It's a very narrow road that winds its way to the top where there is a large car park with views all over Hobart and much of the Island.

R1 above the clouds

It's selfie time

The Pinnacle is only 1270m high but this mountain can quite often be covered in snow, it's even been known to snow up there in summer. Hobart is about the same latitude as Christchurch so it's quite a long way south. We climbed up on to the Peak of the mountain and Doug got this cool shot of us.

Band of Brothers


The Pinnacle

On the way back down I wanted to stop and take a picture on the road going down, similar to the picture my brother took some 15 years earlier. They aren't exactly the same but its pretty close with out planning it, even the conditions looked the same with low cloud.

2015 R1 and me overlooking Hobart - 2018
2000 R1 and me overlooking Hobart - 2003

Coming back down the mountain now when we got to the bottom the Police had blocked to road to remove the car that was rolled over. The fire brigade were hosing down the road, we only waited 3-4 minutes before we got through. We headed out through Hobart and out the other side towards New Norfolk. Somehow I was in the lead again as we rode out the Lyell Highway.

I was following the signs to Strahan as there would be a turn off somewhere soon to Strathgordon. We passed a couple of signs saying National Park, I didn't know where or what that was so I continued on and we got to the town of Ouse, Doug said lets get some coffee. There didn't seem to be be much in this town, but I had that funny feeling in the back of my head that something was wrong. My spidey sense was tingling.

Whipping out my phone and checking the map I saw that we had gone past the turn off. 

"How is that possible" I said to Doug, "Did you see any signs saying Strathgordon?" 
"Nope" he offered, he didn't either. I hadn't bothered to check the road number which was the B61. It was the one that was sign posted National Park and we had missed both turn offs to it. Lucky for us Ouse was only 8km past the last turn off so we turned around and headed back. 

This little navigation error reminded me of the problems we had in New Zealand last year, with poor signage. Someone yelled out "Who's navigating here?" To which both me and Doug said "Not me". I may have been riding at the front, but it doesn't mean I was the leader. He was sitting behind me.

As it turned out we came down the Ellendale road which was a fantastic piece of road, with lots of sweeping bends over hills and a smattering of twisties thrown in here and there. We crossed the Derwent River here again, the surface of the water was almost a mirror finish.

We stopped in Westerway for fuel and one of the worst coffee's I had in years. It was just an instant coffee from a packet. Pro tip: Don't buy coffee from Westerway roadhouse it's shit. It's about 105km from here to Gordon dam, so that's a 210km round trip so if your planning on coming this way make sure you fill up and your bike is capable of this distance, VTR rides be warned.

We stopped of at the National Park Hotel which we are staying at tonight. It's really just a little pub in the middle of nowhere. We got our rooms sorted and then took our luggage off the bikes so we would have a better ride. It was about 2:40pm by the time we set of for the Gordon River Dam.

Most of the road along here for the first 60km of this road was sweeping corners with some tighter stuff thrown in through dense forest that came right up to the side of the road. Speeds weren't that fast and there was always the presence of road kill. The first 40km of the road was quite rough as well and could do with some resurfacing, but the cost probably outweighs the amount of people using it. 

It was one of those roads that really put me on edge with most bends not sign posted, not knowing what was going to come up next, and whether or not something may jump out suddenly. 

It took about 45 minutes to travel that 60kms when the road suddenly opened up with huge views of mountains and lakes and rolling plains.We stopped a few times along he to take in the views and some photo's. As the road opened up the speeds increased as well.

Riding along this section I started to enjoy the road a lot more and it was a lot smoother as well. Speeds increased along this section as well. We come alongside a large lake, Lake Pedder. Well what I thought was large. As it turns out is was just a small inlet to the lake that actually sat behind the hill which was 100's times the size of the bit we could see.

Lake Pedder

We continued on into Strathgordon which took about another 20mins so all up about an hour to get the 82kms. There isn't really much there at all, a motel and a couple of houses was about it. There was a little cabana on the side of the road with the remains of a tree trunk underneath. 

It was a Huon Pine that was salvaged in 1975. On the bottom of the trunk was a plaque. The CSIRO had determined that the age of the tree at the time it was cut down it was 2200 years old and was 8 metres at it girth. That is one big tree, I wonder how tall it would have been.

From here it was only a short run up to the dam wall about 12 km's or so. It was a roller coaster ride along between the rugged hills and lakes. The road surface along here deteriorated a bit compared to the last section, I touched the road surface with my hand and the rocks on the road were very sharp, that's why the tyres are wearing fast. The road was also quite bumpy the last 12kms to the dam. 

As you come into the Dam on the right hand side and below the road is the Gordon hydro electric Power Station, a few corners on you come to the end of the road at the Dam itself. 

Book Me

Just as we arrived at the end of the road I saw a helicopter fly over head and land on the top of the mountain just above us, it looked like a rescue helicopter. About 10 minutes later it flew off again to the west. The views over the dam were spectacular to say the least. We didn't walk down over the wall, we could have but didn't really have time for that it was after 4pm already. No one wanted to be riding back on this road through the tree's getting close to dusk.

Gordon River Dam
The Gordon River Dam was built back in 1974 for the purpose of generating hydroelectric power. The dam is a double curvature concrete arch dam 140m tall and is the largest in Tasmania and fifth largest in Australia. Lake Gordon is the largest lake in Australia holding 12 million megalitres. A impressive sight indeed. If you come to Tassie make sure you don't miss this, the place is stunningly beautiful.

Dam Selfie

Here's a video of the road to the Gordon River Dam. Enjoy.

It's a dead end road this one so we turned around and made our way back. On the ride back we didn't stop for photo's and now we had a bit of an idea of the road condition and any surprise decreasing radius corners so we could ride it a little quicker.

The last 40km's of road back out to National Park was pretty rough as I'd mentioned earlier and now I was getting tired and I was getting a pounding. I'd slowed down a little near the end because it was starting to hurt a bit as the others disappeared ahead. We didn't get back to the pub until about 5:30pm, just as I pulled into the car park I saw a cute girl behind a car out of view from the pub but in full view of me. She was standing there in her bra and Thong hurriedly getting dressed. I thought I was going to trowel into the parked cars and bikes as I came into the carpark a little hot and then couldn't comprehend braking whilst checking out the cute girl in her underpants. The things you see when on holidays in the country.

Getting back to my room I was rooted and just lay on the bed for about 15 minutes in my gear before I could get up and get ready to go have a beer. This is the only failing riding a sportsbike, on rough roads they tend to give you a hammering especially when you are 9 days into a ride. My ass was sore but nothing 10 beers couldn't fix.

Beers and Bikes

Surprisingly the pub had quite a few people in for a friday night considering it was in the middle of bum fuck nowhere. There wasn't much around for miles in any direction. Look like a lot of locals had come out as well as a few tourist that are making their way around tassie.

We sat outside near the bikes and had beers whilst talking about the trip it was a great way to unwind after today's ride and spectacular scenery. Someone pointed out my chain was loose, and on inspection it was pretty loose. It wasn't loose when I left home, I checked it. Nothing I can do without any tools, but it wasn't too bad.

On the dinner menu they had a meal called the Meat Mountain. Stu manned up for the big challenge. To eat the Meat Mountain. When it came out  that's all it was, a mountain of meat and chips, no salad in sight. He smile with great delight at finishing off the meat mountain.

It wasn't as late a night as the previous night as most of us were pretty buggered from the night before and the big ride today but we did enjoy a few drinks before retiring for the night..

Today's Map Reference


  1. sORE ASS MY ASS....that rd to the dam was in pretty good nick i recon..then again i am on the MT

  2. See that "Maydena" near the time flag? That is the new hot, go to spot for MTBing in OZ. I wonder if I could combine motorized and non-motorized 2 wheel fun into one trip....?
    Good write up powder puff. ;)

  3. Some wow photos of the Pinnacle Steve, very impressive view, I must get there.

    1. We were pretty lucky with the weather on Mt Wellington, I've been up there before and it was just thick fog. The views are spectacular over Hobart. You'd love it.

  4. Nice job matching the photo from 2003. The views from up there were pretty stunning. Sound like you had a pretty good view rolling into the pub too.

    You can't tell me there weren't all kinds of jokes about Stu gobbling a "meat mountain" though.

    1. Not sure which was the better view, from the mountain top or in the carpark lol.
      There may have been the odd joke or two thrown out there.

  5. Damn those dam pics are cool. More great riding by the sound of things. Time for you to get a Tenere...

    1. That is what I keep telling him Andrew. Never listens to me though ;)

    2. Plenty of time for a teneree yet.