Blog 221 Goodbye Tassie 31st March 2012

Please note the dates (on the titles) of these blogs. These are still adventures that happened pre the accident of 27th April 2012. We are trying to get up to date but Karen still has a full on physio regime and Kev is being her carer. We are also very busy getting a presentation ready for the V twin rally in the UK and designing new calendars.

Please bear with us we are doing our best, at least we have something for you to read while Karen recuperates in Melbourne.

Blog 221 Goodbye Tassie 31st March 2012

It was our last full day in Tasmania, our ferry was heading back to the mainland the next morning, with that in mind we had arranged to stay with Phil and Karen for the night but to get there we had a lot of ground to cover. Fortunately for us it was on some of Tasmania’s finest twisty mountain roads but we still had to crack on especially as we wanted to stop for the scenic bits.

The early start gave us time to detour to St Columbia falls. The mist was still rising off the valley floor as we rode through the Pyengana valley and past the pub in the paddock. The pub has been here in the paddock for ages. Mrs Terry the midwife in the valley in the late 1800′s led by example and had fifteen children. Her six sons in true Aussie spirit were however more interested in drinking beer than farming so they simply licensed their homestead and in 1900 St Columbia falls hotel now known as the pub in the Paddock was born. They also turned their barn into a dance hall and picture theatre for Saturday nights but they had to chase out the pigs before the dances could commence as they lived under the floorboards.

St Columbia Falls are claimed to be the highest falls in Tasmania with a continuous flow of water coming from the mountains 4,200 hectare catchment area flowing down the 90metre drop. It was a lovely walk through the man ferns (what a great name) in the Sassafras and Myrtle rainforest. The trees were alive with lichen growing on their branches due to the moist atmosphere.

We headed towards Derby passing a Guzzi heading in the other direction going hell for leather that looked very much like our friends Martin and Natalie. We considered finding somewhere to turn round but felt that they would probably be in Binalong by the time we caught up with them. (he used to be a despatch rider in London).

Stopping outside the very photogenic Derby bank for a photo they screeched up alongside. “Blimey why didn’t you turn round, we had to ride miles to catch up”  We chatted for a while until Martin said “we have to be going we are heading to Strahan for some oysters before we catch tonight’s ferry”  And we thought we were cutting it fine to catch the ferry! If you think of Tasmania as a clock face. Devonport and the ferry is 12 O’clock, Derby is 1 O’clock and Strahan is at 9 O’clock i.e they were going the long way round the island. Tasmania has some of the finest biking roads in the whole of Australia, mountain routes full of twists and turns, it took us a day alone leaving Strahan through Queenstown to the relatively close Derwent Bridge, mind you we are easily distracted and stop for lots of photos.

It had already been an awesome ride to get this far but Martin said we were still in for a treat. There is a very simple way of life here in the mountainous North East regions which are still remote as the first photo shows. When we arrived in Scottsdale the opposite was true, I have no idea what the space age building was.

We had been very lucky with the weather all throughout our visit to Tassie only having about three full on rainy days in a month but today was certainly making up for it. We spotted this very welcome sheltered spot for lunch.

A lot of places in Australia have a giant banana, lobster, pineapple etc. to advertise their town. In Scottsdale they have a giant thumb courtesy of Joshie Janoschka, such was his sense of humour that when a giant tree fell across his property instead of cutting it for firewood he carved the giant thumb delighting in people stopping to photograph it. The big thumb was his gift to the district and now marks the boundary to the town. Further out of town we saw this collection of people carved into the stump by the entrance to this property. It seems Joshie has influenced the townsfolk. The guy in the first picture runs a site called wish you were here and stopped to take a picture and say hi.

Martin was quite right and even in the rain the next pass was spectacular we did stop at this viewpoint advertising the glorious north-east and luckily it showed us what the view should be. Here’s our version.

From here we high tailed it through some more of Tassie’s awesome biking roads to Launceston and Cataract Gorge, unusual in its close proximity to the town only 15mins walk away.

Cataract gorge is still a beautiful natural paradise despite the fact that it was developed as a Victorian resort in 1890. The Gorge extends from the mouth of the South Esk River at Kings Bridge, winding its way to the Trevallyn hydro electric dam 5km upstream. The Victorian built pathway still follows along the banks of the Tamar River and leads into the Gorge.

The Alexander suspension bridge traverses the gorge to allow access to the 50m long swimming pool and picnic lawns which have been subject to many a flood. In contrast Cliff Gardens on the shady northern side is a Victorian garden with a wilderness of ferns and exotic plants.

After a good look around we had to push on and headed out choosing the more scenic route along the Tamar river through Exeter and back through farming country to Ulverstone, the weather improved and the sun came out for us .

It was good of Phil and Karen to put us up again as they were still in the middle of packing up to move house and Karen had to un-bury the spare bed. Kev and Phil were soon in the shed and they balanced and set up the carbs while they were there. We celebrated our last night in Tassie with the highly recommended local fish and chips and boy were they good.

In true comic fashion we had inadvertently booked our ferry the night when the clocks went backwards /forwards but we got it right and joined the queue of people, some of whom had already been here an hour longer than they needed to be. It gave us the chance to meet up with the lovely Alicia also a world traveller, she is even more petite than me which makes a change. We exchanged photos and stories and wished each other luck, she was leaving Australia in a few weeks for Alaska so we may meet again in South America. After watching Devonport and Tassie become a small speck on the horizon we used the remaining time on the ferry to attempt to catch up with the blogs and computer stuff. During our time in Tasmania we had confirmed that our bike would be shipped out of Melbourne (7th May) and would take 60days to reach Santiago in South America. This meant we now needed to confirm our flights to Thailand (10th May), Vietnam to UK(19th June) and UK to Santiago(7th July) .

Ken was there to meet us off the ferry and take us back to his place where we enjoyed Chinese and the pleasure of his company once more, the first time we met was back at the Bright Travel Film Festival. We were really grateful for a guided ride home for the night as it was late and we were tired.

Ken was good company and we promised to keep in touch now that we knew we were coming back to Melbourne to ship to South America.


Next up – Back on the mainland should we head East or West ?


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