Cycling For ‘Softies’ In Tasmania

I couldn’t understand why my bike was stopping on a steep decline. Had the brakes developed a mind of their own?  Was the earth’s gravitational force shifting?  Maybe I was being sucked into another time through an invisible wormhole?

After my imagination stopped running away with itself, I discovered a perfectly logical explanation.

I was getting an introduction to the the roaring forties – a gale force wind that rips around the Earth in latitudes between 40 and 50 degrees – and Tasmania lies smack in the path of it.

Along with other factoids, I should thank that wind for the cleanest air in the Southern Hemisphere (measured by the Bureau of Meteorology)

The wind could be a good friend on long climbs, but having to put more effort into the descent was a new and comical experience for me. It was an early lesson in my bike adventuring that nothing is easy if you catch nature in a mischievous mood.

I planned a trip to Tasmania after stories from a couple of tour-cycling buddies made me hungry for a taste of self-sufficient bike adventuring.

While Googling the best routes for my great adventure, hotel searches soon replaced a NASA level study of lightweight tents. I was completely thrown off track by a company offering to coordinate the whole journey and provide a personal luggage-shifter, who took care of everything for me sans pushing the pedals.

If you’re not afraid of hills and headwinds, this five-day 450-kilometre Launceston to Hobart self-guided route is a great way to try out multi-day cycling while taking in Tasmania’s unspoilt coastline, aqua waters, ancient rain forests and tiny villages at your own pace.

I bathed my aching butt in spas, gorged my face on fine food (without putting on an ounce of weight) and collapsed every evening on a luxury mattress. It was a welcome end to a hard day’s work in the not-so-softie saddle

Oh – and it’s a good job that imaginary windy wormhole didn’t suck me back into a time when Port Arthur was open for business. Stealing a potato was one inmate’s ‘crime’.

Those juvenile nocturnal apple-scrumping crimes of mine could’ve quite easily landed me a one-way ticket on a very long boat journey to the clinker.

Beautiful and Eerie: Port Arthur Prison

Beautiful and Eerie: Port Arthur Prison



Have you done any tour cycling? Where would you recommend?


Bay of Fires

Bay of Fires

 Tassie East Coast Highlights.

  • Hike the pink granite mountains of Freycinet Bay National Park to Wineglass Bay, a white sand crescent-shaped beach rated as one of the world’s best in Lonely Planet.
  • The Bay of Fires named because the orange and yellow Lichen covered rocks reflect of f the white beaches and azure blue waters. It’s a photographers dream at sunset.
  • Coles bay is a quaint, got-it-all-activity beauty spot. Book early for peak season stays.
  • Visit a wildlife rescue centre. They’re unfunded and need support. You’ll see the nocturnal Tassie devils which are seriously threatened by a mysterious facial tumour disease.
  • MONA Museum in Hobart is the talk of  the art world and Tasmanians. It holds the largest private art collection in Oz and is open to the public for $20. It’s not to be missed if you like really out there art. Adult content zones are clearly marked on a map.

Favourite Eats

The Banc, Swansea  Fabulous posh nosh from one of those slightly scary looking chefs.

Pasinis, Bicheno  Quirky cafe, great coffee, snacks and a bit more.

The Drunken Admiral, Hobart  Gastro pub kinda stuff.

More info at:  Discover Tasmania

Disclosure:  I write about stuff I like, especially if I think others might enjoy it too. I paid the full advertised rate with Cycling Tours for this trip.





Journalist. Travel writer. Roughty-toughty adventurer. Also known as "The Trail Tart" Addicted to two-wheeled escapades and exploring on my mountain bike.

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10 Responses to Cycling For ‘Softies’ In Tasmania

  1. Gus March 18, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    Not done multi day cycle but always fancied it. What bike did you use.

    • Tracey March 26, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

      HI Gus, I hired Cannondale touring bike as part of the supported tour. When I go unsupported I’ll use my mountain bike with a trailer or panniers. There are pros and cons to both ways. It really depends on the length of trip and how remote it is. If you start with an on road shorter trip with accommodation you could use any type of bike.

  2. Nomadic Samuel March 23, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    This looks like it would have been a very scenic journey!

    • Tracey March 26, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

      Hi Samuel, I think Tassie is underrated on the whole. We would go back in a blink and recommend it if you haven’t been there yet. We want to do the Overland track next time. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Red Nomad OZ April 3, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    My only recent foray into the world of cycling was on the magnificent Lord Howe Island … Would love to ‘do’ Tassie properly one day!

    Would also love it if you’d link up this Tassie story to my’ Australian Islands’ post!!! But only if you want to …

  4. Tracey April 12, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    HI Red, Heard so much about Lord Howe Island. Have to go soon. Would love to link up this post. Thanks.

  5. Anita Mac December 20, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

    I have yet to cycle Tasmania, but Australia’s Great Ocean Road is amazing! It was easy enough to do self supported … just book rooms in advance if going during the busy season. We carried minimal gear, ate in restaurants and slept in hotels. The views were amazing – no wonder the WHO names the route one of the great coastal roads in the world!
    Anita Mac recently posted..Turtle Cruise with Silver Moon…the most memorable day in BarbadosMy Profile

  6. Tracey December 24, 2012 at 2:03 am #

    Thanks Anita – i’m planning to cycle the ocean road sometime in 2013. Like the idea of being rewarded with a spectacular trip without having to lug too much gear.
    Tracey recently posted..Cycling the Height of Everest: The MovieMy Profile

  7. Sarah November 17, 2017 at 6:52 pm #

    You should not miss MONA Museum if you visit Tasmania. One of the prides of Tasmania.
    Sarah recently posted..4 Amazing Coastal Parks to Visit Near Hobart in Your CampervanMy Profile

    • Tracey June 4, 2018 at 6:38 pm #

      I agree Sarah – I did go to MONA on this trip and told everyone since it’s a must-do 🙂

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