Often compared in size, landscape and unfortunately weather, with the Republic of Ireland, Tasmania is a wonderful place to visit on a bicycle. All you need is three weeks, perhaps just two, and you can cycle along quiet bitumen roads most of the way around its meandering coastline.
It took me more 30 years of travelling to arrive in Tasmania with a bicycle. I’ve enjoyed countless hiking treks to national parks, places like Freycinet, Cradle Mountain and even the perils of the South-West, with its boat crossings and knee-deep muddy trails. It just didn’t occur to me to travel there with my bike, the hiking rail were so contagious.
With the TV advertisement’s promise of a sound night’s sleep and a speedy entry and exit on board the Spirit of Tasmania, Roz and I were looking forward to our overnight voyage to Devonport. But like many things in life, our ‘smooth’ embarkation didn’t quite go to plan. Glued to the seats of our car we dawdled monotonously in the queue waiting for our turn to have our baggage checked. Once on board and a few sips of white wine, things became a little more palatable, until our giddy walk to the recliner lounge above the ship’s cradling hull. Despite the incessant snoring and unconscious bouts of flatulence throughout the room, our recliner seats were at least more comfortable than our economy airfares to Europe earlier in the year.
|Murals in Railton|
Finally, something stirred; me. With little to do other than get moving, I followed the meandering Mersey River, along the B13 towards the Topiary town of Railton. Slightly more alive than Devonport, despite the site of its already-closed supermarket being up for sale, it had a wonderful bakery-café that made great coffee and food. There was also a boutique brewery just around the corner, which sold deliciously drinkable, dark beer.
Continuing gradually uphill along the Meander Valley Tourist Road, I soon reached Elizabeth Town, another Tasmanian sleepy hollow. Soon, you join the Bass Highway, which carries more speeding traffic than I’d encountered so far. Obviously, Tasmanians were waking up, but there was a nice wide verge for cyclists to at least feel they have their own ‘safe’ share of the road. Eleven kilometres further on was our overnight accommodation at Deloraine. Lively, yet historic and old-world, it was the taste of Tasmania we came here for.
Books by Mark Krieger:
‘High Spain Drifter’ is available on Amazon , Barnes and Noble, Booktopia and other online bookstores.
‘Lycra, Lattes and the Long Way Round’ is available on Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble, Kobo Books
Both books are also available at local bookshops on the Mornington Peninsula: @ Rosebud Bookbarn and @ La Brocante