Bikes and Boats: Freewheeling by Ferry


I’m back in Melbourne for a couple of weeks for my daughter Grace’s 21st birthday party, to visit my mother and undertake my fifteenth Around the Bay in a Day ride! That’s the annual 220k circuit of Port Phillip Bay and includes a ferry crossing from Queenscliff to Sorrento.

I like taking my bicycle on ferries. There’s something exciting evocative and romantic about making a sea or river crossing.

Once my social obligations are complete, I intend to leave from Station Pier in Port Melbourne, aboard the Spirit of Tasmania which sails overnight across Bass Straight to Devonport Tasmania. From Devonport I shall take a leisurely meandering route through the center of Tasmania, south to Hobart. I want to stop at some of my favourite places: Mole Creek for some honey, Oatlands for its Georgian architecture, Richmond for the convict history and of course once I’m in Hobart I will definitely visit MONA again.

I know Tasmania fairly well, having traveled to the Apple Isle on numerous occasions. Although last time I cycle toured through the center of the island, I got lost, finding myself stranded and befuddled somewhere in the Gog Range amongst a maze of blue gum plantations.

My mother and father were both from Tasmania. My maternal Grandfather was a solider settler after returning from the Great War and for a time lived at Triabunna on the east coast, home to the famous scallop pies.

I’m looking forward to taking a ferry from Triabunna to car free Maria Island for a couple of days wild camping and fishing. I’ll also visit the old penal settlement at Darlington. Apparently Maria Island was home to some of the most wretched convicts the colony had to offer.

After a short stay on Maria Island, expect to make my way north up along the east coast past St Mary’s and St Helens to Bridgeport where I can take the 8 hour journey into Bass Straight aboard the coastal trader Matthew Flinders to Cape Baron on Flinders Island. Flinders Island was once home to the remaining Tasmanian Aboriginals shipped there for their own good apparently, where they quickly succumbed to illness and disease.

After cycling around Flinders Island and returning to Bridgeport, I’ll ride to Devonport, via Launceston  to catch the ferry once again back to Port Melbourne where I will cycle home to refocus my attention on returning to work and planning the next cycling adventure .

Categories: Solo unsupported Australia tours, Tour de Tasmania 2014Tags: , , ,

4 comments

  1. Hi Nick, I’ll be in Tassie myself, around Launceston from 27th to 30th October, Deloraine 31 & 1, then Oatlands until the 5th. Does match up with any of your destinations and times? Jo Tuite, Qld.

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    • Hi Jo , in heading to Tassie via the Overnight ferry on Monday the 20th with a general plan to head down the middle to Hobart and then along the East coast , about 2 to 3 weeks in total , so a good chance we will cross paths , I would like to shout you a cuppa for having rescued me in Queensland , I will keep my blog up to date and private message you on Facebook with my phone number , enjoy your Tassie holiday , it’s a wonderful place

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  2. Hi Nick!
    I’m a former work colleague of Therese’s who has been jealously following your cycle tour of Aus! I just wanted to pipe up with a tip for Tassie. There’s a brilliant little campsite in Golden Valley called Quamby Corner: http://www.quambycorner.com/ It’s only 17kms from Deloraine, so worth pushing on from (provided you stop to pick up provisions in Deloraine as there are then no more shops until the Great Lakes, and even then the shops were pretty poorly stocked when we passed through in December). Also, the Great Lake hotel is where the camping is for that area; we cycled straight past because the sign did not indicate camping and we had to back-track, up a hill, against the wind (of course)!
    Happy cycling!
    Oanh

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    • Thanks Oanh, I remember Golden Valley from my previous cycle tour of Tassie , wonderful part of the world with reported sightings of the Tasmanian Tiger ! Thanks for the tips I much appreciated , this touring business gets under your skin , such a wonderful way to engage with the world

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