Day 45 – Port Arthur To Hobart (100 km)

I had heard of Port Arthur in primary school I think, but like many others, I became acutely aware of it after the shooting in 1996. On arrival you’re booked into a 30min guided tour and a cruise around the bay. The tour was really just a brief intro and allowed you to walk the grounds with a bit more knowledge of what you were looking at.

The place is huge – much larger than I was expecting. It’s a mix of restored buildings and ruins of all sorts: prison, barracks, commandant’s house, surgeon’s house, etc. as well as houses that were built later on that became part of the townsite.

I spent a good 3-4 hours walking around (nice to get spend some energy again). There was the occasional drizzle, but not anything to spoil the day. I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone who visits.

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Day 44 – Swansea To Port Arthur (156 km)

Today was a great day. Lovely scenery, interesting history, great roads, and great weather.

Diesel had suggested I pay a visit to Ross – it’s about 75 km to the west of Swansea, but out of the way. I’d wanted to run down the coast for the scenery. I spoke to a couple in the camp kitchen who said do Ross and don’t bother with the coastline (cos it’s the same as I’ve already seen). Then my tent neighbor said do the coastline – “you shouldn’t miss it”. So, I did both which meant a backtrack on the same road but it’ll be a long time before I’m back.

Traffic was heavy – the north of Tassie had a long weekend… I’m not sure where the border is so I’m still a little confused. This w/e meant that there were lots of northerners in the south – today they were driving back. It was manageable though.

I’m glad I followed Diesel’s advice – Ross is a gem. My stomach took charge (as it usually does) had headed to the bakery for brunch… coffee and a scallop pie. Yes – it’s lightly curried and quite yummy. Try one if you’re in the area.

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Day 43 – St Helens To Swansea (123 km)

At 3am this morning I extricated myself from my warm sleeping bag in my warm tent to locate my earbuds from the trailer so that I could listen to my own music… until then I’d been trying not to listen to the doof-doof shite down the road. No wind and very cool temps meant the noise carried for miles. It didn’t have to though – it was only 200m away from my tent. So, I had about 4 hours sleep, in bits n pieces. Not a good way to start the day.

However, while only just over a 100 km was planned, there was lots to see. Due to yesterday’s detour I headed north to Binalong Bay to see the Bay of Fires. Get used to these photos – the whole east coast is like this… amazing…

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Day 42 – Launceston To St Helens (230 km)

While I didn’t camp at Geoge Town, I still wanted to head up that way for a look. Rather than ride on the “A” road, I headed for the hills to see more of the countryside.

Through George Town and onto Low Head where they have the oldest operating pilot station (escorting ships into the harbor) in Australia, with a little museum attached. This was like a little village within a village, and  many of the buildings are available for renting as holiday accommodation.

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Day 41 – Davenport To Launceston (103 km)

The recliners on the ferry are more comfortable that seats on a jumbo. Good. After updating the blog, I put my music on, ear buds in, took a sleeping-aid, and went to sleep. About an hour later the f***-er behind me woke me with his snoring. From then onwards it was sleeping in morse-code.

At 6:30 we were called to depart. I felt surprisingly fresh, given my bad night – I was probably anticipating the days ahead. Waiting for me just off the ferry was Diesel Dave (who lives in Deloraine) who was prepared to brave the cold and give me a warm welcome. A quick hello, setup the intercom, and we were off. Dave gave me a great tour of the area and beyond.

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Day 40 – Dandenong To Melbourne

Well, not a whole lot to do. In hindsight, when I diverted away from the Great Alpine Road I should have headed to Mount Macedon (north west of Melbourne), then come back down and done the Black Spur and Dandenongs. As it turned out – I only had about 40 km to do today.

I ran some errands: checking to see if I could find Kath & Kim at Fountain Gate Shopping Centre, then escorting Mr OzFox to Ramsey Street for assistant “a” back in Cornwall.

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Day 39 – Phillip Island To Dandenong

The diversion away from the Great Alpine Road has actually given me an extra day, so I’m just taking my time now. As usual, it was wet overnight but now it cleared in the morning – kinda. I packed everything away except the tent to give it every chance to dry out before stuffing it into the trailer. While it was drying, I was looking at Google Maps to see what my day would bring.

I’d planned a tour of the Dandenong Ranges, with a stop somewhere to get some new gloves – my winter gloves had lost their waterproof-ness and weren’t going to work in Tassie. Furk me, while I was busy planning the day out, the furking rain hit again… completely saturating the tent. Had I been paying attention it would have gone in dry, now it’s sodden. Anyway, I packed and took off – I couldn’t wait too long.

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Day 38 – Alexandra To Phillip Island (207 km)

I was warm, my gloves were toasty, and my helmet was dry.  Boy, was I glad I stayed in the hotel! This also meant I could make an early start. South to Phillip Island it was via Black Spur.

I actually had a bit of sunshine at the beginning, but that lasted about 10 secs, and the temperature dropped to about 10c for most of the day. Since I wasn’t that wet though (unlike yesterday) it was far more manageable.

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Day 37 – Khancoban To Alexandra

Shite. I keep saying “my original plan”, but for all the wrong reasons. Now, my original plan was to head west to Wangaratta and then turn south and head over Mount Hotham via the Great Alpine Road. Unfortunately, the forecast for the next few days in Hotham was for a mix of high winds, rain, snow, and worst of all – sub-zero temperatures. The major threat I was concerned about was black-ice. I’d never experienced it before, but I was well-aware of its dangers.

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Day 36 – Canberra To Khancoban (289 km)

A lazy start for a good day… coffee/breaky courtesy of Ivica & Co, I packed and departed Canberra at around 10:30. My original plan was to camp at Geehi Flats campground in Kosciuszko National Park, but decided to aim for hard cover due to weather (again!). Man-o-man – the crap weather just seems to keep following me. The forecast for tonight in the area is rain, storm, and snow to 1200m. So, I figured that even though I’d been spoiled by Ivica’s family for 2 days I should treat myself to something in Thredbo. So, off I went…

First stop was Cooma and a visit to the Snowy Hyrdo Discovery Centre. Of course I was aware of it – who isn’t – but some of the detail was quite interesting.

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