We rode off the "Spirit of Tasmania" ferry wide eyed and bushy tailed, ready for exploration and adventure. This was the beginning of a new Australian state, new country, pretty much a new world. What a world it is!
With eagerness we rode past all the other cruiser and sports bikers stopped at the nearest cafes for coffees and breakfast. Beware of the roads and cooler, wet conditions... Speaking to many returning riders, most had stories of crew coming to serious grief within moments of departing the vessel. Prematurely ending what could have been a ride of a lifetime! The twisty and dewy country starts straight away, coupled with cold tyres and too much enthusiasm you could see how it could happen so easily.
Following my fresh tank bag map and chattering away on the helmet intercoms like two kids on too much sugar we pulled up on Freers Beach at Port Sorell. There in the light of sunrise, we gathered our thoughts, prepped our equipment, chatted to the friendly morning walkers and planned our basic direction of travel. There is nothing like it, especially with a mate, in a area you've both never been before, the anticipation of adventure, the excitement of "whats next around the corner..."
From there we rode across too and followed the Tamar River southwards down to Launceston and back up the other side to Low Head. With my nautical background and interests I wanted to ride up to the prominent lighthouse and check the view.
Unfortunately the road was blocked off with signs stating "construction site" "restoration in progress" alas! I spotted a walk trail and rode on giving Hydro no alternative to follow, his cautious pleas falling on deaf ears. As you can see by the photos, he didn't even want to get off his bike! It didn't matter anyway as straight after the shot, he took off back down the path and all the workmen/tradies circled around me with their smoko to talk bikes, set ups and places to go.
Next stop was small fishing town of Bridport. Topless sunbathers had us giggling like naughty schoolboys and taking snaps of the "beautiful vista"
The low tide at Bridport.
We continued on ready to find a place for breakfast/lunch and for me to get some painkillers and anti-inflamatories for my aching shoulder. The Weldborough Pub gave us our first taste of delicious Tasmanian cuisine washed down with a local beverage. We were actually looking for the "Pub In The Paddock" we had heard about which we found out from the publican, was a few more km's down the road. We ventured on and found the character filled establishment and its beer drinking pig.
From there we rode on down the Tasman Highway to the East Coast. I had heard of the amazing Bay Of Fires area and on riding in Hydro and I were struck by its beauty. Binalong Bay had us riding out on its little rock wall wharf and getting off the bikes to absorb it all, the clear, clear water, spectacular day, clean fresh atmosphere and the stoke of discovering it all on our bikes...
A video of just leaving beautiful Binalong Bay. Click to watch
St Helens was next back out on the highway, another small fishing town. Here we met a cool couple traveling two up on a Triumph sports bike. You seem to meet heaps of bikers of all types, all happy to share experiences, places to check out, places to stay and ride loops not to miss out on. We found ourselves bumping into them throughout our travels around the state. They recommended the "Elephant Pass" further south down the coast. We had heard about it from others as well so it was going to be a "must do"
The day was starting to get on and we choose to go past the Elephant Pass turn off and settle in at Bicheno for the night. The plan was to return in the morning and ride it fresh and with out the cool long afternoon shadows that were appearing.
Our first day in Tasmania was better than ever expected and the thought of exploring for days to come was having us grinning from ear to ear...