Solo Cycle Touring Tasmania
Touring Tasmania on a tikit(also could be done on a pakiT ) (26th April – 7th May 2017)
By Aaron Lim
Since I bought the Bike Friday tikit back in 2013, I have done some solo trips on this well made folding bike. Seoul to Busan in winter, Round Island of Taiwan, ascending almost 3000m to WuLing in Taiwan, 300km in a day from Singapore to Kluang & back home, and doing a 2000km ride around Iceland. So I was wondering what’s the next adventure and I chanced upon some information about touring in Tasmania. Just nice that I found a time slot without work commitments to bike tour this beautiful island south of Australia.
Coming from Singapore, I flew to Melbourne, then change to a domestic flight to Hobart. The plan is to cycle an anti-clockwise direction from Hobart towards the east coast of Tasmania, Launceston, Cycling to Cradle mountain and to do some short hikes, Queenstown, Lake St Clair, Mount Field national park and finally back to Hobart which is approximately 1000km.
Instead of using a hard case to pack my Tikit, I was trying to figure out if the Tikit could go into a soft case made for the Brompton. By following the exact same method of packing a Tikit in a suitcase as featured on the Bike Friday youtube page, I was able to successfully pack the Tikit into the Soft bag made for the Brompton! It’s a little squeezy on the sides but it works and thankfully the bike landed in Hobart safely! I even stuffed in my camping tent, haha!
Cycling out of Hobart is a challenge and to get to the east coast drive of Tasmania, you need to cycle across a massive highway bridge packed with heavy traffic! Thank goodness for a bike path that leads to a shared bikeway along the bridge and thus my adventure begins.
One of the things I love about Tasmania is that, once you are out of the cities, there really ain’t much traffic to worry about. Most drivers were friendly and they keep a lookout for me. After bypassing a small village Richmond, which had a very nice historical bridge, it’s all the way east and cycling along the beautiful east coast, soaking in the beautiful blue hues of the Tasman Sea.
It’s tough to meet other fellow cyclists during this period of time. The weather hasn’t been really kind. There were days of nice sunshine and then it rains out of the blue. And unfortunately, autumn season turning to winter, temperatures range from 16 – 1 degree Celsius. Besides the weather elements to deal with, Tasmania is a pretty hilly place to bike tour. Glad I did meet a German couple who were doing their world tour on a bicycle and we had a nice chat along the way and even shared campsites. There are times where I am alone and more than happy to discover free campgrounds that still offer toilets and the occasional hot shower! Kinda fun to have a campground almost all to myself under a big tree, haha. If there’s a campground I love the most, it would be at Mole Creek. What better way to camp to be surrounded by mountains, seeing the stars at night and just having my tent next to a stream of water! Just 10 Aud!
Transiting from the eastern coast drive into the hilly forested roads of Tasmania, tough the climbs maybe, but I am indeed wowed by the beautiful greenery. I was greeted by many tall rainforests that line the roads. As I gain higher altitude, I start to discover many huge ferns that line the forest roads. The best part of this bike trip is that I can just park my bike somewhere and there’s a rainforest walk, the entry point just being along the road. Walks like the Weldborough Rainforest walk allows me to get up close to a very Jurassic era rainforest and observing these big ferns up close! Just think of the movie Jurassic Park! Some walks lead you to beautiful waterfalls as Nelson Falls & Russel falls.
With rainy weather, the chances of me spotting rainbows is really a lot. Cycling around Mt Roland was definitely a very memorable experience as I could see the rainbow right before my very eyes in full arc! To me, the appearance of rainbows does encourage me to keep going during my solo bike tours. It really can be lonely at times but rainbows just make me happy, pause to admire it, and feeling the presence of the God of creation.
The toughest climb will be towards cradle mountain and that’s where I was really worn out and started pushing my tikit. It’s interesting to know there’s a plain called Middle Sex plains, that’s where I start to discover what has been all rainforest previously is now an alpine wasteland. That’s the beauty of Tasmania, landscapes are an ever-changing tapestry here. I took a cycling day off for Cradle Mountain national park and did some hikes there. Sadly the weather was cloudy but still lovely to admire the grandeur of the lakes & mountains. Other attractions will be the massive Lake St Clair.
The round trip of Tasmania on 2 wheels was done in 12 days, a total of about 1000km. I still tried my best to pack light but of course, when I reached the hilly sections of my Tasmania ride, I really do wish I could just get rid of my tent. Pretty happy to have an extra 10-liter backpack at hand when I did my groceries and the small bag just wrapped around my saddle bag securely, no issues during ascent and high-speed descent! There wasn’t a case when I felt the tikit with its 16-inch wheels lacking during the bike tour. Most of the roads were all paved except the occasional gravel roads when I needed to take shortcuts. I mounted Kojak tires on my tikit and thank God not a single tire puncture and no mechanical problems with the bike at all. It’s quite funny as riding a small wheeled bicycle to bike tour does get other people/tourists talking to me, haha. I would definitely recommend Tasmania for bike touring, abundant places to camp, well-paved roads, beautiful tapestry of forestry, it’s really a haven for bike tourers 🙂
Day 1: Hobart – Triabunna
Day 2: Triabunna – Bicheno
Day 3: Bicheno – St Helens
Day 4: St Helens – Branxolm
Day 5: Branxolm – Launceston
Day 6: Launceston – Mole Creek
Day 7: Mole Creek – Cradle Forest Inn
Day 8: Cradle Forest Inn – Cradle Mountain
Day 9: Cradle Mountain – Queenstown
Day 10: Queenstown – Lake St Clair
Day 11: Lake St Clair – Ellendale
Day 12: Ellendale – Russell Falls – Hobart