One thing is for sure, I will never go on a cruise. So much I know when I arrive with the ferry in Tasmania. I got sick after 5 minutes already... Nevertheless I had time to study the Tasmania map. On the east coast are most of the tourist attractions, while the west coast is mostly untouched wilderness. Only in the north there is a dirt track at all... off we go there. The route keeps what it promised on the map: hardly traffic and straight through a fantastic wilde scenery. The road itself probably rather wanted te be a roller coaster for it is simply a collection of impossibly steep, short climbs and descends. In one day I burst my chain twice. Over the central plateau I travel back to Devonport.
From north all across to the southern tip the Tasmanian Trail, a trail for walkers and mountain bikers crosses the island on dirt roads and bush tracks. That is what I have in mind next. But everything I can find out about it doesn't sound very promising: the trail is badly signposted and sometimes difficult to find. Oh and there is this key that you need to open locked gates when crossing private property. Unfortunately there is no time to organise such a key but somehow I feel like locked gates will be my least problem to come...
Thanks to GPS, finding the trail is no problem. At first I pass isolated farming country then the trail leads into deep forest. Especially in the forest there are some absurd steep passages where I cannot even push the bike anymore but have to drag all my stuff one at a time up the slope. At the end of the first day I come to a creek that I have to cross. I have been looking forward all day to that water already as it is exceptionally hot. In a first try I only reach the other side by swimming. Very refreshing but I won't be able to cross with the bicycle like that. After some time I find a more shallow place where I can ford with my stuff.
In a long, great climb I reach the central plateau at 1100m. Up here there are plenty of lakes and it is a true fisherman's paradise. At Arthurs Lake I find yet another of those almost perfect sites to camp, a swim in the lake included of course. I am only a bit jealous of all the fisherman pulling out one trout after the other all around me. But it doesn't take long and I am invited for the catch of the day.
When I am back down from the plateau the trail passes through beautiful valleys. Simply fantastic here, I stopp for a chat with sheep farmers and park rangers. But the best parts are always the sections where I cycle on bush trails through the forest. Every time a true maze, around fallen trees, broken bridges and crossing creeks. If only it were not for those spider nets constantly across the path...
Today I make a little detour from the Tasmanian Trail to Mt. Field National Park. After some rather long days on the bike I want to have a shorter day only going to the nearby waterfalls. So I head for the visitors center asking for a map. Immediately she asks me 'But you don't want to cycle up there, do you?' 'Where' I ask innocently. 'There is a dirt road leading up to an alpine lake 1000m higher up.' That is unfair, I only wanted to go to the waterfalls. She could as well have said that there is a feast up there and free beer. No rest day then, but a little mountain time trial in the afternoon.
Just when I think that the last days are probably going to be easier it gets actually tougher. There are some high mountain ranges to climb over on trails that would bring tears into the eyes of every mountain biker. After 9 days I reach Dover in the south of the island. I am totally enthusiastic about this trail. That was truly outstanding.
Following the east coast I get back up north, camping every night at a beach. The further north I get the more beautiful the become. The coast consists here of huge red glowing granite boulders. In between them there are beaches where the sand is as white as snow. It just doesn't get any better with beaches. OK the water could be a tick warmer, greetings from the Antarctica.
At the end I go back one more time into the mountains. Jacob's Ladder I cannot resist. A steep hairpin-bend road up to a skiing resort at 1500m.