St Helens – Thursday 12 November : I’m going to start with today and work back for the last week. Wet wet wet is all I can say about today. I think I’m destined to never see the east coast of Tassie without rain mist and low clouds. Locals are talking floods. We have travelled from Coles Bay to St Helen’s and are now warm and dry at the Tidal Waters Resort Hotel on George’s Bay which is the gateway to the Bay of Fires. Sadly we won’t be seeing anything of the Bay of Fires due to the weather. It took us 3 hours to travel the 130km although we did stop for brekky at the Bicheno bakery – a very popular place with the locals and lots of sympathy for us riding in such rain. Come inside loves and warm up. The coast road from Coles Bay up to St Helen’s would be fabulous in clear weather. The ocean waves crashing onto the rocks so close to the road it was fabulous except that you can’t really take your eyes off the road to have a good look. The hotel staff at Tidal Waters were extremely welcoming and weren’t at all phased about us leaving pools of water across reception with every step we took – just as well the floors were wooden. They directed us to park the bikes under the entrance awning rather than out in one of the car parks. We were able to check-in to our room immediately for which we were extremely grateful. We’ve got wet weather gear but it didn’t cope with today’s soaking rain. After changing into dry clothes, we went to the restaurant for lunch and also indulged in a local glass of pinot noir just because we can and we decided we deserved it. We put all our wet gear into the dryers in the laundry and we have the heater going in our room. It’s like a Chinese laundry. I’d like to share a photo of the coast road but couldn’t stop to take one, so here’s a photo of George’s Bay from our room.
Coles Bay, Freycinet National Park – Tues 10 & Wed 11 November : 200km. We arrived Coles Bay at about 3pm on Tuesday after departing Hobart at 11am. We had a scrumptious omelette for breakfast which kept us going until we reached Coles Bay. We crossed many bridges as we headed out of Hobart, the weather was cloudy but fine, the roads were great, mostly long curving climbing and downhill sweepers and not as many tighter corners. We stopped for a coffee at Triabunna on Prosser Bay. We hadn’t booked any accommodation at Coles Bay but the local café directed us to Freycinet Holiday Rentals and were directed to look at a few different cottages. We took the cottage closest to the one café, pub, bakery and convenience store and booked for two nights. The sun came out as we reached Coles Bay and we got quite warm so Basil’s first task was to go to the local store and get us a 6 pack of beers which we enjoyed sitting on the verandah overlooking the bay and Mt Freycinet. Booked for dinner at the pub on first night and the Italian café on the second night.
The photo above I took from bed the next morning – a beautiful sunny day. We had a relaxing day, well almost, Basil had to deal with many work phone calls and decisions but we didn’t let that detract from the lovely day. We went out to Freycinet Lodge for breakfast, then a visit to the Fish Farm where you could buy the daily caught fresh seafood. There are long cues of Asian travellers at any local seafood shop or restaurant. Actually the majority of travellers in Tassie are Asian and to a smaller extent a mix of Europeans.
Hobart City – Sun 8 & Mon 9 November : we left Pina and John’s (Kingston) at about 3pm checking in to Zero Davey on the Hobart waterfront at 4pm. We were meeting up with a previous work colleague of mine from early Powercor days and his wife no. 2 who we hadn’t met before. Norm booked at Rockwall at Salamanca a well known steak and seafood restaurant. We detected that we weren’t quite Felicity’s cup of tea – first comment “you don’t look like motorbike riders” and when we mentioned we were catching up with one of Barry’s dealers for dinner the next night (noting there was a joke element to her next comment) “is that a drug dealer”? She didn’t really engage in much conversation. Anyway it was great to catchup with Norm again. The next day, Monday, we went to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art). We caught the 9.30am ferry from the Hobart waterfront which took 30 minutes to reach the Museum further up the Derwent. As expected a very interesting and different experience. Monday night we caught up with Rick and Christine (Basil’s drug dealer!) and after dinner they took us for a drive up to Mt Wellington which overlooks Hobart. What a spectacular view at night but it was freezing and we weren’t dressed to hang about for long so no snap to share with you.
Above pic is entrance to MONA.
Hobart – Kingston – Pina & John – Fri 6 – Sun 8 November : We left New Norfolk and arrived in to Hobart at about 10am and met up with John at the Hobart Waterfront and we followed him back to their home at Kingston which is 12km from the city. Pina was working so we dropped all our gear and headed off for a ride to the Huon Valley, had lunch at a café in a little village called Cygnet and then looped back around to Huonville to a local winery at Ranelagh called Home Hill. Stopped in for a taste of their award winning Pinot Noir 2014 Kelly’s Reserve. Beautiful place to sit and catchup with John.
We arrived back at Kingston about 3pm and Pina arrived just after us. We had a lovely evening catching up. They are not long back from Sardinia and Sicily. History – we met John in the Dolomites in 2003. John is a chef and was working at a small village near Breganze, more recently one of the chefs on the Aurora Australia but now working off Darwin on one of the oil platforms / boats. We had a couple of bottles of the Home Hill Pinot and a beautiful salmon pasta. On Saturday Pina and I went for a long beach walk with Patches the dog, Barry and John went to visit other motorcycle friends and in the afternoon went for a drive to visit their friends who live in the Huon Valley. They have just built a new home overlooking the most beautiful green valleys. They recently moved from Brisbane to Tassie. Saturday night we had a BBQ at home with a few friends of John and Pina’s. It was also an opportunity for Barry to do some adjustments to his bike as one of the guys had the right tools. Very late and sociable nights. John and Pina are very welcoming and wonderful hosts and looked after us very well. On the Sunday we went for a ride to Dover, once again through the Huon Valley, then back to Huonville and down another arm to Gordon to visit friends who we had met on other visits to Tassie. We arrived back to Kingston at about 3pm, then said our farewells to John, Pina and Patches and headed into the city.
Strahan – New Norfolk via Queenstown and Derwent Bridge – Thursday 5 November (270km) :
We left Strahan on Thursday heading for New Norfolk just north of Hobart. The weather was bleak and cold and the road from Queenstown to Derwent Bridge was very winding – can you believe out of Queenstown there was 98 corners in 4km – this way and that way, it felt like we were on the edge of the open cut mines. I’d love to have a photo of this road so you could see what I mean but it definitely wasn’t a road to stop for a snap. Queenstown is a very sad place and not like it used to be in its busy mining days. We came across Melbourne friends at Derwent Bridge, had coffee and a toastie, filled up with fuel and carried on towards Hobart. They were traveling with friends in 4WD. Heavy rain after Derwent Bridge, arriving into New Norfolk at about 4pm. Stopped to visit one of Barry’s dealers called Rick (but also known as Richard by family). The plan was to catchup with Rick and his wife Christine for dinner however they weren’t available and we made plans to dine with them on Monday night. We then rode around until we found a place to stay. Came across a heritage mansion called Tynwald built in 1830 run by an eccentric old couple called Pat and Gary who previously worked in the hospitality industry and bought Tynwald 29 years ago and have been doing it up ever since. They have sunk an enormous amount of money into restoring the property. They were in the garden when we arrived looking very hot and dishevelled. After completing check-in arrangements we unpacked and went for a ride into town to have a look around. Stopped for a beer at one of the local pubs, then back to Tynwald. Pat and Gary also run a small restaurant at Tynwald, Gary is the chef and a talker and kept getting into trouble for not attending to his kitchen duties and talking to us. Our meal was absolutely beautiful. I had scallops and Barry had a chicken dish. Home grown everything and so delish. We picked a wine from the list and we could hear them rummaging around in the cellar but they didn’t have the wine we had chosen so recommended another one which we enjoyed in any case. It was quite an hilarious experience. They also have a cat called Tommy who took a great liking to us, a pig called Tina who is the mother of many piglets. I would really have loved to have looked around the house.