Welcome to the aus.motorcycles Tassie Touring Tips page.

There have been quite a few enquiries over time on the newsgroup about where to ride in Tasmania and details on Ferry crossings and the like, so I thought it time to put a page together giving these details.

This page will evolve over time in response to different requests from the newsgroup.

Please email me if you have any other queries or info that you think should be here.

Towns  
1 Hobart
2 Launceston
3 Georgetown
4 Scottsdale
5 St. Helens
6 Bicheno
7 Coles Bay
8 Port Arthur
9 Devonport
10 Cradle Mt.
11 Strahan
12 Stanley
13 Flinders Is.
14 King Is.
Roads   Rating out of 10
1 Midlands Hwy 0 straight
2 The Sidling and Weldborough Pass 9 great, very twisty
3 Lake Leake Hwy 9 great, fast
4 Tasman Peninsula 6 good but watch for tourist traffic
5 Huon Valley 5 scenery
6 Mole Creek to Cradle Mt. 6 watch road conditions
7 Bass Hwy 1 straight
8 Cradle Mt. to West Coast 8 very fast and spectacular
9 Murchison Hwy 7 but 10 for Hellyer Gorge
Hellyer is very tight.
10 Queenstown to Derwent Valley 7 great in places
11 East Coast 9 fast in places, twisty bits as well

These are just a few of the major roads - the ones you are most likely to encounter.
There are dozens of great little side roads that can be found as well.

Tasmania

Tasmania has a population of around 450,000. About 200,000 of these are in Hobart and surrounds with a similar population spread from Launceston up along the North West Coast.

Tasmania is probably best described as an English style countryside, although its weather is much milder than Britain. Despite reputation, the major population areas of Tasmania are relatively dry, the exception is the West Coast which measures rainfall by the bucketload. Don't expect to not get rained on, but you won't find the monsoon-like heavy rain of NSW and QLD.

My favourite places are along the East Coast. Bicheno and Coles Bay in particular. If you get to Coles Bay, you absolutely have to walk over to Wineglass Bay - superb!

For more info on Tassie go to Tourism Tasmania's website or here for an interactive tour of the state.

Travelling to Tasmania

If you intend coming over on one of the ferries, then I'd recommend the Spirit of Tasmania. The Devil Cat (run by the same line) is boring. Sorry guys, but there it is. 6 hours in aircraft-like seats, forced to watch kids' movies on the TV and crap music over the speakers (there is nowhere to escape them). If you are inclined towards seasickness, I'd imagine being in your own cabin rather than listening to the sound of people throwing up around you would be much nicer too.

I think basically travelling overnight with your accommodation paid for makes more sense to me than travelling during the day and wasting time that could be spent at the destination. Fares are identical for the Cat or for a standard room on the Spirit.

When the bike is being tied down, stay there and check it yourself, don't leave it up to the crew. Put something over the seat to protect it, I use my jacket.

The Devil Cat arrives in Georgetown (map ref. 3) and the Spirit of Tasmania arrives at Devonport (map ref. 9).

Details of sailing times and fares can be found at www.tt-line.com.au

If you are flying over and want to hire a bike, there is only one place in Tasmania that does it. You can contact them at Tasmanian Motorycle Hire.

If you are interested in motorcycle touring in Tasmania and want to go on an organised tour, go this page.

Accommodation

There's plenty of accommodation everywhere - you're never really more than an hour from at least a pub bed and breakfast. Caravan parks and camping spots abound, but more on the East Coast than the West Coast. Accommodation is generally cheap compared to the mainland and there are some first class hotels in the main centres as well.

Shop around a bit though. I have received a recent report saying that accommodation prices seem to be escalating without a similar increase in standard of service. I might try and build up a list of recommended budget accommodation if there is interest for this. Please email me if you have any recommendations.

Road Conditions

Roads range from freeways (Launceston to Hobart) to goat tracks. There are 3 road classifications in Tassie - A, B and C. Generally, A roads are the best quality and C roads the worst (lumpy with gravel hazards). C roads often have no lane markings on the road. The major exception is the road from Moina to Cradle Mtn and the West Coast’s Murchison Hwy - it’s a C road but has only recently been built - hence it’s a superb piece of tarmac.

Road markings are a lot less than you may be used to. Be prepared for a corner to tighten up on you real quick, with no signs to tell you about it.

In the heavily logged areas of Tassie (of which there are many) - the twisty sections carry gravel on almost every corner (as the trucks cut the corner, they drag the gravel onto the surface). Most of the real twisty stuff is lumpy & graveled. Good exceptions are the Hellyer Gorge (nor-west) and the Weldborough Pass (nor-east).

That said though - most roads wind endlessly, and are generally of a reasonable quality - hence the wonderful sense of adventure. The really great roads are the B sweeper roads that were built for the hydro-electric infrastructure, hence are located in mountainous terrain, yet are constant radius, smooth and pure full noise material. If you’re into fast sweepers - you’ll be in heaven in Tassie.

Basically, avoid the Midlands Highway wherever possible :-) It is our version of the Hume Highway minus all the passing lanes.

Bike Specific tips

Take essentials for the bike. It won't be easy finding/buying things on the go, and bike shops are scarce in Tassie. Take chain lube, a new or fairly new tyre repair kit and CO2 cartridges (in old ones the glue goes off), a spare clutch cable if you're possibly going to need one, octane booster if your bike craves PULP (there isn't much PULP in Tassie). PULP is available in Hobart, Launceston, Devonport, Burnie, Perth, St Helens and Triabunna and that's about it. Despite what you might imagine, PULP is not available on the Midlands Highway.

Have the right clothing. You can get both hot and cold weather, sometimes in the same day. Full leathers or quality riding gear are strongly recommended. Bring both summer and winter gloves. Bring thermal underwear if you have it. A neck gaiter is excellent. Bring waterproofs.

Check you have essential personal stuff. Sunscreen, lip cream and sunglasses are a must for 2 weeks in the Tassie outdoors. There's a dirty great hole in the ozone layer directly above us and little pollution to filter the sun's rays, so you can get burnt REAL quick without realising it's happening.

Mobile phones - there are large areas of Tassie with no mobile reception, but this is changing over time. The main population centres, the East Coast, the North West Coast and a small part of West Coast have digital reception.

Please email me if you have any additions, suggestions or corrections

Kevin Gleeson
Imagine it


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