I often get asked what is the best part of Tasmania to visit, especially when riding a moto. The answer is that it is all good, and you cannot go wrong. I grew up in Tasmania and spent the first 18 years of my life on the northwest coast, and I have been there too many times to count. But it always seems fresh, and I find a new place and a new angle to see this wonderful island each time I go.
This time, I took my adventure bike, started on the northwest coast, and headed south via the west coast. This is the first time I have taken a decent bike to the island, and it made all the difference on the relentless roads. It was in the middle of summer, but it was still icy, about 5 degrees, so I needed layer upon layer of clothing. Plus, it rained. It always rains on the west coast, part of its lush, misty appeal (and keeps the hedonists at bay).
Queenstown is a small mining town with a fearsome reputation. The hills around Queenstown were once denuded due to the pollution from mining, but as mining has receded, the trees have returned. It has some pretty impressive pubs on the main street that have seen better days.
From Queenstown to the south is a crazy road. It goes on and on through a lush rain forest with zero human habitation. There was also no cars and no tourists, so the riding was super fun. I stopped at the Frenchman’s Cap hike trailhead and walked about 1 Kilometre to the world-famous Franklin River. The fight to protect this river spurred the Australian conservation movement and sent (brown) ripples worldwide. Once, it was about saving a muddy old river in Tasmania; now, it is about halting the mindless excess of industrial modernity.
I avoided Hobart as it is overrated and full of blow-ins and went to Cockle Creek on the far southern tip of Tasmania instead.
Cockle Creek is a special place. It has numerous bays and beaches and is nestled on the edge of the southwest wilderness world heritage area. I walked the southwest track for a couple of hours and made it to the furthest tip of Tasmania.
I went to Bruny Island from Cockle Creek and stayed there the night. I got a fantastic ploughmans lunch at the local cheese factory along with some beers and oysters and ate them on a deserted beach. There are many things to like about Australia, and indeed, beer on your own deserted beach is one of them.
A fantastic trip and I hope to do it again and again. Tasmania is small and compact, but the riding effort between places is pretty tiresome, given the crazy mountain roads. This is especially the case on the west coast, best to take your time.