Tag Archives: Maria Island

bike road trip – day 1

Route: (Middleton) Hobart to Dairy Plains via the East Coast (Swansea, Bicheno, St Helens) Derby and Launceston.

Weather: typical Tasmanian Spring. Sunshine, wind, drizzle.

Distance and time: 531 km, 9+ hrs -leaving home 7am, arrive 4.30 pm.

Stops: Kingston, 15mins; Sorell, 30mins breakfast; Triabunna, 15mins; Swansea, 15mins; St Helens,1 hour lunch; Derby, 15mins; Scottsdale, 10mins petrol; Launceston, 15mins; Dairy PLains.

The day started well, out the door by 7, right on time, as I drove the loan car back to the body works and dressed for bike riding there. We were early enough to not be caught in the full onslaught of peak hour traffic and stopped for breakfast at Sorell, a good half hour out of Hobart. It was drizzling by this stage but as we headed further north and east the sun came out and was fresh but nice when we stopped another hour on at Triabunna. 20130928-134736.jpg The east coast of Tassie is beautiful. Rolling hills of bushland and lush paddocks full of sheep and froliking lambs on one side with the Tasman Sea, Maria Island and Frecynet Peninsula on the other. A perfect bike riding road in between. I was prepared to take lots of pictures, and hubby was happy to stop anytime I wanted but with the wind and hazy weather there was nothing that really stood out for me. Plus I was enjoying the ride and the feeling that comes with being out in the open air. There is nothing quite like it. Stopping briefly at Swansea to ease the sore bums, stretch legs and have a drink I snapped off a picture of what the weather was doing, and from then on it become really windy. 20130928-134841.jpg I was ok with it mostly, but its really hard to not overcompensate when taking a corner and having the wind wanting to blow you the other way. I do what i do on a normal corner but needing to push against the wind you don’t want to upset the bike and rider too much. Arriving around 12ish in St Helens we were ready for lunch and decided an easy fish and chips meal was just the thing. As most towns on the water who serve food, there is always a punt/converted fishing boat somewhere close by. I took the scallops while hubby had prawns and we shared a huge fillet of fish (flake for those in the know). 20130928-134947.jpg 20130928-134956.jpg 20130928-135106.jpg The next leg was heading inland towards Derby, an old mining town with a rich Chinese history. (If you take the bridge pictures, and signs along the way as any indication, we chose not to go through the museum this time) The wind did not let up and with road works along the way made the trip interesting but at least it was still sunny. Stopping by the river for a leg break and take a few pictures 20130928-135227.jpg 20130928-135234.jpg we were soon on our way again to Scottsdale for a petrol stop. From Scottsdale there was a range to climb up and over to get into Launceston and that’s where the fun started. We had agreed that maybe the rain would be better than the wind. Well, it pays to be careful what you wish for. It didn’t just rain, it hailed. Oh fun joy. A quick stop for rest rooms and to check the exact location of my sister’s place and we were on our way. Highway riding is pretty boring and in the rain, even more so. A hot coffee to warm the hands, clean socks and hogging the heater helped to thaw us out. And that was day 1.

Update. I forgot the maps.
Hobart to St Helens.

St Helens to Derby.

Derby to Dairy Plains via Launceston


It was both a journey and a destination

Last night I was achy and tired, and had the best sleep.
Yesterday. I. Had. A. Ball.

There is something incredible about the feeling of liberation and the sense of freedom that comes from being on the back of a motor bike. You are at one with nature. There is nothing between you and the great outdoors. The smell of wet grass and dewy trees. Your sense of smell is enhanced somewhat, until you get the whiff of dead animals and petrol fumes. Then you realise exactly just how close you are to nature.

We had borrowed a bike and some gear and after a test ride on Wednesday to see how I went, took a little ride. Just a short 500 km ride. Which took us all day. Sure I was tired exhausted, but it was worth every last-minute of it. The bike we borrowed – from Dad. A Suzuki GS500

I am hooked!

It was 20 years ago. He was 19, I was 17. Hubby had been riding bikes for years and had loads of experience, I had none. At. All. So when he took me for a ride, not thinking about this rather important fact it didn’t turn out so well. I have not wanted to get back in the saddle since. What happened? Let’s say when you take someone for their first bike ride, you don’t take it at obscene speeds down the road and scare the bejeezers out of them. He didn’t understand why I was bawling when the helmet came off.
He has since matured and I have since come to like the bike thing, after dealing more with it Mt Isa and even having a go at riding myself. Yeah, I’m happy to be the passenger

I was surprised at how comfortable it is to ride pillion and hang onto that tiny little handle behind the seat. Relaxing almost. I mean that in the most basic way of course. Obviously you can’t just lean back and go to sleep, but relaxing none the less. Even hanging on is not a hard thing, it’s more for the stability and a knowing you have that safety net (and of course when cornering).
Riding along, it was so normal, comfortable and just.. felt right.

So where did we go that took up 500 km’s? The question was south or east. We’ve done south quite a bit recently, (in the car) so east to Orford it was, a destination just over an hour from Hobart. Then Ross was mentioned. And the first thing I said was… “scallop pie. That’s where we’ll have lunch..”

Leaving town mid morning, we headed to Ross first, arriving just before 1. By the time we got there fatigue had set in, for both of us. That last fifteen km felt like forever. And while hubby has ridden plenty of times, it was the longest he had ridden with a passenger.

Sliding off the bike, I certainly wasn’t very graceful, and removing helmet and jacket was bliss. Commandeering an outside table we wandered in to see what lunch would consist of. For me, the scallop pie, a wagon wheel, coffee and juice. Hubby chose the chocolate milk, a potato pie and pastie, a kiss biscuit and the obligatory chocolate bar.
Now normally I eat nicely? neatly? slowly even, but I must have been hungry as that pie was inhaled before hubby had finished his first.
Ross is well known for its scallop pies, the scallop pie centre of Tas, and everyone raves about them. To be honest, and while I have nothing else to compare it to, it was average. Tasty. Yes. Juicy plump scallops filled the crust but I found the curry sauce was bland. Their pastry is perfect. Properly cooked, so none of those uncooked gluggy patches, and not so flaky that you end up wearing more than you eat. I would have liked it to be a bit deeper, or higher, a few more mouthfuls would have been better. Would I go again. Absolutely. But would I get their scallop pie? Probably not. I have been told there are some amazing ones in Richmond, so that will be my next venture out. Parked outside the bakery.


A relaxing break and we are back on the bike for the next step. Ouch, my arms hurt. Not for long. after five or ten minutes your muscles realise nothing will change and settle in for the long haul.
Ross to Orford. Via the back roads, which turned out to include a large section of dirt road. Not a very comfy ride at all. Stopping at Buckland on the main highway for petrol, it was a mere 15mins onwards to Orford.
From Orford you can see Maria (Ma-rye-ah) island, as per the map.
We arrived here just after 3pm and after a drink and a couple of pictures decided to head home. Not quite 2 hours away.

Having a drink at Orford beach, wearing dad’s jacket and boots.

By this time the nice sunny weather was slowly disappearing and the wind chill factor had been turned to icy. Any shadowy roads were freezing and by the time we got back to the city at 4.30, the afternoon traffic was building up.
Hubby said to me last night (or this morning, I can’t remember now) that he was nervous riding through the traffic in town because I was n the back. I found it amusing as I was having a ball, your perceptions are changed by sitting on the bike, and I was seeing so many more things I just hadn’t noticed before. It’s a whole new way of looking at things. I wasn’t feeling nervous, just excited, and a little tired.

As with any long trip, you get to a point on the way home (within around 30min/km) where the tiredness kicks in, and your thoughts turn to “so close, yet still so far”.
While I had had a ball, I was more than ready to get home. Which makes the fact I couldn’t get off the bike when we got there, funnier. “I’m stuck” as I tried to move and not fall off.
Standing inside it took a bit for the shivers and shakes to stop and for me to relax.
This morning, I felt really good. Much better than I anticipated, and my stretch class loosened any kinks out.

I can’t wait to get my own bike gear now and do it all again. But that will have to wait, boots, jacket, helmet… not cheap.

Is it time you let your inner bikie out?
Jennifer 🙂