We’re in Hobart. Which means one thing…we completed our loop of Tasmania – woohoo! We actually kind of completed it over a week ago actually. We had planned to do a short ride from Hamilton to New Norfolk and camp there for the night, but it was such a beautiful day that we decided to just stop for lunch and continued through to Hobart. Sadly the second half of that ride was pretty horrific. Traffic was hideous. Whizzing past at 100 kmph only inches away from us in most instances. Urgh. Makes me shudder thinking about it now. Perhaps more alarmingly, just metres after finally getting off the insane road onto a quieter one, Greg called to me from behind ‘George, we’re going to need to stop soo-‘ then all I heard was a sort of BANG and a WHOOSH. Eeeeeeek. As my heart leapt, I came to an abrupt stop and thankfully turned to see Greg still standing, but muttering a number of expletives under his breath. His rear tyre had blown. Not ideal, but at least we were now just 8km from our destination and not still in the wilderness of the west somewhere! Sometime last year, probably during one of Greg’s online bike porn sessions, he had read about how to temporarily patch a tyre. In place of an actual tyre saving kit, lots of cyclists apparently recommend using an Australian five dollar bill as the cheaper and equally effective way of fixing the situation. Wahey – we are in Australia and had a five dollar bill. Winning. Tyre sorted, Greg sort of limped (his tyre was now a bit lumpy) the rest of the way to our camp ground for the evening. We got a very pretty spot right by the water overlooking the Derwent. The beauty of the spot was somewhat hindered by the rather overwhelming smell of poo though…sewage treatment plant next store. Ah well, can’t win them all. As I was setting up the tent, I discovered a too-big-for-my-liking spider that had hitched a ride along with us. This was the second time this had happened and we still reacted in the same way – observe, wait for opportune moment to flick it with some appropriately large instrument, then stamp on it until all it’s limbs have been torn from it’s body and it is no longer recognisable as a spider. A very rationale and calm approach.
The following day we cycled into the centre and Greg left me enjoying the final chapters of A Tale of Two Cities with coffee and delicious sausage rolls while he went in search of his dream tyres. After a fair amount of traipsing around, he returned a happy boy with his un-puncturable Shwalbe Marathons. Greg’s 407 punctures this trip are apparently a thing of the past now that he’s got these bad boys. We then headed over the evil Tasman bridge to Lindisfarne, a suburb of Hobart, where we stayed with some warm showers hosts, Cate and Scott. The Tasman bridge was really not built with cyclists or pedestrians in mind. It is a five carriage-way road and for cyclists and pedestrians there is an elevated railed path on each side. This path is about as wide as my hips. And yes Dad, I know you’re thinking ‘well, that’s pretty wide’ but now that I no longer have that teenage complex about my ridiculously HUGE hips, I can categorically say, that is not in fact wide at all. Greg wasn’t a fan of the bridge the first time we rode over so he wasn’t best pleased when he learned we had to make the trip again. And for good reason. This time, just after reaching the middle, his panniers or tyre caught on something and he went straight down onto the tarmac, pulling the rear end of his bike back through the railing away from the racing traffic below. Ouchies. He got a couple of impressive bruises and scrapes down the side of his ribs and ripped a few holes through his leggings on his knee, but apparently none of those bits really hurt. His shoulder seemed to have taken the brunt of it. I knew it must have hurt when he said yes to taking painkillers, poor thing. At least we were headed to what turned out to be the most wonderful hosts, a comfy bed, and an impressive view across Hobart. The view we did have to pay for though with the most ridiculous hill I’ve seen in my life – it was only 30m long, but it was at an angle of at least 70 degrees, I kid you not.
We were going to just stay two nights with Cate and Scott but they took pity on Greg’s sorry state so we stayed a third. It was wonderful. We totally chilled out, and Cate and Scott were brilliant company. Seeing that we still had a week before our flight out, we decided to do a little more cycling, but to take it easy given Greg was still a bit sore. So we headed south towards Bruny island and camped at a place called Snug for a couple of nights. We didn’t get up to much there, but did attempt to walk to Snug falls having been told by a local that it was only 30 minutes away. Well, after 50 minutes, we eventually came upon a sign that indicated it was still another 45 minute return walk to the waterfall itself. Feeling pretty tired by this point (walking is hard work and I had developed two blisters!) we turned around and gave up. On the way back to town we encountered a poor little wallaby in the ditch by the side of the road. He appeared to have broken his leg and was freaking out every time he heard a car pass by. We have seen signs all over Tassie urging people to report injured wildlife so Greg tried the two houses nearby to see if they knew the number to call, or could look it up for us (we’d gone out without our phone). Neither of the neighbours were at all interested. By the time we did eventually make it back to the tent though, Greg managed to find a local number and explained where the little guy was. A rescuer went to save him, hooray! 🙂 To probably then put him down, yes, I know, but that is better than him lying there all distressed, poor little nipper.
From Snug, we went down to Kettering to catch the ferry across to Bruny Island. Just before we boarded the ferry a guy hopped out of his car and asked us if we were on warm showers. After replying yes, he said ‘I’m the warm showers person on Bruny, come and see me when you get to Adventure Bay’. Brilliant. Once on the island it was just under 40 km down to Adventure Bay. The ride was beautiful. The road south of Hobart to Snug had been as horrific as the one north of the city, so it was a delight to be reminded once more of how wonderful cycling is.
Not long into the ride, John (the warm showers guy) pulled up in his car, handed us some cake and gave us directions to his house. We spent two nights with him, in our own little ensuite cottage. It was so wonderful. John owns a plot of land on which he grows every fruit and vegetable that it is possible to grow in Australia. He fed us for every meal, 95% of which all came from his grounds (including the rabbit we had for dinner!). He makes his own elderberry wine (yum) and cider (double yum). Totally blissful. He also has two incredibly adorable dogs.
Adventure Bay itself was lovely, we just went for a very short stroll down to the general store and to the huge and deserted beach where we sat and listened to the waves for a little while. The cycle back up the island was just as wonderful as it had been on the way down. Given that it was a beautiful day and the road between Snug and Hobart was horrible, we decided to just go all the way back up in the one day to get it over with. Greg and Dorothy, who we stayed with in Hobart when we first arrived were happy to have us arrive a day earlier than planned.
This left us with two days in Hobart. Yesterday we went to MONA – the Museum of Old and New Art. It is basically a collection of random art owned by a super rich guy. It was…interesting. As it was Sunday they also had a market and some music set up on the lawns so we enjoyed that over some cheese and crackers too. Today we’ve just been getting ourselves sorted for flying to Sydney tomorrow. New sleeping mat for me – it is huge (and a little bit pricey) but I shall now be truly sleeping like a king in then tent. And a visit to the map shop to do some Europe research – still need to make a start on those plans! Bikes are all boxed up and ready for the five flights they have to make over the next couple of weeks. We pick up a hire car tomorrow for five days…that’s going to feel a little strange!