From Brisbane to Tassie
By Pat Taylor
Left Brisbane on 13-12-03. Rode through the Gap on the New England Highway to Tamworth. Time for a sleep. Still in riding mode – off to Dubbo. South of Dubbo was uncharted road for me. Saw a road sign: “The Dish”. Well, I’d seen the movie so I better have a look at the real thing. Not bad at all. With daylight to spare on to West Wyong. Time to rest. 1,200k in two days. Welcome to the Mid-west!
33 degrees with a NW wind, bike and rider getting very warm. Shut down at Wagga Wagga. Hoping for cooler temperature. Only fooling myself on that one. 35 degrees, rolled into Seymour. Time to cool down for the night. Woke up with Melbourne in my sights. Welcome to Melbourne!
40 degrees. How lovely. Hoping Tassie will be cooler – that takes the heat out of you. Ten hours later a dream comes true, bike and rider set foot and tyres on the island. Which way do I go? It’s raining. A local bike rider, Cale (Z1000) from Swansea said, “Follow me to Swansea,” so off we go, and called Swansea home for three days. Rode to Freycinet National Park for the day. Rain with patches of sun. Not the best day for photos, but still nice to look at. Forty knot winds test your riding skills.
Not to be put off by the wind I rode to Sorrell and back to Swansea for the day. Beautiful coastline with winding roads, stone guardrails with the Prosser River below. If that doesn’t excite you, how about winding through a little range that opens up with Maria Island looking at you. Magnificent! Time to leave Swansea and head north. More coastline to look at. Turn left at St Helens to find “The Pub in the Paddock” and have a beer or two with Priscilla, the house pig. The owners look after me as well, not to mention the local. Very nice people. I’ll be back. Time to hit the hill, as they say. 200 corners later climb to the top with St Helens in the background. Just breath-taking. Finish the day’s ride at Bridport, Bass Strait dead ahead. From Bridport to Mole Creek to look at King Solomon’s Caves, only 214k. Not that far, but with 40 knot winds, 500-plus corners, no wonder I was worn out. With Christmas approaching I head for Stanley. A day of rest.
Boxing Day. Leave Stanley for Arthur River. Too much wind for my liking. “50 kilometres” – turn back to spend the night at Wynyard. Now for the West Coast. Yahoo! Wynyard via Cradle Mountain. Freezing cold. Over-rated, over-priced for a bed so set off for Moina. Talk Guzzi and Ducati with owners of road house. Had photo taken, a Mark 4 to add to the photo board.
No bed so off to Sheffield for the night. They didn’t tell me about the steep range that drops down to Sheffield. 15kph, 25kph, 35kph corners – lots of them. Fell in love with Sheffield. Could be my next home at the end of this year. Next morning, back up that tight range past Cradle Mountain to Zeehan. From Zeehan to Strahan. Hop on seaplane. Flew over wilderness. Spotted the mountains that surround Queenstown and spent the night at Queenstown. Met the lads who run the Tours Around Tassie, and also offer Motorcycle recovery Services. Next day up and over that range which towers over Queenstown.
One thousand corners later call it a day at Ouse. Another fine host who looked after me and Rosey Mk4. From Ouse to Lune River 275k. New Year’s Eve – time to shut down for a day or two. Getting dizzy from all those corners and amazing mountains, wind, and scenery. With body and mind recharged off to Port Arthur via Mt Wellington to Port Arthur for one and a half days. Realise time is running out. Ferry leaves in two and a half days, head for Devonport. 3,570k later I am back on the ferry after shedding a few tears. Time to head back to Brisbane. After 7790k my short ride is over.
A special thanks to Hendrik Gout for his time and the knowledge he gave me on travelling around the island, and to Tom Newell and his magic wand for getting 20ks per litre out of a 17 year-old Mk4 Guzzi.
Pat Taylor (Patsey) and Rosey Mk4